This is a stressful and uncertain time for all of us but thankfully, there is some good news to celebrate – in the form proposed FY 2021 County Budget, released by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball last week.
The proposed budget includes an extraordinary $7.38 million for projects that will make walking and biking in Howard County better, easier and safer. These projects include new and improved bike lanes, street lights, paths, bus stops, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings across Howard County. The County is also seeking an additional $870,000 in grants to support these projects.
In particular, with the passage of WalkHoward, the county’s pedestrian master plan, earlier this year, the proposed budget reflects significant investments planned for sidewalks, paths and other projects to improve pedestrian safety and connectivity. Overall, in the past two years since County Executive Ball took office, the average amount of county funding for biking and walking projects has been nearly two times greater than any point in the past decade.
To the members of the Streets for All Coalition, and every community member who raised their voice in support of making Howard County a more walkable, bikeable and accessible place – THANK YOU. Your support has been instrumental in this progress.
The need for a better active transportation infrastructure has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 crisis. In the era of physical distancing, many of us are relying on sidewalks, paths and bike lanes for both physical activity and a mental reprieve from isolation. And while some of us have the ability to work from home, many members of our community work at essential businesses and still need to get around as they work to keep our community running as much as possible.
“Even in tough times like now, we recognize that exercise keeps our communities physically and mentally well,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is a major priority for my administration. Together we can create safe and accessible infrastructure and a more multi-modal society.”
Thank you County Executive Ball for your leadership and prioritization of biking and walking in Howard County. These investments are critical to ensure our community is a healthy, safe and connected place for all – now and in the future.
We are all in this together, and we are excited to continue working together in the coming weeks and months to make this vision a reality.
Next Up: Howard County Council Hosts Virtual Public Hearing on the FY 2021 Capital Budget on April 16
Now that the County Executive has released his proposed capital budget for the next fiscal year, it heads to the Howard County Council for its review and approval. The Council will be hosting a virtual public hearing on Thursday, April 16 beginning at 4 p.m. Tell the Council you support these strong investments in bike and pedestrian projects — sign up to testify or email the Council your written testimony.