The Problem: It’s Too Hard and Unsafe to Get Around Without a Car
Too many of our streets are not accessible or safe for walkers, bikers, bus riders or people with disabilities. As a result, it is too difficult for children to walk safely to school, for people to be more physically active and for people with disabilities and older adults to travel easily and independently.
- Across the county we lack sidewalks and safe intersections. In WalkHoward, the county’s draft pedestrian plan, residents identified 1,312 areas that need sidewalks.
- Out of 494 bus stops assessed in the same plan, 78 percent need landing pads and 51 percent need pedestrian lighting.
- Bicycle routes also have been historically underfunded, leading to very little progress on building projects in the county’s bicycle master plan. While funding has significantly increased in the county’s most recent budget, it still falls short of neighboring counties.
- Too many people in Howard County do not have enough opportunities to be physically active. This can have serious consequences for public health.
What We Need: A World-Class Complete Streets Law
Howard County needs better streets so people can walk, bike, use their wheelchair or ride the bus more safely. We need streets for all.
A new, world-class complete streets law will ensure a future with better biking and walking, requiring new neighborhoods, new businesses and rehabbed public spaces to have safe places to bike and walk. This will help create communities where all people can thrive.
- A law will require developers and the county to design safe, connected roads for everybody, not just cars.
- It’s good for health, the environment at the economy.
- Street-scale improvements, such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and safe street crossings, provide more opportunities to be physically active. Engaging in daily physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and some types of cancer.
- National organizations like the AARP, American Heart Association and Smart Growth America have established best-practice standards for complete streets laws that establish accountability, incorporate equity considerations, create transparency and ensure broad implementation.
- Other Maryland communities, like Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County, have passed complete streets laws. Howard County should not fall behind.