Active Transportation

Master Planning

The Office of Transportation develops and implements master plans for pedestrian and bicycle transportation through different programs and projects.

WalkHoward

WalkHoward is Howard County's pedestrian master plan and was adopted in February 2020 through Council Resolution 14-2020.  This master plan addresses walking in all of its forms – whether you are trying to get somewhere or just taking a casual stroll somewhere you love.

BikeHoward

BikeHoward, the Howard County bicycle master plan, was adopted by the County Council in 2016. The plan provides guidance for improvements for transportation and recreational bicycling, both on-street and off-street. Recommendations are provided in the general areas of infrastructure improvements, policy and programs.

Bicyclists using crosswalk
Programs
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Complete Streets
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Howard County Council Resolution 35-2016 requires the County to develop a Complete Streets Policy and Design Manual updates in accordance with the following policy intention statement:

“To ensure that Howard County is a place for individuals of all backgrounds to live and travel freely, safely, and comfortably, public and private roadways in Howard County shall be safe and convenient for residents of all ages and abilities who travel by foot, bicycle, public transportation or automobile, ensuring sustainable communities Countywide.”

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Howard County Bikeshare
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Howard County's Office of Transportation oversees the Howard County Bikeshare program, a 9-station, 78-bicycle system serving Columbia and Ellicott City.

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Shared Electric Scooters
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Howard County passed legislation CB3-2020 to permit a publicly accessible electric scooter sharing system for short-term electric scooter trips on certain County rights-of way.  Certain information is required in support of an application for a permit. Permit fees are required, as well. The legislation was passed by the Howard County Council on March 2, 2020 and generally relates to electric scooters on public rights-of-way in Howard County.

The Howard County Office of Transportation has prepared process for the permitting of shared electric scooter vendors to operate in the public right of way.

Current Implementation Projects
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Bicycle and Pedestrian Counting Program
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Howard County, in partnership with Columbia Association (CA), will install permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters at two locations in Columbia: at Lake Elkhorn and at the bicycle/pedestrian bridge over US 29. These counters will allow Howard County and CA to monitor seasonal and long-term trends of walking and bicycling in central Howard County.

CA and the Office of Transportation also partner on a yearly manual bicycle and pedestrian counting program.

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Bike Lanes Via Resurfacing
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Howard County frequently implements recommendations in the Bicycle Master Plan when a roadway is being resurfaced to maximize cost efficiency.

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Bike Wayfinding
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Howard County is conducting a county-wide bicycle network study to improve bicycle way-finding signage. Ultimately the goal of this project is to help people to better understand and use Howard County’s bicycle network and make it easier to connect with destinations.

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Cedar Lane Pathway
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Howard County will construct a shared-use pathway on the west side of Cedar Lane between Little Patuxent Parkway and Harper's Farm Road. Plans are complete, and property acquisition is ongoing in advance of construction. For more information, see the project page.

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Clarksville Pike Streetscape Plan and Design Guidelines
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Complete Streets Corridor Studies
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The Office of Transportation is conducting three intermediate planning projects in 2018-19 to assess the needs and opportunities for complete streets improvements along three roadways in Howard County. The three roadways are:

In conjunction with the Columbia Road complete streets planning project, the Office of Transportation is assessing current traffic operations along Columbia Road between MD 108 and Old Annapolis Road.

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Dobbin Road Shared-Use Pathway
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Howard County has received a Transportation Alternatives grant to finalize design of a shared-use pathway along Dobbin Road from Oakland Mills Road to McGaw Road, and along McGaw Road from Dobbin Road to Stanford Boulevard, along with associated sidewalk and intersection improvements. For more information, see the project page.

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Ellicott City/Oella bridge
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Howard County has received a Transportation Alternatives grant  for a feasibility study for a pedestrian bridge from Trolley Line No.9 trail across the river to Ellicott City. This project will be coordinated with the Ellicott City master plan.

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Hickory Ridge Bike Corridor
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The Hickory Ridge Bike Corridor study is a technical assessment of BikeHoward recommendations in and near Hickory Ridge. The goal is to develop a preferred route for continuous bicycle facilities to connect existing bike lanes on Grace Drive (providing access from River Hill and points west) to Hickory Ridge, Downtown Columbia and the rest of the Columbia pathway system and bike network.

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North Laurel Connections
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The goal of this project is to develop an enhanced bicycle connection from the Patuxent Branch Trail trailhead at Savage Park to the North Laurel Community Center continuing to the Laurel Race Track MARC Station and the Laurel MARC Station, potentially including a shared use pathway to improve access and connections across an existing utility right of way.

For more information, see the project page.

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Patuxent Branch Trail Surface Upgrade
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Howard County received a Transportation Alternatives grant to upgrade the surface of the Patuxent Branch Trail between the Patuxent Branch trailhead at Old Guilford Road and Vollmerhausen Road in Savage. This project is needed to alleviate existing poor drainage, ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, and complete a critical connectivity link as part of a regional bicycle and pedestrian network between Downtown Columbia, Savage and Laurel.

For more information, see the project page.

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Robert Fulton Drive
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The Howard County Office of Transportation is conducting a planning study and preliminary design for a shared-use (pedestrian and bicycle) pathway along Robert Fulton Drive.

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South Entrance Trail
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The South Entrance Trail (formerly known as the Downtown Columbia to Stevens Forest Road Pathway) would connect the growing shared-use pathway network in Downtown Columbia to Hillcroft Executive Park, Owen Brown, Lake Elkhorn, and the Patuxent Branch Trail. The 1.3-mile pathway would generally follow an existing sewer alignment along the Little Patuxent River.

In November 2017, Howard County received a grant from the Maryland Bikeways Program to perform detailed engineering analysis on the the alignment’s most significant engineering challenges, which are two small bridge structures and the proposed pathway’s crossing under US 29. This project is now underway, and updated design documents will be presented to the public at the conclusion of this phase of design.

For more information, see the project page.

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US 1 Safety
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In 2017-18, Howard County undertook a US 1 Safety Evaluation in response to a significant increase in the number of pedestrian fatalities along US 1 in 2015 and 2016 and in light of increasing residential and mixed-use development in this historically commercial and industrial corridor. Howard County is now moving forward with implementation of some of the Evaluation's recommendations in partnership with the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration.

Completed Implementation Projects
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BikeHoward Express
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BikeHoward Express is Howard County's accelerated 3-year implementation plan for bicycle infrastructure in Howard County.

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Howard Community College Connector
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This project will create a north-south connection, via a combination of a new shared-use path, paving, and sharrows, between Hickory Ridge Road and Little Patuxent Parkway via Howard Community College. This connection is identified by both BikeHoward and Howard Community College’s Facilities Master Plan, and will not only improve bicycle and pedestrian access to the College but also link with existing pathways to create a new bicycle and pedestrian route between Hickory Ridge and the Downtown Columbia Trail.

For more information, see the project page.

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Patuxent Branch Trail Improvements
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The Department of Recreation and Parks has constructed a trail connection adjacent to Old Guilford Road between the Guilford Pratt Truss Bridge and the Patuxent Branch Trail to Lake Elkhorn. This project increases safety for people walking, jogging, and bicycling along Old Guilford Road, and contribute to the goal of a connected pathway between Columbia and Savage.

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