The FY23 Federal Budget passed by congress and signed by the president in the closing days of 2022 includes support for several important bike and pedestrian access initiatives in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis. We are fortunate to have such strong support for active transportation at the city, county, state and federal levels. All of these projects are part of or along the envisioned Anne Arundel Trail Network. Projects funded include:
Project Title: Trail Spurs and Connectors
Recipient Name: Anne Arundel County via MDOT
Project Purpose: This funding will be used to accelerate the design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction of spurs and connectors to the major trails traversing the Anne Arundel County. The new trails will help connect local trails with national trails including the East Coast Greenway and the American Discovery Trail.
Project Location: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Amount Funded: $1,500,000
Project Title: West East Express (WEE) and College Creek Connector Trails Project
Recipient Name: City of Annapolis via MDOT
Project Purpose: The West East Express (WEE) and the College Creek Connector Trails are two connected and high priority trail projects underway in Annapolis that will dramatically expand the City’s trail network. This request would be used to build a significant portion of the West East Express and complete the design work on the College Creek Connector. The proposed trail alignments are long deferred visions that after many years of discussion and recent feasibility studies have succeeded in gaining significant local community support.
Project Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Amount Funded: $2,750,000
Additional projects include $4M for transit-oriented development of the Odenton MARC station including enhanced bike/pedestrian access and $3M to support a multi-modal transportation center in Parole at the Westfield Annapolis Mall. The facility will serve existing local and regional bus service, but will also be designed as an intermodal hub with possible future connectivity to modes such as bikeshare, carshare, and ride hailing services. To learn more about all of the local projects supported, read the Capital Gazette article.
There are a variety of gaps both large and small in the envisioned Anne Arundel Trail Network. But with support from the Anne Arundel County Bicycle Advisory Commission, BikeAAA, our government partners at Anne Arundel County, City of Annapolis and the state of Maryland and a variety of regional and national advocacy groups, we have action under way at every gap. Trail-building takes longer than any of us prefer as it moves from Study to Design to Construction. Some of our grants are from federal programs which come with added regulation. There are also challenges with right of way acquisition, environmental regulations and other process issues. But we have accelerated progress in the last few years and every gap segment is now in one of these phases. Here is a top level status starting at 12 o’clock and working our way around clockwise.
BWI to Baltimore
Design work is in process funded by state and federal grant sources to extend the existing BWI Trail Spur north to the Nursery Rd. Light Rail Station and then on to Baltimore City to connect to the Gwynns Falls Trail near Harbor Hospital. The in-design “Baybrook Connector” encompasses the upper portion which includes both Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City.
The Broadneck Trail will connect to the B&A Trail at Jones Station Rd and extend to the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State Park. Phases 1 and 2 from Bay Dale Drive to Cape St. Claire are complete. Phase 3 from Bay Dale to Peninsula Farm Rd. where it meets the existing “B&A Connector” is in construction. The final Phases 1b and 5 into Sandy Point Park are expected to commence construction in the spring of 2023. Upon completion we anticipate that the American Discovery Trail (Atlantic to Pacific) will reroute to use the Broadneck Trail.
B&A Trail through Annapolis
From the southern terminus of the B&A Trail at Boulter’s Way there is continuous wide bike shoulder on both sides to the Annapolis end of the U.S. Naval Academy Bridge. There has been discussion of converting this segment to a separated shared-use path but there is nothing official underway. The bike lanes abruptly end at the Annapolis side of the USNA Bridge. Through a collaboration among MD SHA, Anne Arundel County, the City of Annapolis, U.S. Naval Academy and BikeAAA, study has been done to place a separated share-use path from the USNA Bridge on to King George St and also to the existing USNA Stadium Trail via Taylor Ave. Recent Kim Lamphier Maryland Bikeways grants will fund design work along Taylor Ave and also the “College Creek Connector ” from King George St. to the Poplar Trail. The City of Annapolis recently secured its first Transportation Alternatives Program (“TAP”) federal grant to fund construction of the “Inner WEE (West/East Express) Trail which widens the existing Poplar Trail and extends it towards downtown to Calvert St. Design work is underway for the Outer WEE extending the Poplar Trail from Admiral Drive to Rt. 2 where it would connect to existing sidepaths to Annapolis Town Center and to the South Shore Trail terminus at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Additional work is in process for trail connections in other parts of Annapolis.
South Shore Trail – Annapolis to Odenton
The South Shore Trail will connect Annapolis near Anne Arundel Medical Center with Odenton where it will connect to the WB&A Trail and Town Center Blvd sidepath. Two sections are completed: A short segment from Jennifer Rd/Medical Center Parkway to Bestgate Rd and Phase 1 from Waterbury Rd to Rt.175 Annapolis Rd. just east of Rt. 3. Phase 2 from Bonheur Rd (west side of Rt. 3) to Sappington Station Circle and the Odenton Rd Sidepath is expected to start construction in spring 2023 with funding from a TAP grant. Phases 3 and 4 from Bestgate Rd.to Waterbury Rd are in design and right of way acquisition. Some work has been done to study safer crossing of Rt. 3 to better connect Phases 1 and 2 but this remains a challenging crossing.
WB&A Trail Patuxent River Bridge
This much anticipated and delayed river crossing is now in construction following a groundbreaking in May, 2022. Work is in process and completion is expected by the end of 2023. This hiker/biker bridge will join the Anne Arundel and Prince George’s County WB&A Trails. Upon completion, major national trails such as the East Coast Greenway, 911 Memorial Trail, Grand History Trail and American Discovery Trail are expected to reroute away from roads and utilize the South Shore and WB&A Trails from Annapolis to Odenton and on to Bowie.
Odenton to BWI
From the northern terminus of the WB&A Trail and Odenton Rd sidepath, there is a short connector to the Odenton MARC Station. Cyclists and pedestrians can use a ramped tunnel at the station to cross under the tracks. From there you can cross Rt 175 on Town Center Blvd to reach the existing trail up to Bluewater Drive. Bluewater has a segment of sidepath which ends before reaching the Rt 175 Trail. At the northern end of the Rt 175 Trail, there are gaps across the 295 interchange and on Milestone Parkway. A Kim Lamphier Bikeways grant is funding design for the gaps on Bluewater and Milestone. A major SHA project to overhaul the 175/295 interchange includes construction of a trail connecting the existing 175 trail to Sellner Rd. where an existing sidepath continues to the trail along National Business Parkway.
The Milestone Parkway sidepath continues along Arundel Mills Blvd but ends near Arundel Mills Mall. The gap from there across Rt.100 and on to the BWI Trail is arguably the most difficult gap in the AATN. An SHA study is examining a potential trail along Rt 713 and Dorsey Rd to reach the BWI Trail. Also, the proposed Patapsco Greenway may provide a trail connection from the BWI Trail near Stoney Run into Patapsco State Park.
The City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County did quite well in the recent announcement of state and federal bikeways grants. Among the important projects receiving funding are $2m for extension of the Poplar Trail to become the “West-East Express”; and design grants for the Annapolis College Creek Connector; shared-use path connection along Taylor Ave from King George St to Rowe Blvd and design completion of the Baybrook Connector from the Nursery Rd. Light Rail to the Baltimore City line. All of these are part of the envisioned Anne Arundel Trail Network which will connect people with one another and the places they need and want to go with less reliance on a car.
We are pleased to report that invitation for construction bids are now posted for both the Patuxent River hiker/biker bridge that will connect the AA and PG county WB&A Trails and also Broadneck Trail Phase 3 that will connect to the B&A Trail at Jones Station Rd (see green below). Construction funding is lined up for South Shore Trail Phase 2 with connection to the Odenton Rd sidepath and on to the WB&A Trailhead and Broadneck Trail 1b and 5 which provide connection to Sandy Point State Park. (see blue). All 4 projects should start construction in 2022. These projects never come as fast as we would like but these are important milestones. In nearly all other gap areas of the envisioned network there are feasibility studies or design work underway.
On June 22, 2021 BikeAAA president Jon Korin was interviewed at the B&A Trail Ranger Station live on Baltimore’s Fox 45 News about the Anne Arundel County Trail Network Click below to see the interview.
Where can you live in Anne Arundel County without daily use of a car? Can your kids safely walk to school? Can you bike to work? Walk or bike to the grocery store, train station, park or doctor’s office?
Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (“BikeAAA”) has developed a vision and a new website (www.annearundeltrailnetwork.org) for a network of paved trails that will equitably connect residential, employment, education, recreation, cultural and natural areas within the county and to the greater Washington and Baltimore trail networks. The trail network will transform public life by providing healthy, low-stress access to open space and safe active transportation and recreation for people of all ages and abilities. Anne Arundel County has several existing trails including the B&A Trail, WB&A Trail and BWI Trail that are popular with residents and visitors as well as new trails underway like the Broadneck Trail and South Shore Trail. The City of Annapolis has several smaller trails like the Poplar Trail, Spa Creek Trail and the USNA Stadium loop. The vision for the Anne Arundel Trail Network (“AATN”) knits these together and identifies critical gaps that join individual trails into a network. The AATN provides transportation, recreation and fitness opportunities for people of all ages and abilities on foot or on wheels. It also provides regional connections to the Capital Trails Network in the greater DC area and the Baltimore Greenway and is part of national networks including the East Coast Greenway, Sept 11 Memorial Trail, American Discovery Trail and Grand History Trail.
The AATN consists of a continuous trail “hub” around the denser northern half of the county, ”spokes” radiating north, east, south and west and dozens of smaller “community connectors” that access neighborhoods, schools, parks, libraries, shopping, employment, transit, cultural and other destinations. The trail network connects our town centers including Annapolis, Parole, Odenton and Glen Burnie as well as key destinations such as our colleges (USNA, St. Johns and all 3 AACC campuses); major employment centers including Annapolis, Ft. Meade and the BWI area; shopping such as Arundel Mills, Annapolis Mall & Town Center and Marley Station; and transit including MARC, Light Rail, Amtrak and BWI.
Anne Arundel County’s Move Anne Arundel! strategic transportation plan approved in 2019 calls for a reduction in automobile dependence and more safe walking, biking and transit options as the most effective way to reduce traffic, protect our environment, improve health and make living here more affordable and equitable. The AATN vision support this strategy by providing safe walking and biking connections. The AATN was developed in collaboration with the Anne Arundel County Bicycle Advisory Commission and provides a guide for identifying, prioritizing and funding new trails. A majority of trail construction is funded by federal and state grants and the AATN shows how each new trail segment fits into a larger network. In gap areas, it has been the basis for securing study grants for new trail routes that close the gaps. In the past three years, Anne Arundel County has secured over $10 million in federal and state grants for trail studies, design and construction. BikeAAA’s role is to advocate and provide a holistic view and information clearinghouse for the AATN. The actual responsibility for trail project design, implementation and maintenance remains with county, city and state agencies. BikeAAA worked with AACPS high school STEM student interns Ryan Lomax and Michael Shutt to develop a website and maps that provide more details and a variety of links to related information sources. Please visit www.annearundeltrailnetwork.org to learn more about the AATN and to find places where you can walk, run, roll, bike, skate or scooter
Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (“BikeAAA”) launched as an all-volunteer 501c3 in 2013. We advocated for a County Bicycle Advisory Commission which launched in 2016 and then for a county Bicycle/Pedestrian Transportation Planner. The Bike Commission began to develop a concept for a fully connected network of bike routes, both on-road and paved trails. BikeAAA picked up on this concept and put more focus on a trail network which would knit together the existing and planned trails in the county while identifying the critical gaps.
We learned a great deal from the Capital Trails Coalition Network in the greater DC area and the Baltimore Greenway to our north as well as other trail advocates such as the East Coast Greenway and Rails to Trails. We realized that a website was the best way to bring it all together and promote it to the public. BikeAAA had prior success working with Anne Arundel County Public School’s STEM program on other bike-oriented projects so we reached out to AACPS and developed a STEM Internship project to build this website. It was our good fortunate to work with 11th graders Ryan Lomax and Mike Shutt who developed this website from scratch. BikeAAA’s Alex Pline and Jon Korin worked with Ryan and Mike over the summer and into fall of 2020 to complete the website you now see. We are also grateful to Daniel Paschall of East Coast Greenway who built the static map for us and also to the citizen and county, city and state government members of the county Bike Commission. We will continue to rely on our many partners and volunteers to advance our vision and bring it to reality.
On Nov. 25, 2020 MDOT SHA awarded Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks a $2.2M grant for construction of South Shore Trail Phase 2 (Bonheur Ave to Sappington Station Rd) and $20K to build out the enhanced “Caraker Plaza on the B&A Trail” behind The Big Bean in Severna Park. The South Shore Trail will eventually connect Annapolis and Odenton and is a critical link in our envisioned Anne Arundel Trail Network. The gathering area on the B&A Trail will be named in memory of Tom Caraker, known as the “Mayor of the B&A Trail”. The Caraker grant leverages $5K raised by BikeAAA and Friends of Anne Arundel County Trails. All this is the result of close collaboration among county and city departments, BikeAAA, the county Bike Commission, state and regional agencies and organizations. We are grateful for these many partners and progress on our network of bikeways. You can help each time you see a call for public input. For more details about the statewide grants: https://www.roads.maryland.gov/…/pressreleasedetails…