The county started working on the plan in June and estimates it will be completed in June 2013, when it will be presented to the County Council.

Because it is still early in the process, specific roads and paths have not yet been targeted. But a large emphasis will be placed on creating connections between existing transportation systems.

For instance, Cookson said, county planners are looking at Stevens Forest Road in Columbia, which intersects with multiple pathways.

Cookson said the county's goal is to look at bike planning in a systematic way. It will look at county roads, state roads and path systems maintained by the Columbia Association and other entities.

Each roadway will be examined to figure out the best way to promote bicycling. Bicyclists could be directed to low-volume, low-speed streets, or existing roads could be made more bicycle-friendly by adding shared lane markings, creating bike lanes buffered by parking, or creating climbing lanes on hills where bicyclists would be going slower.

"Everybody seems very excited when they hear about it," Cookson said. "Nationwide, cycling as transportation is increasing in all different areas."

More information on the plan is available at bikehoward.com.



Public outreach meetings



•Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Miller branch library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City

ct. 3, 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m, East Columbia branch library, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia

•Oct. 24, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Road, Building 1, Parsons Auditorium, Laurel

•Nov. 7, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Glenwood branch library, 2350 State Route 97, Cooksville

Meetings in the Elkridge and North Laurel areas are planned for November, but details have not yet been released.