ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced the County has received national recognition for a perfect score for its Complete Streets Policy in Smart Growth America’s 2023 report. Smart Growth America has given Howard County a 100% score in its 2023 evaluation of the strongest Complete Streets policies in the country, making it the first jurisdiction in the nation to receive a perfect score under their current scoring matrix. Photos of the event can be found here.
Complete Streets allow our children and students to walk and bike safely to schools and parks. They ensure that our neighbors with disabilities can access transit and other transportation modes. They provide unlimited opportunities for connections between our neighbors and neighborhoods, growing and strengthening our sense of community. This national recognition is the result of collaboration, hard work, and a truly inclusive process.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s Fiscal Year 2024 proposed capital budget consists of a record $13.2 million for a variety of Complete Streets investments, including:
- $1.3 million for Rogers Avenue Complete Streets project;
- $1.1 million for Guilford Road bike and pedestrian improvements;
- $1 million for the South Entrance Trail to connect Downtown Columbia to the Patuxent Branch Trail; and
- $3.6 million for bike and pedestrian infrastructure maintenance and repairs.
Additionally, Ball announced the creation of two new Capital Projects in the FY24 Budget: the Dobbin Road Pathway, which will be a two-mile long, multi-use pathway for walking and cycling, and the U.S. 1 Corridor Safe Streets for All, which will bring critical streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle and transportation safety improvements along Route One from historic Elkridge to Laurel.
Creating award-winning Complete Streets policies has been a dedicated, community-wide effort. By investing in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure around Howard County, we are also investing in equity, accessibility, and connectedness in our communities.
“Having community members stand alongside elected officials and people running for office, saying ‘This is really important to us,’ was really important for the Complete Streets movement in Howard County,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, President and CEO of the Horizon Foundation.
The transportation investments also include $150,000 for expanded transit service in the Elkridge area, as well as an expansion of the FLASH bus rapid transit service to Howard County in a cross-county collaboration with Montgomery County. Howard County has committed over $850,000 in county matching funds to purchase FLASH buses to travel along Route 29 from Burtonsville to Maple Lawn and Downtown Columbia.
“PATH and First Baptist Church of Guilford will stand with you for the 2024 budget to making sure that Complete Streets Policy is not only seen on Guilford and Oakland Mills Road, but throughout Howard County,” said Pastor Tyrone P. Jones, Steering Committee Member of PATH and Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Guilford. “We are thankful, and we plan to keep up the work.”
“I’m happy and proud of the progress we’ve made together and the unprecedented support for multimodal transportation,” said Larry Schoen, Outgoing Chair of the Multimodal Transportation Board. “My thanks to County Executive Calvin Ball’s Administration, the Office of Transportation, and my fellow advocates at Bike HoCo and the Horizon Foundation for sustaining this vision.”
“We are excited to see the nationally recognized Complete Streets policy be strongly supported by Dr. Ball’s proposed budget, which when adopted will improve the ability of cyclists and pedestrians to safely travel around the county and encourage all of us to include these healthy activities in our daily lives,” said Ted Cochran, Member of the Bicycle Advisory Group and current Chair of the Multimodal Transportation Board.
The Complete Streets policy was first adopted in 2019 and followed by the launch of Howard County’s Complete Streets Implementation Team, which was charged with developing visionary and transformative standards for multi-modal transportation access and safety in Howard County. Following more than two years of diligent and comprehensive work from the Implementation Team, Howard County’s Complete Streets Design Manual was approved in 2022.
Howard County’s progress and success on Complete Streets was also highlighted in a recent video produced by the Horizon Foundation, which can be viewed here.