Bike Beltway

The proposed "Bike Beltway" around Towson, highlighted in blue. Future proposed extensions are highlighted in the dashed blue line. (May 9, 2012)

A proposal for a Towson Bike Beltway is one of 28 projects awarded funding this week through the Maryland Bikeways Program. The announcement was made July 24 through the office of Gov.Martin O'Malley.

"I think this will really improve mobility in central Towson, and it's a good start as we try to make Baltimore County more bicycle friendly," said 5th District Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson.

"This isn't a cure-all for congestion in Towson, but I think it helps," he said. "We just don't have a lot of additional space to add more roadways. This just maximizes the road we already have."

According to a list of approved projects, the Bike Beltway will receive a $100,000 grant, with a 20 percent county match.

The project proposal was submitted by the 5th District Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, which Marks formed.

Under the proposal, bike lanes and "sharows" — which encourage drivers to share the road with cyclist — will be painted on the roadways involved, and road signs will be put along the route that circles downtown Towson.

The loop includes Towson University on West Towsontown Boulevard, and extends east on Hillen Road to the Towson Place shopping center, then north up Goucher Boulevard to Goucher College. It continues up Fairmount Avenue, then turns south down Bosley back to Towson University.

In recent weeks, Towson University President Maravene Loeschke and the Greater Towson Committee submitted letters of support for the project to the state Department of Transportation. Marks also acknowledged the support of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the DOT.

"These grants will help local jurisdictions build key connections that make bicycling a true transportation option," O'Malley said in a news release. "Bicycling is a win-win for all of us by helping us learn to enjoy more of Maryland's natural treasures, reducing the impact on the land, improving our fitness and well-being and enhancing our quality of life."