Towson Bike Beltway discussed at public meeting

Thirty Towson residents turned out Monday evening for a public meeting on the proposed Towson Bike Beltway, which would mark 4 miles of downtown Towson roads with signs and bike lanes.

At the Dec. 17 meeting run by Stephen Weber, chief of the Division of Traffic Engineering for Baltimore County, residents were presented the plan and asked for feedback, which Weber said could be implemented after further review.

The path of the beltway, which will be funded by a $100,000 state grant and a $20,000 county match, is already set. Beginning at Fairmount Avenue and Bosley Avenue, the loop will go south on Fairmount and Goucher Boulevard to Towson Place shopping center. From there, the loop will extend west on Hillen Road to West Towsontown Boulevard and up Bosley Avenue up to Fairmount.

The plan presented called for bike lanes to be painted onto each side of the road on Bosley Avenue and Goucher Boulevard, with a lane added on one side of Hillen Road.

The project will not take away any driving lanes, Weber said, though the berths of those lanes will be narrowed to accommodate the bike lanes.

The loss of the wide lanes on Goucher Boulevard was a concern for one resident who lives there and said that with the street-side parking and the bike lane, it could be dangerous getting into her driveway.

On all the other stretches of the beltway, Weber said the initial plan was to simply install "Share the Road" signs to inform motorists that they would frequently encounter bikes. But residents pushed for "sharows," — or a "share-the-road arrow" — which are painted on the street and make it even more apparent that drivers should share the road.

Weber said the sharows would be taken into consideration, and the 5th District Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, made up of 5th District citizens would likely be briefed before the plan is finalized.

Allysha Lorber, co-chair of that committee, said she's excited for the project to finally begin.

"It's something that is long overdue in Towson, and it really is just going to be the first step to more improvements in the community down the road," Lorber said.

"I want to make Towson one of the most pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly communities in Baltimore County," Councilman David Marks, who represents the 5th District including Towson, said. "I'm open to suggestions for improving mobility, but we just don't have any more places to put roads, so we have to think outside the box."

Proponents are hopeful that the Bike Beltway will be installed by next summer.

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