On Monday night, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball hosted the first public hearing to formulate his proposed FY 2021 budget. The Streets for All Coalition was there to testify in support of the $2.75 million requested by the county’s Office of Transportation for bike infrastructure projects, and to advocate for a more robust investment in building and improving sidewalks, crosswalks and other projects to improve safety and connectivity for pedestrians.
The county has increased overall funding for biking and walking projects each year over the past several years. Clearly, we are moving in the right direction and making smart investments in our future. We must continue this progress and help Howard County become a leader in biking and walking. More importantly, we must prioritize bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects in areas with the most need — namely Guilford, Elkridge, Savage and Jessup — where upgrades have lagged for far too long.
We will continue to advocate for this funding as the budget process continues. We will also continue to watchdog progress on these projects. Any funding must be followed up with action by making real, tangible changes that people can see and use, starting in neighborhoods that need it most.
Former Guilford Elementary student and star of the night, seven year old Clara Daly, summed it up perfectly in her testimony: “When you’re doing your budget, please use some money for sidewalks and bike lanes so that then other people don’t get hit by cars. Also, please make sure you finish the projects. It’s silly to pay the money and then not do it.”
Thank you to Clara and her mother Annalisse, Wilde Lake Village, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, Race Pace Bicycles, American Heart Association, Gilchrist, the Howard County Autism Society, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, First Baptist Church of Guilford, Association of Community Services, Horizon Foundation and everyone else who provided testimony and showed up to support more sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and other projects to help make Howard County more walkable, bikeable and accessible for everyone.