MARYLAND BIKE ROUTE: COLUMBIA TO FORT MEADE
Thursday, January 24 2013 @ 04:15 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
In 2010, the Bicycle Advocates of Howard County partnered with the Howard County Department of Public Transportation and approached the state with an idea for a connection between Columbia to Fort Meade. A large portion of the employees that work in and around Fort Meade (the State’s largest employment center), live in and around Columbia . With the growing congestion on the roadways, many find it more enjoyable to commute via bicycle, however, finding a comfortable route is often challenging. SHA, with the support of the Maryland Department of Transportation, is working to identify and sign a suitable route for commuting cyclists. After in-depth investigation of many possible routes, SHA, in coordination with Howard County and the Bicycle Advocates of Howard County (BAHC) have developed a route that we feel is the most comfortable and most feasible route in this corridor (PDF, 11 MB).
This route, displayed in solid red, is designed for bicycle commuters with some riding experience that travel from the Columbia area along the MD 32 corridor. Depending on their skill and comfort level, some riders may prefer alternate routes; however, this road is currently agreed to be both reasonably comfortable and direct. The route is intended to behave as a trunk route to carry cyclists from the Columbia area to the Fort Meade area. Future routes can spur from this route to reach additional populations more directly.
Using grant money from Maryland’s Bikeways Program, the route will be signed and limited striping may be installed. Upon implementation, the route will provide directional guidance for cyclists and increase motorist awareness of bicycle travel. It will also be prioritized on Maryland’s statewide bicycle network as a priority bicycle route. This recognition will help the route receive additional funding to address remaining safety and comfort deficiencies for cyclists along the route. In essence, the goal of this route, along with the others, is to develop a system of bicycle trunks throughout Maryland connecting points of major key interest.