Introduction & Overview

Ellicott City and Oella, Maryland are historic places located on opposite sides of the Patapsco River. Historic Ellicott City’s Main Street, on the west side of the Patapsco River, is a retail and tourism destination, while Oella, on the east side of the Patapsco River, is connected to Catonsville and points east by the Number 9 Trolley Trail, a shared-use pathway that ends east of Oella Avenue.

The area has experienced numerous catastrophic flooding events, most recently in July 2016 and May 2018. Recent events have been “flash flood” scenarios, so Howard County undertook a Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan that encompassed stormwater management and drainage improvements throughout the Tiber/Hudson watershed as well as streetscape and green space improvements to the Main Street area. The purpose of this project is to further develop one particular plan recommendation—better bicycle and pedestrian accommodations across the Patapsco River—in a way that is compatible with the historic nature of the area as well as ongoing flood mitigation and planning efforts.

Currently, pedestrian connections between Oella and Ellicott City consist of buffered sidewalks along the Main Street bridge, while bicycling between the two places requires sharing the travel lanes of the Main Street bridge with motor vehicle traffic. This configuration does not provide safe and comfortable travel between Ellicott City and Oella for pedestrians and bicyclists of all skill and confidence levels. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (SHA) has therefore awarded Howard County, Maryland a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant to identify a way to provide better bicycle and pedestrian accommodations between Ellicott City and Oella.

A work group comprising the following agencies is currently undertaking this effort:

  • Howard County Department of Public Works
  • Howard County Office of Transportation
  • Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning
  • Baltimore County Department of Public Works
  • Baltimore County Department of Planning
  • Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks
  • State Highway Administration 

Next Steps?

Review the Study's Alternatives

The following alternatives were presented at the Transportation Open House on January 30, 2024. 

We will be taking comments and feedback on these alternatives throughout a three (3) week comment period. Please submit any feedback or comments using the link below. 

The comment period will close on February 20, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

Study Alternatives

General Info
Alternatives 1 & 2
Alternatives 3 & 4

January Transportation Open House

We intend to provide additional opportunities for the public and interested stakeholders to be engaged with this study beyond our November pop-up event, the open comment form, and this project webpage.

The Office of Transportation, other County departments and offices, state and local agencies, and their partners held an Open House to learn more about the planning, design, operations, and maintenance of the County's transportation systems, including the results of this study! The work group was present to gather any feedback or comments about the study and its final alternatives at the Howard County Office of Transportation's Transportation Open House on January 30, 2023.

As a culmination of this project's efforts and an overview of the entire transportation network, this event and associated feedback will help orient the feasibility results for any future efforts as a result of this study. 

January 30, 2024
04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
Kenneth S. Ulman Innovation Hub/Gateway Building
6751 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

November 4, 2023 Pop-up Public Outreach Event

On November 4th, 2023, members of the work group held a pop-up public outreach event at the Ellicott City B&O Railroad Museum plaza to introduce the project to the public and gather any feedback to inform the development of alternatives. This public outreach builds upon the work already completed through the supplemental planning efforts that have informed this study.

In addition to an information flyer distributed by working group members, the materials presented at the event included a board providing an overview of the project, and another detailing the past planning efforts of the Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan and the Transportation in Historic Town Centers study. You may find those materials below. 

Pop-up Event Materials

Welcome Board
Previous Studies Board
Event Flyer

Supplemental Planning Efforts

Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan

The watershed master plan is a comprehensive, long-range document that creates a community-driven vision for historic Ellicott City and the Tiber Branch Watershed. The plan represents the culmination of a multi-year public outreach process that began in response to the 2016 flooding and builds upon County Executive Ball’s “Ellicott City Safe and Sound” flood mitigation plan. The adopted master plan establishes goals, desired outcomes and policies for the next twenty years. It also features conceptual illustrations that can serve as inspiration should specific opportunities arise over time.  

To review and read the plan, click here. 

Transportation Issues in Historic Town Centers - Ellicott City & Oella (Baltimore Metropolitan Council)

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council, on behalf of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board, Howard County and Baltimore County, is conducting a multimodal transportation study for Ellicott City in Howard County and Oella in Baltimore County to address parking, wayfinding, and multimodal access. Although Main Street in Ellicott City is a unique downtown, some of the study’s proposed solutions may be used as a model for other historic towns in the Baltimore region.

To review and read the study, click here. 

Ellicott City Safe & Sound

The Ellicott City Safe and Sound plan is a multi-phase plan built around the need for public safety, supporting business and property owners, preparing the county for a changing climate, and creating a more inclusive, community driven process for decisions regarding Ellicott City’s future. 

To learn more, click here

Patapsco Regional Greenway

The Patapsco Regional Greenway Plan envisions a 40-mile, shared-use trail running through the Patapsco Valley from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Sykesville in Carroll County. This trail, if completed, would pass through or near the communities of Cherry Hill, Baltimore Highlands, Halethorpe, Elkridge, Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella, Daniels, Woodstock, Marriottsville, and Sykesville. The Concept Plan includes a recommendation for better connections between Oella and Main Street in Ellicott City, including but not limited to "a proposed bridge utilizing abandoned piers could connect the Trolley Trail across the river."

To learn more, click here

Feedback or Comments?

Click the button below to access the comment form and provide any feedback you may have about the project.

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