From left, Howard County Councilwoman Christiana Rigby and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announce the county’s recognition as having the best Complete Streets policy in the nation.

Smart Growth America, a national non-profit whose work focuses on the built environment’s role in creating healthy, prosperous, and thriving communities, has recognized Howard County as having the best Complete Streets policy in the nation with a 100% perfect score on the National Complete Streets Coalition’s current scoring matrix.

“Howard County is the first jurisdiction in our country to receive this perfect score,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “Over the last four years we worked hard to reimagine how we approach transportation in Howard County … and our efforts have paid off.”

In its review, Smart Growth America noted that Howard County also prioritizes historically underserved and disinvested communities and vulnerable street users that include pedestrians, bicyclists, children, seniors, and people with disability needs.

In addition to the recognition, Ball announced that his fiscal 2024 capital budget proposal will include an historic $13.2 million in funding for Complete Streets infrastructure, an increase of $5 million over last year’s transportation budget.

Ball’s fiscal 2024 capital budget proposal includes $1.3 million for the Rogers Avenue Complete Streets project and $1.1 million for Guilford Road improvements. It also invests nearly $1 million for the new South Entrance Trail which will link downtown Columbia with the existing Patuxent Branch Trail and will enable a direct bicycle and pedestrian connection from North Laurel to downtown Columbia and beyond.

The proposal includes two new capital projects: the Dobbin Road Pathway, which will construct a two-mile long multi-use pathway for walking and cycling along the entirety of Dobbin Road, and the U.S. 1 Corridor Safe Streets for All project which will bring critical streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle and transportation safety improvements along the Route 1 Corridor from Elkridge to Laurel.

“I’m committing $150,000 to expand transit service in the Elkridge area in the FY 24 budget,” Ball said, adding that the county is partnering with Montgomery County to bring its Flash Bus Rapid Transit service to Howard County by providing a new transit connection between the jurisdictions.

“This expansion was awarded more than $3 million from the federal government for the purchase of buses,” he said. “Howard County has committed more than $850,000 in matching funds to support this partnership.”