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Bridge Columbia News and Views
September 2015
Lots of Good News this Summer
It was a good summer for Bridge Columbia.  The major developments were: 
  • County Executive Allan Kittleman hosted a Funding Roundtable to explore possible funding sources for the bridge and receive input from stakeholders.
  • The July 4th Annual Bridge Walk hosted by Friends of Bridge Columbia (FOBC) and the Oakland Mills Village Association showcased the condition of the existing bridge and updated residents and community leaders about Bridge Columbia.
  • In a letter to the County Executive, Councilmember Calvin Ball encouraged the Administration to select the bridge option it supports and to allocate funding for it on an incremental basis over several years as a clear sign of support for the bridge and to avoid jeopardizing funding for other priority projects when it's time to construct the bridge.
  • County Executive Kittleman asked the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to add the Route 29 Pedestrian Bridge to the list of Howard County projects seeking grant funding.
More information about these developments is provided in this newsletter.
Kittleman Takes Critical Next Step to Advance Bridge Columbia
County Executive Kittleman has taken an important step in the funding process by adding the U.S Route 29 Pedestrian Bridge to the list of projects in the County's Priority Letter to MDOT.  Specifically, Howard County is asking the state for funding for the design phase to improve the bridge with enhanced safety features and to incorporate transit services.  Although this step does not guarantee funding, it is necessary in order to be considered for state or federal funding.
FOBC issued a press release thanking the County Executive for his request and sent a letter suggesting ways FOBC could collaborate with the County to garner support from the state.
Annual BikeAbout on September 26th
Don't miss the annual BikeAbout event sponsored by the Columbia Association Archives on Saturday, September 26th starting at Lake Kittamaqundi between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.  For more information and to register for the event, click here. This year's route includes the Route 29 pedestrian bridge that is the site for the proposed new Bridge Columbia.
July 4th Bridge Walk Highlights Benefits of Bridge Columbia
County Executive Allan Kittleman participated in the July 4th Bridge Walk and heard from Oakland Mills Village Board member Kay Wisniewski about the community's support for Bridge Columbia.
Avid bicyclist and Bridge Columbia advocate, Sally Ryder, greets residents as they walk to the July 4th fireworks during the 3rd Annual Bridge Walk.
Surgeon General Promotes Walkable Communities
The U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued "Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities."  This call to action marks a historic step in ensuring that Americans of all ages and abilities have access to safe and convenient opportunities to be active and move safely throughout their communities. 
In This Issue
Bridge Advocates Optimistic about Funding Prospects
The Bridge Columbia Funding Roundtable, planned by the County Executive, involved residents, government officials and the private sector.  It provided an excellent overview of the opportunities and challenges in obtaining grant funding.  The key takeaways from the meeting were:
  • Funding is available from multiple sources, but there is competition.  We need  a creative financing plan relying on multiple sources.
  • The large number of elected officials and representatives of officials in attendance at the roundtable indicates strong political support for this project
  • Bridge Columbia does not compete with other bridge options under consideration.They don't overlap physically. They don't overlap functionally, either. 
  • Bridge Columbia supports state priorities--economic development and community revitalization, the availability of transportation alternatives, sustainability, environmental protection, and enhanced public safety and security.
County Executive Kittleman kicks off the Downtown Columbia Bridge Funding Roundtable.

In a follow-up letter to Kittlema n, Friends of Bridge  Columbia  (FOBC) urged the Administration to:
  • move ahead with the iconic-look, dual transit lane bridge option described in the Downtown Columbia Bridge Feasibility Study; 
  • initiate the steps necessary to place the bridge in the relevant county, regional and state plans and programs; 
  • use  FY 2016 budgeted funds to do design and engineering work on the new bridge;
  • undertake only minor, cosmetic improvements to the existing bridge;
  • coordinate with Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC) and Columbia Association on pathway improvements; and
  • determine whether it is fiscally responsible to have HHC proceed with pathway improvements between the bridge and Stevens Forest Road if those improvements could be demolished within a few years. 
FOBC also urged the County Executive to build support for the bridge in the business community.  Financing plans for other such bridges contain funding from private donations as well as public sources.

Bridges that Inspire

Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People, Portland
The new Tilikum Crossing bridge in Portland, Oregon is distinctive in the United States.  It will carry light rail trains, buses, cyclists, pedestrians and streetcars, but not private vehicles Cable-stay construction consists of towers through which cables are strung to support the bridge deck.
Preference for Walkable Communities Still Strong
The National League of Cities provides an update on recent research about community and business preferences for walkable communities.  This update identifies five ways to make a community more walkable-walking audits, complete streets, revitalization projects, health corridors and health-in-all-policies approach.
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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, and email .


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