Howard County is a great place to live, work, and play—and, generally, a good place to walk. Many of its neighborhoods are served by networks of trails, pathways and sidewalks that make walking to schools, commercial areas and jobs possible. But is walking a fully safe and viable mode of transportation in Howard County? Or is it mostly a recreational activity in which to engage after work and on weekends and holidays?
By focusing on improving the pedestrian network and increasing access to bus stops, Howard County can help people travel independently and reach destinations such as schools, shopping, services, and social interaction in a safe and comfortable manner. In addition, improving walkability can result in significant health, economic, and safety benefits for individuals and for the community as a whole.
Shifting from accommodating walking as primarily a form of recreation to providing for it as a form of transportation requires planning. The County began a decade ago with its first Pedestrian Master Plan (2007) aimed at closing the “…many gaps and inconsistencies in the County’s pedestrian network.” Conceived with the recognition that work is still needed in this area, and guided by evolving pedestrian transportation priorities, this WalkHoward plan updates the 2007 Pedestrian Master Plan.
WalkHoward sets forth a plan for implementing a connected, comfortable, and safe pedestrian network that accommodates all users. To do this, it identifies pedestrian network improvements needed beyond those completed under the 2007 plan. It also provides recommendations for changes in policies, guidelines, and practices that affect the pedestrian network, and for programs that will encourage the network’s use.