Baltimore County's Complete Street Policy, adopted by the county council in December, was listed as one of the best by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America.
"We're pleased to receive national recognition for Baltimore County's commitment to making our streets work for everyone – walkers, bicyclists, and drivers," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz in a press release Wednesday.
Baltimore County's program ranked sixth among 83 communities in the U.S. with Complete Streets programs in 2013.
Legislation for the plan was sponsored by 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk, 5th District Councilman David Marks and 4th District Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver.
The policy will ensure that all new roads are built out of consideration for everyone using them -- pedestrians, bikers, drivers and those using public transportation, said Ray Bahr, who was appointed to the Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee by Quirk.
The committee, which was established in 2011, was responsible for overseeing the plan, Quirk said.
"I always talk about building livable, sustainable communities where people can walk, bike, shop and play all within a few miles of where they live," Quirk said. "This helps attract new homebuyers and also keeps property values strong. New bike paths and lanes and pedestrian-friendly roads add to the quality and safety of our neighborhoods."
According to the release, the plan's benefits would be: reduced roadway congestion, increased transportation network capacity, improved air quality, improved community health, enhanced aesthetics, augmented economic growth, and increased community stability.
Bahr, a Catonsville resident, who is also a member of the organization, Catonsville Rails to Trails, said he became involved with the project because he loves biking.
"All new roads built in the county will incorporate the Complete Streets policy." Bahr said. "Developers will have to incorporate them into their building designs. [The policy] incorporates buffers and trees. You're going to get environmental benefits, cleaner air and cleaner stormwater runoff.
"It will make the road environment much better for all users," he said.
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun