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Connect Towson Bike Beltway to nearby parks [Commentary]

Conservation

The Eastern and Western Baltimore County Bike/Pedestrian Plan has recommended the development of on-road bike lanes and off-road shared-use path along Cromwell Bridge Road as a primary spoke off the new Towson Bike Beltway.

This trail would connect the growing bike facility network providing access to parks, schools, neighborhoods and more. A feasibility study would be the first step toward making this trail a reality. The feasibility study would look at possible routes across the landscape, identify ways to avoid and minimize impacts to sensitive environmental features, identify possible enhancements and mitigation measures that will improve the environment and study the potential costs.

Over the past several years, I have been contacted by countless Towson area residents concerning interest in the development of a hiker/biker trail through Cromwell Valley to the vast, yet inaccessible recreational resources within close proximity to Towson.

Such a trail could start as a bike lane along Cromwell Bridge Road, beginning at Providence Road heading north to Loch Raven High school at Cowpens. Then an off-road trail would extend parallel to Cromwell Bridge Road from the high school to connect to an area with many recreational destinations, including Cromwell Valley Park [hiking only], Loch Raven Reservoir and Gunpowder Falls State Park.

This ultimately would connect trail users to Belair Road and beyond. These recreational resources are within close proximity to Towson and are presently disconnected and inaccessible because of the hazardous condition of Cromwell Bridge Road for pedestrians and cyclists.

There is also very little parking available at Loch Raven Reservoir and Gunpowder Falls State Park. Loch Raven High School provides ample parking for evening and weekend hikers, and bikers using this potential trail that simply need a connection to the nearby parks.

The Towson area is going through a transition with many young families moving in. A trail like this would have an extremely positive impact on the quality of life for our neighborhoods by providing a recreational connection to the vast recreational resources so close to our neighborhoods.

As a result, we are encouraging interested individuals to contact us, expressing support regarding a (trail) study for this corridor. Time is of the essence since a small organization with significant influence (Cromwell Valley Park Council) is preparing to vote for or against the study on Nov. 11. Highlighting the wide range of support for the trail study should help move this effort in the right direction, which would be the first step to developing this wonderful recreational opportunity for the Towson region.

For more information, or to join the distribution list for updates concerning this effort, email Cromwell Valley Trail Initiative at cromwellvalleytrail@gmail.com.

Terry Maxwell, member

5th District Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Towson

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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