September 22, 2020
Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412
Chris Eatough, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, Office of Transportation, 410-313-0567
More than $500,000 grant will help construct 5.6-mile route between Savage and Laurel
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced today that the County’s Office of Transportation has been awarded a Kim Lamphier Bikeways Network Program grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) for its North Laurel Connections project. The more than $500,000 grant will assist the Office of Transportation in constructing a 5.6-mile bicycle and pedestrian route between Savage and Laurel.
"As we celebrate ‘Bike to Work Week’ this week, this grant is welcome news as we work to expand our reliable and accessible infrastructure in Howard County," said Ball. "These improvements will help riders and walkers get to work, school, transit, and provide easier access for residents just out for a recreational ride. We know that these critical connections will be beneficial not only to our Laurel and Savage communities but improve the quality of life of all our residents."
Part of the County’s Bicycle Master Plan, BikeHoward, the North Laurel Connections project will develop an enhanced bicycle and pedestrian connection between Savage and Laurel through a series of shared use pathways, sidewalks, crosswalks, on-street bike lanes and sharrows. The connection will run 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. The North Laurel Connections project was one of 19 projects throughout the state to receive the Kim Lamphier Bikeways Network Program this Fiscal Year 2021.
“This project is all about connections. Connecting people and places in Savage and Laurel and connecting to the existing Patuxent Branch Trail which spans from Savage to Lake Elkhorn,” said Chris Eatough, Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator for the County’s Office of Transportation. We have already completed a lot of planning and design work on this project and I am looking forward to seeing the connections implemented through this grant.”
MDOT’s Kim Lamphier Bikeways Network Program provides grant support for a wide range of bicycle network development activities. The program supports projects that maximize bicycle access, fill missing links in the state’s bicycle network and enhance last-mile connections to work, school, shopping and transit. The program also seeks to leverage past investments in bicycle facilities, complement existing state, local and federal programs, and promote biking as a fun, healthy transportation mode.
“The County’s Office of Transportation has worked long and hard with the Savage Community to find safe suitable connections for bike riders and pedestrians in order to avoid using dangerous US 1 for travel into Laurel," said Susan Garber, Board Chair of the Savage Community Association. "We are excited to see that this grant funding will now help bring these plans to fruition.”
Adopted in 2016 by the Howard County Council, BikeHoward 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.
This week is Bike to Work Week 2020 and while this year’s usual pit stop gatherings have been replaced with online networking and encouragement due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this great event is still offering participants a chance to earn some awesome prizes while enjoying the great aspects of riding a bike. This year, the County’s Office of Transportation has partnered with Love to Ride Central Maryland to bring more fun, more community and more inspiration to get more people on a bike. Registered riders can pick up their event t-shirt (while supplies last) at Race Pace Bicycles in Columbia and Ellicott City and Patapsco Bicycles in Maple Lawn. For more information and/or to register for this year’s event, visit https://biketoworkmd.com/.
For more information or questions about the North Laurel Connections, visit https://bikehoward.com/projects/north-laurel-connections/ or contact the Office of Transportation at [email protected].