County Executive Significantly Increases County Bike Funding, Paving Way for More Progress on Complete Streets

Joint Statement on Proposed FY 2020 County Budget

The Horizon Foundation, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County and American Heart Association issued the following joint statement in response to the county executive’s proposed FY 2020 budget, which includes $2.2 million in funding, comprised of roughly $2 million in county funds and $200,000 in committed grants, for bicycle infrastructure projects:

We thank County Executive Calvin Ball for listening to the voices of thousands of residents as well as local businesses and civic organizations who want to see a more bikeable and walkable community. The $2.2 million in proposed spending to advance the Bikeway and related bike routes amounts to the county’s highest bike funding in years. We’re shifting to a higher gear. This moves Howard County one step closer to becoming a community of “complete streets” where people can safely, easily and comfortably bike or walk where they need to go.

Investing in biking and walking benefits a broad and diverse cross-section of our community, including young workers who want to bike to the office, children and families seeking to walk or bike to school, residents without a car who need to get to a bus station and people with disabilities who need to be able to move through their neighborhoods. This new investment in bicycling helps us reach our vision of a network of connected, safe routes making it significantly easier and safer for residents to bike to everyday locations and achieve recommended physical activity guidelines.

Last year, the county budgeted $1.45 million in bike projects. The prior year, the county budgeted $600,000. While this new funding moves us forward, we still have a long way to go to reap the full benefits that increased bikeability will bring to health, the environment, the economy and residents and workers.

Our time to invest in the health and well-being of Howard County is now. We look forward to working with the County Executive and the County Council to ensure we make progress on the Bikeway and complete streets in the coming year.

Background information

The Bikeway is a proposed 50-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian routes from the county’s bicycle master plan that would help people in Howard County bike and walk more easily and safely to places they need to go. More than 40 businesses and organizations and 2,000 residents asked the county to fund the Bikeway to ensure that the community’s streets are designed to promote health, the environment, the economy and transportation equity. The proposed routes would be within one mile of more than half of county residences, schools and parks.

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The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at www.thehorizonfoundation.org.

The Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (Bike HoCo) is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization founded in 2008 as a coalition of cycling clubs and bicycle riders in Howard County, Maryland. Bike HoCo advocates to improve the visibility and safety of bicycling, supports bicycling education programs for adults and children, and promotes a vision of bicycling and sharing the road as part of a healthy, energy efficient, and environmentally sound transportation system to help achieve a sustainable future for Howard County and for Maryland. Learn more at www.bikehoco.org.

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.