Howard County Plans
Howard County recognizes the importance of continued growth in Columbia and has dedicated a significant amount of time, money, and effort to coordinate and prepare various plans and studies for future growth. Throughout these documents, there are many commons themes including emphasis on transit connections, sustainability, and economic development.
The vision of Bridge Columbia epitomizes these County-wide goals and has the potential to be a landmark project for Downtown Columbia; itself on the cusp of major redevelopment efforts in the coming years.
Map from Bike Howard Master Plan showing key bicylcing destinations; notice the abundance of blue circles divided by Route 29 representing bicycling destinations in and around Columbia
"A goal of BikeHoward is to create a seamless network of roadways, trails, public transit services and parking facilities that serves cyclists of all skill and comfort levels and bicycle trips for all purposes... For a bicycle network to be useful, it needs to connect people to places they want to go, be continuous, direct and efficient, and be easy to navigate."
-- excerpt from Bike Howard Master Plan
Illustrations from Downtown Columbia Bridge Feasibility Study, produced by URS, showing an example of an iconic bridge design similar to Bridge Columbia's vision
"Local planning documents support the desire for improved transportation connections to and from Downtown Columbia... An improved bridge connection between Downtown Columbia and Oakland Mills is integral and consistent with the community vision... Given the commercial activities expected from the Downtown Columbia Plan, encouraging walking and biking from Oakland Mills and east Columbia has the potential to spur redevelopment on the Oakland Mills side."
"The proposed design provides an iconic gateway feature for Columbia that would be visible to northbound and southbound motorists for a substantial distance. It would satisfy stakeholder interest in provision of a safe and more aesthetically pleasing structure for all users."
-- excerpts from Howard County Downtown Columbia Bridge Feasibility Study
"There are few non-auto connections between the Columbia Mall area and Oakland Mills Village Center, besides the existing path and pedestrian bridge across Route 29.Little Patuxent Parkway and Broken Land Parkway are intended mostly for motorvehicles with missing sidewalks and no bicycle facilities. There is only a single HowardCounty Transit through route that provides a circuitous (25 minute travel time) andinfrequent (one hour headway) connection."
"The existing [bridge] likely will not be able to be expanded as part of a new connection over Route 29. Given the age of the [bridge] and the size of the piers, it will be more costeffective to replace the entire structure to meet the latest design criteria, rather than tryingto retrofit the existing structure."
-- excerpts from Downtown Columbia to Oakland Mills Multimodal Connection Study
Map from Downtown Columbia Plan showing primary pedestrian streets and bicycle routes; there are plenty of options to connect Downtown Columbia to residential areas to the west, but Bridge Columbia is essentially the only opportunity to connect to residential areas to the east
"In order to reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles... within Downtown Columbia, one of the key components of this Plan is to develop and implement alternative options for people to move around as well as to and from downtown... Sidewalks from Downtown Columbia would... Howard Community College and the nearby villages of Wilde Lake and Oakland Mills would be linked to Downtown Columbia by new or improved multi-purpose paths for pedestrians and bicyclists.
-- excerpt from Downtown Columbia Plan