Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Howard County Bike Master Plan


     Howard County released its Bike Master Plan last week.  This plan is the result of the work of a variety of Howard County agencies and bike advocates.  The plan lists 62 potential improvements to many of the roads in the County.  Widening and better marking are frequently mentioned in the road improvements.  This is particularly true with many of the 2 lanes roads in the western part of Howard County.  These roads have always been popular with bikers but the increased traffic on these roads due to the increased housing in this area of the County has made these roads less safe for bikers.  I remember biking these roads back in the 1980's on Sunday mornings and having very little traffic with which to contend.  This is no longer the case.  Roads such as Homewood, Tridelphia, Sheppard's Lane and Folly Quarter are now much more heavily traveled then 30 years ago.
     The total cost of the improvements is considerable.  From a low cost of $10,000 for minor road marking to many improvements which cost well over a million dollars the investment costs of implementing many of these improvements is considerable.  Time frames for the process to evaluate and implement improvements are generally in the 2-5 year area.  A recommendation was made to have $750,000 annually included in the capital budget to implement recommendations of the Bike Master Plan.   Other recommendations are to have hire a full time Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator for the County and to develop a Bike Howard Implementation Team led by a senior staffer from County Administration.

    With the cost of many of the plans recommendation I would hope that the relatively inexpensive lining of bike lanes on many of Columbia's roads which are already wide enough for bike lanes would be a priority.  The present lines are designed to show on street parking areas that are infrequently used.  I have blogged on this change before.

P.S. 1
  I was disappointed to not see the Patuxent River Trail Extension listed in any of the proposed improvements.


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