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Bridge Columbia News and Views
April 2015
County Executive Allan Kittleman hears from residents at his first Town Hall Meeting in Oakland Mills on March 31.

Strong Support for Bridge Columbia at Town Hall Meeting

The need for Bridge Columbia was addressed by the first, the last and many more speakers at a Town Hall Meeting convened by County Executive Kittleman on March 31st in Oakland Mills.  The bridge was also the theme of several presentations by members of the Oakland Mills Village Board. Several speakers noted that the bridge is a necessary component of any effort by the County to create a more sustainable transportation system by encouraging pedestrians, bicyclists and transit.

 

Kittleman revealed his vision for Oakland Mills in his responses to several speakers.  He noted that development in Downtown Columbia can benefit the redevelopment of Oakland Mills and that Oakland Mills will be able to provide nearby affordable housing options for persons who work Downtown but cannot afford to, or don't choose to, live Downtown.  He said that more people will use the bridge if it is improved helping to solve Downtown traffic problems and making  Oakland Mills more accessible.  Kittleman also said that a new bridge would benefit all Columbia and Howard County residents. 

 

Call to Action
WalkHoward Needs Your Input

Howard County is updating its 2007 Pedestrian Master Plan.  The new Pedestrian Plan, WalkHoward: Moving Forward, is looking for public input on missing links and areas of the county pedestrian system that need improvement.   

 

It's easy to participate.  Just go to walkhoward.org and click on the link to the online map.  Be sure to add your voice to the need for Bridge Columbia!

 

The public input period ends April 30th, so do it today!
New Funding Proposed for Bridge
On April 1st, County Executive Kittleman sent his proposed Fiscal Year 2016 capital improvement program (CIP) budget to the County Council for adoption after a series of hearings.  In previous years, the County appropriated $600,000 for the Oakland Mills bridge including funding for the recently completed Downtown Columbia bridge feasibility study.   Most of that money is still available for work that needs to be done in FY 2016.  However, the County Executive included an additional $750,000 in the CIP for the bridge project, but deferred requesting the funds until Fiscal Year 2017 due to fiscal constraints.  This is another strong sign of Kittleman's support for Bridge Columbia.

Oakland Mills Names Friends of Bridge Columbia Volunteers of the Year

Committee members of Friends of Bridge Columbia (FOBC) have been named 2015 Volunteers of the Year by the Oakland Mills Community Association. In addition, the Howard County Council issued an Honorary Resolution honoring the group (see below).  FOBC was organized in 2008 to advocate for a new public transit/pedestrian/bicycle bridge connecting Downtown Columbia to Oakland Mills.  A reception honoring the volunteers was held on April 14th. 

Members of Friends of Bridge Columbia:  Front row, L to R, Sally Ryder, John Slater, Cathy Spain. Second row, L to R, Karen Gray, Sandy Cederbaum, Fred Gottemoeller.  Not pictured:  Bob Bartolo, David Bittner, Lee Richardson, Peter Tocco.
In This Issue

Kittleman Announces Funding Roundtable for Bridge 

At the Town Hall Meeting, County Executive Allan Kittleman said a new bridge to Downtown Columbia from Oakland Mills "is an important issue to me."  Noting there is still a lot of work to do, he announed that his Chief of Staff, Diane Wilson, has been tasked to convene a meeting on bridge funding options with stakeholders including Friends of Bridge Columbia, within the next few months.  The purpose of the meeting  is to bring together federal, state and county officials and transportation experts  to investigate the availability, desirability, and requirements of different grant-funding sources.  As much as 80 percent of bridge costs could be grant-funded.  Kittleman said, "We have to start working now to get the bridge going." 

Council Listening Tour Stops in Oakland Mills on April 28th
The five County Councilmembers who represent parts of Columbia are visiting the 10 Columbia village boards to hear from village board members and residents seeking input on New Town Zoning, village center revitalization, and other local issues.  Bridge Columbia will be on the agenda when the Councilmembers attend the April 28th Oakland Mills Village Board meeting at 7:00 p.m. in The Other Barn.  Residents are encouraged to turn out and show their support for Bridge Columbia. 

Bridges that Inspire

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, Omaha, Nebraska
Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, also known as the Footbridge, is a walking bridge connecting Council Bluffs, IA to Omaha's Riverfront, just north of Downtown. The bridge opened in 2002, and is named after the Nebraska Senator who secured funding for the project, Senator Bob Kerrey.
Harper's Choice Supports Bridge Columbia

Harper's Choice Community Association has decided to support, in concept, Bridge Columbia's efforts to develop a new bridge across Maryland Route 29 that meets the needs of the community and is a structure that befits Columbia and Howard County.  In a letter to Friends of Bridge Columbia FOBC, Harper's Choice officials welcomed continued communication about Bridge Columbia and expressed a willingness to provide further input on the project as it progresses.  

 

FOBC seeks support from other community organizations.  Contact FOBC at info@bridgecolumbia.org to arrange for a guest speaker about Bridge Columbia. 

County Councilman Calvin Ball
Ball Signals Support for Bridge Columbia

In a February 26th email to Friends of Bridge Columbia (FOBC), Howard County Councilmember Calvin Ball expressed his continued support for an improved, safe and sustainable bridge that connects east and west Columbia.  Calling the bridge a vital artery uniting Columbia, Ball informed FOBC that the County was considering the additional $750,000 commitment to the capital improvement plan.

 

Ball called on the County to take immediate action to work on near-term improvements to the bridge including the replacement of the chain link structure and increased lighting.  He said, "While we continue to work together for a long term vision for the bridge, this is a first step toward our progress."

Horizon Foundation Promotes "Open Streets"

Mark your calendars for the Open Streets Howard County kick off on June 13th.  The Horizon Foundation is sponsoring a fun-filled event to demonstrate how an existing  road built only for cars can function better for people, whether they choose to drive, cycle, walk, run, or take transit.  Go to

www.thehorizonfoundation.org/openstreets/

for more information.

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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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