This funding initiative supports a county-wide master planning process for improving bicycle and pedestrian access and safety intended to add to the livability and sustainability of Baltimore County communities.
“People want to live in communities where they have easy access to bike trails and bike lanes so they can safely pedal to work and school and can enjoy a weekend bike ride with family and friends,” Mohler said. “Our BaltCoBike 2030 initiative is a planning and grant-making process that will prioritize funding for recreational off-road bike trails and bike lanes that will be strategically located to help provide more transportation options for residents in the County and surrounding jurisdictions.”
The initiative will allocate $200,000 in county funding that would supply matching funds as required by state, federal and private grant programs including, but not limited to, the Maryland Bikeways Program; the federal Recreational Trails Program; and the Transportation Alternatives Program.
The program could leverage as much as $1 million in funding for county projects. The initial funds will be identified in the existing budget in the Department of Public Works.
“I am pleased that for the first time we will actually identify funding to expand biking opportunities in Baltimore County,” said Mohler.
“Creating environments that support biking and walkability is increasingly important to maintaining the County’s attractiveness and quality of life for our residents,” said Planning Director Andrea Van Arsdale. “Promoting walking and bicycling also helps to address the national obesity problem, supports environmental sustainability and helps to strengthen people’s sense of connection to their neighbors and communities.”
“Dedicated public funding is key to delivering bike and pedestrian projects that our residents can enjoy,” said Public Works Director Steve Walsh.
“This is a very positive initiative because I know that community leaders around the County are interested in having more bike trails and bike lanes as desirable amenities that offer great opportunities to ride for fun and for getting around,” said County Council Chair Julian E. Jones, Jr.
“This is a very generous and proactive step by the County that will be put to good use in providing safe accommodations for people to walk and bike, providing multiple benefits including recreation, fitness and easing traffic congestion,” said Sheldon Epstein, the Chair of the County’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee. “We are seeing national trends where walking and riding a bike are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to driving for short trips.”
“I applaud this announcement from the County Executive,” said Councilman David Marks. “Baltimore County has not taken advantage of state grant opportunities because the local matching funds have not been available. This will help the county build more bike lanes and trails.”