County Council Adopts Updated WalkHoward Plan

February 2020

The Howard County Council unanimously adopted the updated WalkHoward plan, a pedestrian master plan that provides vision, framework, and guidance for improving walkability and pedestrian access to transit within the county.

“Following the passage of our Complete Streets resolution, it was important to make our WalkHoward plan an immediate priority. I’m thankful for the effort that went into creating such a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to making Howard County more accessible and reliable for pedestrians, including a greater emphasis on safety and accommodations for people with disabilities and integration with transit services and schools,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “The WalkHoward plan is a critical component of creating a multi-modal community for all, and its unanimous passage signifies broad community support.”

WalkHoward will now be the definitive reference for proposed pedestrian improvements within the County that all agencies, developers and stakeholders can reference for guidance. WalkHoward is in accordance with PlanHoward and recommendations to make pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes of transportation attractive and viable options. The goal is for Howard County to have “a connected pedestrian network that safely and conveniently accommodates people of all ages and abilities,” and includes physical infrastructure recommendations, ideas for policy changes, and proposed programs in support of that vision.

The WalkHoward plan was developed with a robust process, including field assessments of existing conditions, extensive public input with four public meetings and over 2,500 online comments, guidance from a pedestrian advisory team, consultant support, development of a quantitative project prioritization methodology and extensive public review throughout the process. The Howard County Multimodal Transportation Board and Planning Board have both reviewed this plan and provided helpful input and favorable appraisals.

Recommended improvements were rated using a prioritization methodology that considered access to destinations such as schools, libraries, and retail locations, as well as equity considerations including income, unemployment, and educational attainment. The recommended improvements with the highest 15 percent priority scores were geographically categorized into 43 structured projects with a total estimated cost of $11.77 million. In addition, the plan includes 17 “priority connections” selected from locations identified by the public where a short direct pathway could facilitate walking to a popular destination such as a school, library, shopping center or park. An estimated cost cannot be computed for the priority connections because important information—such as facility type—are not currently known.

“I would like to thank the Howard County Council for their support for the Walk Howard Plan,” said Howard County Office of Transportation Administrator Bruce Gartner.  “Now that we have our Bike and Pedestrian Master Plans firmly in place as well as legislation to create a Complete Streets approach to transportation improvements in Howard County, we can turn our full attention and focus to the implementation and funding necessary to update Howard County’s transportation network.”

To view the full WalkHoward plan and an online interactive map of all recommendations, visit