Yesterday, the Howard County Council finalized the FY 2022 capital budget with amendments. By a vote of 4-1, the Council approved the $5.375 million proposed by County Executive Calvin Ball for bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects – a record level of funding for projects to advance complete streets in Howard County. The Streets for All Coalition released the following statement in response.
“The past year has challenged all of us immensely – but it also reminded us of the importance of public health and the infrastructure that helps keep our community healthy. We are thrilled to see $5.375 million – a record level of funding – in the county budget for new and improved sidewalks, paths, pedestrian crossings and bus stops across Howard County that will make it safer and easier for residents to get around and be physically active. The projects will also help move the needle to make complete streets a reality in our community and help build a more age-friendly Howard County.
In particular, we are thrilled that improved sidewalks and crosswalks along Montgomery Road in Elkridge, which we highlighted last October during our Virtual Walk Audit, will now become a reality so children can walk and bike to school more safely. We are also excited for the protected bike lane pilot project along Oakland Mills Road in Columbia that would be the first of its kind in Howard County.
We would like to thank County Executive Calvin Ball for his leadership and commitment to our shared complete streets vision. We also applaud our County Council members for their tireless work in a difficult budget season to ensure that these bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects will have the funding they need to be completed.
We also thank the entire Streets for All Coalition and all of the community members who raised their voices and advocated for funding for these critical projects. Together, we can make our streets and sidewalks safer and more accessible across Howard County.
While funding these projects is critical, the work now begins to ensure these projects get done in a timely fashion so residents can enjoy the benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the frailties of our public health infrastructure because of historic disinvestment, while also highlighting how many of us are relying on this infrastructure more than ever for our physical and mental health. We thank our elected officials for investing in these projects that will improve public health and we look forward to seeing progress on the ground. The Streets for All Coalition will continue to advocate for safe and accessible spaces for everyone to bike, walk and access public transportation.”