New Howard County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball sees broad Bikeway support at first budget hearing

On Dec. 12, the new County Executive heard clear messages from us: our community wants $3 million in funding for the Bikeway, we care deeply about healthy, green, equitable transportation options and we are organized! Add your voice of support.

THANK YOU to the businesses, organizations and community members who attended the Howard County budget hearing to advocate for $3 million in funding for the Bikeway.

Many speakers urged County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball to increase funding for bicycling routes in their testimony:

  • Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of the Horizon Foundation
  • Jennifer White, community advocacy director of the American Heart Association
  • Mary Ann Scully, president and CEO of Howard Bank
  • Sandra te Plate, a parent and Ellicott City resident
  • Greg Klassen, a local entrepreneur from Elkridge who spoke on the Bikeway’s benefits to people with mobility needs
  • Willie Flowers, president of the Howard County NAACP
  • Hector Garcia, CEO and executive director of FIRN
  • Kevin McAliley, board member of Bicycling Advocates of Howard County and chair of the Wilde Lake Village Board.

Testifiers also asked for a complete streets policy and funding: complete streets are designed to benefit all users including walkers, transit users, people with disabilities, cyclists and drivers. Complete Streets advocates included Louise Green and Sharon Shaw, lead organizer and member of PATH – People Acting Together in Howard; Becky McKirahan, founder of Why Not Jessup; and Susan Garber, board member of the Savage Community Association.

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Local health leaders talked about how building the Bikeway will lead to increased physical activity and health. “Horizon cares about biking and walking because we know that the leading causes of death in Howard County are from preventable chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes,” Highsmith Vernick said. “People in our community are not getting enough routine, daily exercise – and we think one reason is they often can’t walk or bike in their own neighborhoods!”

Community members shared in their testimony how the Bikeway would connect neighborhoods, schools, parks and businesses. “From our home, we can walk around our little development of Heritage Woods, and yet we are not able to safely walk to the park or bus stops. Most of our kids who live close to Guilford Elementary School are not able to walk to school,” said McKirahan.

Scully, who leads the largest locally based bank employing 300 people across the region, shared why the Bikeway will bolster the local economy, attract business and increase livability and wellness. “The value of investing in biking and walking facilities is striking,” she said. “We know that when American communities build safe places to bike and walk they see increased retail sales, rising home values, transportation cost savings and health care cost savings.”

Show your support

Howard County Times: Howard Executive Ball hears requests for funding on Ellicott City, undocumented immigrants, other projects

Howard County Times’ coverage of County Executive Ball’s first FY20 budget hearing included advocates’ calls for $3 million in Bikeway funding.

Read: Howard Executive Ball hears requests for funding on Ellicott City, undocumented immigrants, other projects

More than 35 people wearing bike helmets came to the hearing to support increased funding for infrastructure for bikers. They said that out of 1,038 miles of roads maintained by Howard County, only 35 contain bike lanes. The county has 108 miles of shared use pathways for bikers and walkers located off the street — 90 of which are in Columbia.

Neighboring Montgomery County has 55.41 miles of “properly marked bike lanes,” 41.62 miles of “bike-friendly shoulders” and 1.68 miles of “separated bike lanes,” according to Neil Greenberger, a spokesman for Montgomery.

Bike advocates in Howard are asking for $3 million for the next three years to fund street bike lanes and shared pathways, expediting a policy of including infrastructure for bikers and walkers in new roads, and for Ball to submit to the County Council a master plan to improve walkways for pedestrians.

New Ad Compares County Bike Funding in Arundel, Montgomery, Howard Counties

Today’s Howard County Times and Columbia Flier featured a full-page ad from the American Heart Association, one of 40+ organizations and businesses supporting Bikeway funding. The ad compares county bike funding between Montgomery, Arundel and Howard counties and urges supporters to call the County Executive to fully fund the Bikeway at $3 million this year.

Take action now. 

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Baltimore Sun Op-Ed By Mary Ann Scully, CEO of Howard Bank

The Feb. 19 issue of the Baltimore Sun featured the business case for funding and building more connected bike routes in Howard County, authored by Howard Bank CEO Mary Ann Scully. Howard Bank is one of 30+ businesses and community institutions that support the Bikeway.

Read: Howard County: best in many ways, but biking

Howard County has long been recognized as among the “best”: best places to live, best schools, highest median family income and high job growth. Its guiding principles have always been to provide an environment of optimal health — physically, mentally, socially and environmentally.

Yet many communities in the region have similar goals, so Howard County increasingly competes for businesses, residents and workers. It’s a hard race and we are not always keeping pace. One area where we are in danger of falling behind is bike routes.

1,500+ Bikeway supporters names featured in a new full-page ad

The Jan. 18 issue of the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times featured this full-page ad with more than 1,500 names of people who have voiced their support and want the County Executive to budget $3 million for the Bikeway. The list of supporters continues to grow as the county continues its budget development process.

Click to view the full PDF. 

Have you voiced your support? Take action now.

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