The current system has some gaps the require walkers and bikers to use roadways to reconnect to other paths. The areas that seem to be the biggest source of gaps are around the commercial areas of Columbia. Walking or biking to the Mall, Dobbin Center or the shopping centers that have the big box stores in East Columbia require walkers or bikers to travel a road system that never planned for this mode of access. Most of us would not feel safe using the roads around these locations. When I bike I stay off most of the roads in Columbia because of the unsafe conditions for bikers. I regularly bike in Allview Estates because of the lack of traffic on those roads.
Last week I attended a Connecting Columbia meeting that highlighted the interplay between the Columbia Association and Howard County Government . Many of the connections in the pathway system might involve improvement to Howard County roads. The Howard County Department of Public Works has painted bike lanes on Stevens Forest Road in a pilot of a greater use of these lanes on more of our roads. Below is a picture of the lanes from one bloggers post.