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Monday, January 23, 2012

Connecting Columbia Bike and Walking Path System


I recently blogged on how much I missed our paths when I was away from town for three weeks. I was interested in attending a recent meeting hosted by the Columbia Association to outline their plans to:

  "develop an Active Transportation Action Agenda to create a more interconnected and comprehensive bicycling and walking circulation system for health, recreational and transportation purposes. This project will result in a list of action items that will improve safe pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout Columbia, with an emphasis on CA's pathways. This project will be coordinated with the County's Bicycle Master Plan initiative, which will focus more on the county's roadways."

The Howard County Bicycle Master Plan initiative  will look at how a path system within the County can make bike transportation more a reality for commuting and other short trips.  This of course will strongly depend on the path system in Columbia but hopefully provide biking lanes along other major routes to provide a safe way to bike to many places in the County.  As our once lightly traveled roads continue to carry more and more traffic having designated lanes for bikes it now a necessity.  No other metropolitan area has developed this more than Seattle.  When I have been in Seattle it is amazing how many bikes come into the city during commuting times.

At the Connecting Columbia meeting attendees could identify areas for improvements in the path system.  You can take a survey to tell how you use the path system.

So what is the hoped for outcome of all this work?  The goals and objectives are this:

Goal:
To create a more interconnected bicycling and walking circulation system in Columbia for health, recreational, and transportation purposes

Objectives:
  • Increase the amount of bicycling and walking throughout Columbia among people of all ages and abilities
  • Improve the safety of the pathway system
  • Increase connectivity to key destinations
  • Make Columbia's pathway network is easy to navigate
  • Coordinate this project with the County's Bicycle Master Plan.
  Desired Outcome: Desired outcomes for this project include an implementable action agenda that establishes priorities for Columbia bicycling and pedestrian network improvements; identifies implementation projects, including a pathway signage/wayfinding pilot project; creates a series of route maps; recommends partnerships; and identifies responsible parties for the implementation projects.
 Timeline: November 2011 to June 2012.

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