Patuxent Branch Trail Closure

Due to the extreme amount of overhead tree hazards along the Patuxent Branch Trail, the trail will be closed from Savage Park to Lake Elkhorn until further notice.

Howard County Recreation and Parks Good news! Beginning June 24, our contractors will begin to clear the trees that created hazardous conditions on Patuxent Branch Trail following the tornado. Please remember to stay safe by not going on this path until we post that it is open. We hope to complete the work in about a week (weather permitting).

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Triadelphia Bridge Resconstruction/Closure Impact on Cycling

SHA held a community information meeting last night at Glenelg HS on the State project to expand Route 32 from two lanes to a four-lane divided highway with shoulders from Linden Church Road to I-70. As part of this project the Triadelphia Road Bridge will be rebuilt and expanded over the 4 lanes and will include addition of pedestrian walkway and bike lanes. Construction will commence after school is out (late June/early July) and last over a year.

Issue: During the reconstruction only Westbound (toward traffic circle at Ten Oaks) traffic will be allowed on the bridge with only one 12 foot lane open for traffic. This will remain the status of the bridge until late Spring of 2020. Vehicular traffic going Eastbound (toward Columbia) will be directed to 4.5 mile detour including RT-32 for 1.5 miles to Rosemary Lane and back to Triadelphia (toward Triadelphia Ridge ES) then to Folly Quarter Road. This is NOT a safe option for any cyclist with fast traffic on Rt 32 and a steep climb on Rosemary Lane.

Jack Guarneri and Chris Tsien from Bike HoCo and Stuart Lamb from Glenelg Gang attended the meeting and spoke with engineers and consultants from SHA, Senator Katie Fry Hester (District 9), and Kim Pruim from County Executive Ball's Office. We expressed our concerns and discussed potential options for a key route used by hundreds of cyclists weekly. None of these options are in current SHA plans but include:

  • Potential use of the existing sidewalk adjacent to traffic lane to allow cyclists to at least walk bike over the bridge

  • Permit two-way traffic on single lane by using an alternating direction traffic light.

  • Building a temporary ped/cycle bridge could parallel the construction project crossing Route 32 with temporary wood chip paths on each side.

  • Investigate a possible temporary path in the vicinity of schools that would parallel Route 32 (this has right-of-way and potential wetlands issues).

We will continue to press on all these options with SHA and County, but the bottom line is construction starts in a little over a month and cycling groups and individuals should start identifying alternative return routes. Possible safer ways to get back toward Columbia from Glenelg area will add significant mileage but include:

  • Taking Southbound Ten Oaks Road all the way to Route 108 and then East back toward Homewood/Centennial Lane.

  • Taking Northbound Ten Oaks to Pfefferkorn and Route 144 Frederick Road back to Triadelphia or to Centennial Lane.

If you have other suggestions or comments let us know by email to: president@bikehoco.org or comments on our Facebook page (https://www,facebook.com/BikeHoCo/). 

We will continue to keep you informed on status.

County Executive Ball Announces Funding for BikeHoward Express in Capital Budget

March 29, 2019

Media Contact:
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced the largest, single year investment ever dedicated solely to bicycle infrastructure in Howard County. The investment will be included in his FY2020 Capital Improvement Budget, to be presented to the County Council on Monday, April 1. The investment includes $2.2 million in county and grant funding, providing the next step towards BikeHoward Express, an integrated 48-mile network of bicycle infrastructure. Developing this network will provide significant economic, environmental, safety, and health benefits for our community.

BikeHoward Express is a comprehensive strategy to significantly improve bicycle infrastructure throughout Howard County. More than half of residents are within a mile of the network, which would link them to schools, parks, MARC Stations, park and ride lots, and key employment centers, such as Columbia Gateway.

“I am proud to invest in a future of multi-modal transportation in Howard County that improves sustainability and accessibility,” said Ball. “Our investment in BikeHoward Express will make it safer and easier for residents to travel by bike in Howard County. This innovative investment is better for economic development, our environment, our health, and equity, as it is necessary to improve the bikeway for those without access to a car.”

“This meaningful investment will bring BikeHoward closer to its goal of 48 miles of connected bike infrastructure in Howard County,” said Howard County Council Chair Christiana Mercer Rigby. “When we expand connectivity in our community, we are dedicating ourselves to improved health outcomes, greater access to employment, and a more sustainable future. I am excited to see County Executive Ball’s commitment to BikeHoward Express in the FY2020 Capital Budget, and I look forward to working with him to advance this initiative.”

“We thank County Executive Calvin Ball for listening to the voices of thousands of residents and 46 local businesses and civic organizations who want to see a more bikeable and walkable community. We’re shifting to a higher gear,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation.

“Many thanks to the County Executive for investing in Howard County’s biking infrastructure and for supporting the years of work by cycling advocates,” said Councilmember Deb Jung. “I am looking forward to a more bikeable Howard.”

"BikeHoward is a necessary infrastructure project that will promote accessibility to adequate public transportation for residents,” said Councilmember Opel Jones. “I am excited that County Executive Ball has provided funding for the expansion of our trails, ensuring a healthier and eco-friendly option for commuters around the county. This initiative ensures our position to remain as one of the top ten healthiest counties in America."

“Bike HoCo's (Bicycling Advocates of Howard County) objective has consistently been to increase bicycling safety through infrastructure improvements and to help build an energy efficient, environmentally sustainable transportation system to meet the needs and desires of all HC residents from 8 to 80+,” said Jack Guarneri, President of Bike HoCo. “The funding that County Executive Ball is committing is more than the total county funding over the past 3 years, since the Bike Howard plan was unanimously approved by the County Council. If you really want to accomplish something transformative you'll find a way, and we are extremely gratified that the county has found a way.”

The funding contributions will include $220,000 of federal grants through the Transportation Alternatives Program for the design of the Dobbin Road/McGaw Road shared-use pathway, and $1,980,000 in county funding. The plans include construction of the North Laurel Connections bicycle route, finalizing the design of the South Entrance Trail and Dobbin Road pathway, and implementation of a countywide bicycle wayfinding plan. For more information on BikeHoward Express, visit our site.

Make your voice heard TODAY

Our county leaders are in talks about a complete streets bill which would help the county be more bikeable and walkable, and they need to hear from you right now.

Last week, many of you attended the county executive's second FY 2020 budget hearing and participated in our complete streets learning session. THANK YOU! Because of your support, the county is making it a priority to build safer spaces for biking, walking and riding the bus.

Special thanks to Councilwoman Christiana Mercer Rigby and Acting Director of the Howard County Office of Transportation Chris Eatough for sharing your commitment to a strong complete streets vision. Thanks also to Board of Education Chair Mavis Ellis and Member Sabina Taj for joining us.
 
At the session, we discussed the importance of a strong county vision, funding and laws to making changes that all of us can see and use.

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At the hearing, people and organizations testifying in support of Bikeway and complete streets funding included: Alex Obriecht of Race Pace Bicycles, Chris Tsien of the Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, Jennifer White of the American Heart Association, Annalisse Daly of the Guilford community, Nikki Highsmith Vernick of the Horizon Foundation, Kevin McAliley of the Wilde Lake Community Association, Susan Garber of the Savage Community Association and Larry Schoen of the Multimodal Transportation Board.

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We need (1) increased Bikeway funding and (2) a strong complete streets law to make sure we have safe spaces for biking, walking and riding the bus for years to come. These measures “will ensure our youth can safely get to part-time job opportunities after school and people with disabilities get around town without the challenges of disconnected sidewalks,” White said in her testimony.

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The Annapolis bike lane program

Not Howard County, but still important to area cyclists:

Annapolis has launched a pilot program to establish a bike lane on Main Street. The pilot program is scheduled to end Oct. 19, after which the city will decide whether to proceed with a permanent lane.

There are many people speaking out on the issue. The Capital Gazette has lots of coverage. Read more at http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/annapolis/cgnews-bike-lane-20180920-storygallery.html#

Joint statement on FY 2019 bike funding

Howard County Bike Funding Improves, Still Lags Behind Neighboring Counties
Joint Press Statement on FY 2019 Proposed Budget

The Horizon Foundation, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County and American Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, issued the following joint statement in response to the County Executive’s proposed FY 2019 budget which includes $1.25 million in funding for bicycle infrastructure projects:

When the County Executive announced his plan to invest $8 million in bike routes over the next three years, we were encouraged by this commitment, which he described as “the greatest financial investment ever made in bicycle infrastructure in Howard County.” This plan responded to the demand of more than 30 businesses and community institutions and over 1,500 people who called on the County Executive to significantly increase county funding to build the Bikeway and realize the vision of a more bikeable community. This coalition of supporters includes leading businesses, realtors, developers, environmental advocates, health groups and individuals who know that plans require an adequate investment to get properly implemented.

The $1.25 million in county funds allotted for bicycle infrastructure projects represents a notable increase compared to the $600,000 allotted last year. However, it still pales in comparison to neighboring counties like Montgomery and Anne Arundel, which spent $26 million and $7.5 million in FY18 respectively. It also falls short of the County Executive’s promised plan.

Although we support the County Executive’s intention to secure competitive state grant funding, the county lacks a track record of receiving significant levels of such funding. Based on projected county funding and this track record, it will be extremely challenging for the Bike Howard Express to be built, as envisioned, within the promised time frame. 

As funding for bicycle and walking routes continues to lag, many in our community face the consequences: lower-income workers who struggle to get to work to earn a living, students who need safe routes to get to school, businesses that want to attract a millennial workforce, older adults who want to live in neighborhoods where they can bike to local attractions and property owners who desire the highest quality of life in their communities. Walkers miss out too: With full funding, the County Executive’s plan would include miles of shared bike/walk paths.

If we continue to fall behind in funding, we will continue to lose out on the potential benefits to health, the environment, the economy and local residents and workers. A plan should be judged by how well it is funded and implemented, not how good it sounds.

It is long past time that Howard County elevate bicycle and pedestrian transportation as a priority and invest the funding needed to build safe, accessible and connected routes that will allow people to easily travel to places they need to go – work, school, places of worship, MARC stations and more. 

We are deeply grateful for and proud of the many leaders in our community who have taken a stand for bike and walk funding in Howard County. In the midst of competing priorities, we are heartened to know so many sincerely care about making safe and accessible biking and walking possible for more people in our community. We look forward to continue our efforts to work with the County Executive and County Council and make the vision of a more bikeable and walkable Howard County a reality.

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Background information

The Bikeway is a proposed 50-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian routes from the county’s bicycle master plan that would help people in Howard County bike and walk more easily and safely to places they need to go. More than 30 businesses and organizations and 1,500 people asked the county to fund the Bikeway with $3 million to ensure that the community’s streets are designed to promote health, the environment, the economy and transportation equity. The proposed routes would be within one mile of more than half of county residences, schools and parks. In February 2018, the County Executive presented his plan to fund and build projects aligned with the Bikeway in his Bike Howard Express plan with $8 million over three years, of which $4.7 million would rely on competitive state grants. Over the past five years, the county has averaged $400,000 per year in these grants.

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The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at www.thehorizonfoundation.org.

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The Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (Bike HoCo) is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization founded in 2008 as a coalition of cycling clubs and bicycle riders in Howard County, Maryland.  Bike HoCo advocates to improve the visibility and safety of bicycling, supports bicycling education programs for adults and children, and promotes a vision of bicycling and sharing the road as part of a healthy, energy efficient, and environmentally sound transportation system to help achieve a sustainable future for Howard County and for Maryland. Learn more at www.bikehoco.org.

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The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.  For more information visit www.heart.org.

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Princeton Sports Columbia Closing

For 36 years Princeton Sports' Columbia store has been a linchpin of the cycling community in Columbia and all of Howard County. For over 30 years from its inception in 1988, Princeton Sports was a supporter and volunteer of the Columbia Triathlon and later the Iron Girl Triathlon. For many years, first on Tuesday evenings and later Sunday mornings, Princeton's bicycle ride on the triathlon course helped train generations of Howard County bicycle riders. In addition, Princeton supported local cycling clubs - Mid Maryland Triathlon Club and Howard County Cycling Club - and helped start many other cycling events including the annual Columbia Association Bike About and the annual Bike to Work Day in Columbia. Alan Davis, the Princeton co-owner, has been a supporter and Board member of the Bicycling Advocates of Howard County for the past 10 years. It has been a privilege working with them since, like so many of the other Howard County bike shops, they are so community oriented. They will be missed.

More about the Bikeway

From the Columbia Flier/HC Times, December 13, 2017

Check out the sixth and seventh graphs:

"Several community members and local advocates spoke out about the need for greater funding for the county’s proposed Bikeway and other bike lanes. Chris Tsien, chief legal and financial officer for Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, testified at the hearing, saying the county’s bike lanes were woefully underfunded in comparison to surrounding counties.

"In fiscal 2018, Montgomery County spent more than $23 million on bike path funding, and Anne Arundel spent in excess of $6 million, while Howard spent just $600,000 on funding for new bike projects. The County Council unanimously passed the Bike Howard master plan in April 2016 to provide bicyclists and pedestrians with a safer network of pathways that navigate commercial and residential areas."

See the whole article at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-budget-public-hearing-1214-story.html