August 23, 2019
Media Contact: Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information Office, 410-313-2022
COLUMBIA – Yesterday, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball cut the ribbon on the new Howard Community College (HCC) Connector and announced forthcoming legislation to enact his “Complete Streets” vision for transportation in Howard County. Photos from the event can be found here. Video can be found here.
"By opening the HCC Connector, we are ensuring a safe, inclusive, and convenient way to get around the campus and around the community,” said Ball. “In my State of the County address, I promised to make ‘Complete Streets’ a priority to promote our vision of a true multi-modal transportation system. Today, I am pleased to deliver on that promise and announce that I will file new, ‘Complete Streets’ policy with the County Council. ‘Complete Streets’ are streets where people of all ages and abilities feel safe walking, biking, bussing and driving. This policy ensures that Howard County streets will be designed, built, maintained and operated with everyone in mind, for the good of the community.”
HCC Connector Project
The project, which received a majority of its funding through a Maryland Bikeways Grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), includes:
- A shared use pathway through the HCC campus from Hickory Ridge Road to Little Patuxent Parkway
- Bike lanes on each side of Hickory Ridge Road from Martin Road to Charter Drive
- A new, marked crosswalk across Hickory Ridge Road with a pedestrian refuge island and rapid flashing beacon
The transportation improvements will benefit:
- HCC students, faculty and staff walking and biking to campus
- Bus riders crossing Hickory Ridge Road to get to and from the bus stops
- Bike riders using paths and improved safety measures on Hickory Ridge Road
- All residents seeking connection to the Downtown Columbia Trail and beyond
“Complete Streets” Policy
The vision of the policy is “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.” The scope of this policy would cover every transportation project, whether new or retrofit, capital improvement, or subdivision and land development.
The legislation will require Howard County to:
- Prioritize transportation projects in communities with vulnerable populations
- Require transparent decision making and reporting
- Enhance coordination among public and private agencies
- Provide for a data-driven project selection process
- Emphasize that safety is the number one priority for our streets
The Complete Streets Policy is the product of long term collaboration, incorporating national best practices to respond to community needs. The County’s General Plan (PlanHoward 2030) and the Bicycle Master Plan (BikeHoward) both called on the County to develop complete streets. A “Complete Streets Implementation Team” was formed, consisting of five County staff representatives and five stakeholder representatives. This team then integrated national best practices into the Howard County context, aided by an expert consultant and by listening to stakeholder input. On June 25, the Howard County Multimodal Transportation Board endorsed the Complete Streets Policy. Today, Ball will file the policy with the County Council for legislative process.