ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced a record investment of $14.7 million toward the County’s Complete Streets and active transportation infrastructure in his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Capital Budget. Ball also announced the expansion of a Regional Transportation Agency of Central Maryland (RTA) bus route to Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) Homewood Center/Applications and Research Laboratory (ARL) and other major RTA investments. Photos of the event can be seen here.

The character of our community is defined by how we connect with each other. Communities who are connected by sidewalks, bike lanes and active transportation infrastructure tend to be healthier, more vibrant and happier. Through these investments and projects, we are creating new connections and revamping old ones to ensure our community members can safely walk, bike, roll and ride to the people and places that make up our great county.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

Last year, Ball shared that Smart Growth America had awarded the County’s Complete Streets Policy a perfect 100% score in it 2023 report, making Howard County the first jurisdiction in the nation to receive a perfect score under their current scoring matrix. Since taking office in 2018, Ball has invested more than $50 million in active, multimodal transportation projects, growing the County’s investment in these projects by nearly 300 percent and constructing miles of sidewalks, bike lanes, pathways and safety improvements.

Growing on this investment, Ball has included $14.7 million for pedestrian, bicycle and Complete Streets projects in his proposed FY25 Capital Budget. A 10 percent ($1.2 million) increase from his approved FY 2024 Capital Budget, this latest county funding request includes:

  • $1.7 million for Cradlerock Way safety improvements to enhance safety following a recent pedestrian fatality on that road;
  • $1.6 million to continue Walk Howard implementation and sidewalk projects;
  • $1.5 million for school route pathways and sidewalks, doubling last year’s funding level for this project;
  • $1.1 million to continue Bike Howard implementation with bike infrastructure;
  • $1.1 million for the Dobbin Road pathway;
  • $1 million for ADA ramp upgrades;
  • $265,000 for pedestrian and bicycle access to Troy Park;
  • $150,000 for the North Laurel Road sidewalk project; and
  • $60,000 for pedestrian and bicycle access to Columbia Gateway;

In addition to these FY25 investments, Ball also highlighted the County’s partnership with Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and Congressman John Sarbanes to secure federal funding to increase County investment in active transportation. This year, the County received two Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) investments, requested by Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Congressman Sarbanes for active transportation projects. These include:

  • $1 million in construction funding for the Dobbin Road Pathway project, which will complete a shared pathway along Dobbin Road from Oakland Mills Road to Snowden River Parkway, and
  • $750,000 in construction funding for the FLASH bus stops, which will be located throughout Maple Lawn, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Downtown Columbia.

In December, the County also received a nearly $500,000 planning grant from the Biden Administration, under the U.S Department of Transportation’s “Safe Streets and Roads for All” program, to support streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle, transportation and safety improvements along the Route 1 Corridor.

Two major upcoming active transportation projects Ball highlighted during today’s event were a Frederick Road sidewalk project and the start of Phase One of the countywide Bike Wayfinding project. Starting this May, the County will begin constructing a sidewalk along Frederick Road to connect Howard County Library System’s Miller branch and the County’s Office of Aging and Independence’s 50+ Center to the Dunloggin community in Ellicott City. This project will involve the installation of approximately 600 linear feet of sidewalk along Frederick Road from Plumtree Drive to Underoak Drive and once complete, will offer safe walking passage for the hundreds of households in Dunloggin to and from the Miller branch and 50+ Center.

Additionally, this summer, the Howard County Office of Transportation will begin the first phase of its Bike Wayfinding project. This project involves the installation of directional signage along major bicycle corridors, connecting 10 routes from Woodstock to Laurel. The first phase of the project includes establishing five color-coded routes that will direct bicyclists to routes and popular destinations in Columbia, Ellicott City and Elkridge.

In addition to funding active transportation projects, Ball also announced his proposed FY25 Capital and Operating Budgets include more than $4.1 million to support public transportation. Ball has committed $120,000 toward an RTA bus transit expansion between Downtown Columbia and HCPSS’s Central Office campus, which includes its ARL and Homewood Center. This vital connection builds upon the County’s free bus pass program for HCPSS and Howard Community College students. This year alone, more than 750 middle and high school students have taken advantage of free RTA bus passes available through the Transit app. This program empowers students to conveniently travel between home, school, work and other destinations in Howard County.

Ball has also included a $1.7 million investment in RTA’s bus fleet to ensure the fleet is comprised of modern, reliable vehicles. This includes $600,000 for RTA replacement vehicles, $500,000 to purchase new buses for the four transit routes outlined in the County’s Transit Development Plan and $600,000 toward the purchase of four, fully electric FLASH buses in partnership with Montgomery County. These buses will be used to launch a FLASH bus rapid transit service between Silver Spring and Downtown Columbia in 2026.

This budget also includes an additional $2.3 million in County funding for RTA bus stop improvements, including annual upgrades and repairs to RTA bus stops and funding for FLASH bus stop construction.

Here’s what County partners are saying:

Investment in transportation is critical for advancing opportunity, equity and quality of life for neighborhoods across the state. The construction of a pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians along Dobbin Road and expansion the FLASH bus rapid transit system are transportation improvements that will make Howard County safer and more accessible. We fought for investments in these community-led projects because we know that a diversity of transportation options benefits everyone.

Ben Cardin
U.S. Senator

“Investing in a robust public transportation system for bus riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians supports both the health of our communities and the health of our environment. These direct federal investments in Howard County help expand public transportation options and increase accessibility for residents,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“Whether it’s bike lanes or public transit, Marylanders deserve safe and reliable transportation options that connect our communities and get individuals where they need to go,” said Congressman Sarbanes. “I was glad to join County Executive Ball today to celebrate record investments in transportation initiatives throughout the county. I am proud to have worked alongside Senators Cardin and Van Hollen to secure federal funding for two community projects – the Dobbin Shared Use Pathway and the Route 29 Flash Bus Extension – that, together with these other projects, will increase transportation access, efficiency and safety for all Howard County residents.”

“I’m grateful to County Executive Ball for continuing to prioritize multimodal transportation in next year’s capital budget and proud to partner on these projects,” said Delegate Jessica Feldmark, Chair of the Howard County Delegation. “Safe and inviting infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders is critical to making Howard County a healthier, more sustainable, and more inclusive community.”

“How nice to see these multi-modal projects moving forward. Sidewalks, pathways, crosswalks, pedestrian crossings, crossing signals, marked bike lanes, traffic signals, and bus stop improvements are all essential to connecting communities to public amenities and jobs as well as increasing access to parks and schools and decreasing car dependency,” said Howard County Council Vice Chair Liz Walsh. “Thank you, Dr. Ball, and your team for prioritizing these programs for the public good.”

“These investments, whether a Troy Park, Gateway, or along Cradlerock Way, will transform the way each of us travel, play, and connect in our communities, and demonstrate Howard County's commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and creating a sustainable future,” said Howard County Councilmember Christiana Rigby.

“From the pedestrian improvements detailed in WalkHoward to the expansion of Flash, it’s compelling to see such a broad array of multimodal transportation investments that will further connect our communities from Elkridge to Ellicott City to Columbia and Maple Lawn,” said Phillip Dodge, Vice Chairperson, Howard County Multimodal Transportation Board.

“This will be the fourth year in a row of record level funding for safer and more accessible streets, paths and intersections in Howard County and we are seeing the positive results across our community,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “We are so grateful to County Executive Ball for his leadership, along with our champions on the County Council, the Streets for All Coalition and everyone in our community who has raised their voice to inspire this change in our community. Everyone in Howard County should be able to safely and easily walk, bike, use their wheelchair or access public transportation to get where they need to go.”

“The FY 2025 Budget is continuing the momentum that the County has fostered over the past four fiscal years in achieving Bike HoCo’s long-term vision of bicycling as part of an energy efficient and equitable transportation system to help achieve a sustainable future for Howard County and the region,” said Jack Guarneri, President, Bike HoCo.

“The Wilde Lake Village Board of Directors and the residents and members of the Wilde Lake Community Association want to thank County Executive Calvin Ball for funding multimodal and active transportation projects in his FY25 Capital Budget,” said Kevin McAliley, Chair, Wilde Lake Village Board. “This includes crucial wayfinding/signage enabling pedestrians, runners, and cyclists to locate schools, personal and business services, entertainment, restaurants, community centers, classes, and sports in the area using new multi-use pathways like the Wilde Lake Middle School Trail that connects to the Blandair Park Trail.” 

“On behalf of the St. John’s Community Association, we are thrilled to see this long requested vital connection established to the resources here at the 50+ Center and Miller Library,” said Julianne Danna, Member, St. John’s Lane Community Association. Our neighbors range from young families to retirees, and this connection from Underoak Drive to Plumtree Drive will allow safe pedestrian access to resources like library classes, the Farmer’s Market, and the 50+ Fitness Center. We look forward to continued investment along Frederick Road to connect thousands of residents to commercial and community spaces and increase walking and biking safety for our community.”

Media Contacts
Safa Hira, Director of Communications

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