Howard County has released a draft of its pedestrian master plan, and is calling for a wide range of improvements to boost the percentage of residents walking to work and other destinations.

The master plan, which is a required update to a plan released in 2007, issues dozens of recommendations designed to make communities in the area more pedestrian-friendly. This includes 44 projects that would improve pedestrian access, representing nearly $11.5 million in work, with $9.44 million in sidewalk improvements alone.

The county is looking to boost the walkability of its communities, citing the health benefits of walking as well as the positive environmental impacts. Between 1% and 1.5% of Howard County residents commute to work by foot. That lags behind the state average of 2.4% and the national average of 2.8%.

The broad guiding principles of the plan include:
The county also identified 17 major intersections to be evaluated for pedestrian-friendly improvements. Howard County has named the Route 1 corridor as an “area of special focus,” due to a high number of pedestrian fatalities there. (Seven people were struck and killed between October 2015 and 2016.)

  • Build a pedestrian network to be used; maintain it so it is used
  • Ensure the pedestrian network is coherent, continuous, and connected
  • Design a pedestrian network to include safe, direct routes
  • Create space so pedestrian networks meet design standards while being ADA compliant.

The Howard County Office of Transportation will host a public meeting to discuss the plan on Feb. 13 at 6:30 PM at in the Kittleman Room in Duncan Hall at Howard Community College. The public can comment on the plan until March 31, 2018.

Read the full Walk Howard draft plan.

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