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Bridge Columbia News and Views
April 2016
Kittleman Budget Includes Funding for Bridge:
Council Must Now Approve

County Executive Allan Kittleman again signaled his support for Bridge Columbia in his Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) capital budget.  He also highlighted the bridge in the cover letter accompanying the budget. 
 
The County Council will now hold a series of hearings and work sessions to review the budget, then vote on it in May. It is important for the Council to hear support for projects such as Bridge Columbia from residents.  While the Council is not authorized to add projects to the budget, it may eliminate projects. 
 
The Bridge Columbia project is identified in the capital budget as Bridge Project 3863-Downtown Columbia-Oakland Mills Connection Improvements.  In previous years, $600,000 was appropriated for the project and another $350,000 will be added if the FY17 budget is approved as proposed.  Additionally, the Administration indicated that it will propose another $500,000 in the FY18 capital budget, bringing the total commitment to Bridge Columbia to $1.45 million.
 
The bridge project will include a study to evaluate the full range of environmental impacts of a new bridge and its alternatives as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. This study is the first step to put the project on the path to being able to receive state and federal funding.  In the meantime, some bridge improvements will be made to complement those that are currently underway on the pathway leading to and away from the bridge.

Friends of Bridge Columbia (FOBC) thanks County Executive Kittleman and his staff for their efforts to move this project along and urges the County Council to support Bridge Columbia funding.  

The Village in Howard Adds Name to Bridge Columbia Supporters

Recently, the Board of Directors of The Village in Howard (TVIH) decided to lend its support to Bridge Columbia.  TVIH is a membership community of Howard County residents 55 and older whose mission is to enable members to age in place by providing mutual support, services and activities and coordinating with public and private resources.  TVIH is commended for recognizing the importance of Bridge Columbia as a transportation alternative.  Bridge Columbia invites other organizations to request a presentation about Bridge Columbia and learn how they can help with this community-based initiative.  Contact info@bridgecolumbia.org.
Council Adopts Bike Master Plan with Bridge Columbia Added

The County Council approved the Howard County Bike Master Plan, known as BikeHoward, on April 4th with amended language incorporating the U.S. 29 bike and pedestrian bridge. The change in the plan was the culmination of efforts by the Administration and the Council working with FOBC.    
 
The proposed Howard County Bike Master Plan reviewed and approved by the Howard County Planning Board did not mention Bridge Columbia. When FOBC pointed out this oversight, the Administration agreed to add it as a footnote. Councilperson Jen Terrasa, who was joined by Council Chair Calvin Ball, offered an even more substantial amendment to the new language that had been proposed by the Administration.  Both amendments were approved unanimously.
 
FOBC appreciates the willingness of the Administration and the Council to make this important improvement to the Bike Master Plan.
County Executive Expresses Commitment in State of the County Address

County Executive Allan Kittleman renewed his commitment to Bridge Columbia in his State of the County address.  Starting at about 15:10 in this video of the address , he says:
" We've been looking at Bridge Columbia...We WILL be putting money in our capital budget this year to start the contributions from the county. We know we are going to need state and federal partnerships with that, but we also want to express our commitment to the residents of that area that we are behind it and we will continue to do our best to make it happen."

Thank you, County Executive Kittleman!
In This Issue
Action Needed
Urge County Council to Support Bridge Columbia Funding
Please send an email to the Howard County Council as soon as possible, preferably by April 18th,  to support County Executive Kittleman's capital budget proposal to fund additional work on Bridge Columbia over the next two fiscal years.  Contact all members of the Council at this address:  councilmail@howardcountymd.gov The message to the Council is straightforward:
 
"I support the recommendation in the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 capital budget to fund the Downtown Columbia-Oakland Mills Connection Improvements (Bridge Project 3863).  Please continue to support Bridge Columbia."
 
For more information about the budget proposal, see the article to the left.  

Bridges that Inspire

Knokke Footbridge, Knokke, Belgium
This beautiful, curved bridge for pedestrians and cyclists connects the sea dike with the entrance to Knokke over Queen Elizabeth Avenue in Belgium.  It is a hybrid cable-stay/suspension bridge.
New County Staff Working on Bridge Columbia

Retirement and turnover have resulted in some new faces on the transportation scene in Howard County.  FOBC welcomes two new County staff professionals:  Valdis Lazdins and Clive Graham. Valdis  Lazdins was appointed by County Executive Kittleman last year to serve as the Director of Planning and Zoning.  Most recently Lazdins worked at the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission, LSL Planning, Inc., and the City of Grand Rapids, MI.  Clive Graham joined the County team in January.  He is the Administrator of the Office of Transportation and Deputy Director of the Planning and Department.  Graham was a Principal Consultant with ERM for over 20 years and before that served as a County Planner for Howard County Government.
Clive Graham 
Valdis Lazdins
New Website Coming Soon

The Bridge Columbia website is currently under construction.  A new and improved version should be up and running soon. 
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Friends of Bridge Columbia is a grassroots organization that supports a new bridge across Route 29. It will be the centerpiece of a major bike, bus, and pedestrian corridor connecting Howard County Hospital to Blandair Park. Bridge Columbia will be a signature structure, reflecting Columbia's welcoming character and commitment to sustainable living. Follow Friends of Bridge Columbia on Facebook, visit bridgecolumbia.org, and email info@bridgecolumbia.org .

 

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