A critical and difficult link between the B&A and Broadneck Trails know as “Broadneck Trail Phase IV” in the Anne Arundel County planning documents has been completed. When the Broadneck Trail is finished (three of five sections or phases have been completed), this connection will enable people to safely cross Maryland Route 2 (Ritchie Highway) and reach Sandy Point State Park from Annapolis and northern Anne Arundel County by bicycle. Begun in 2014 and finished in 2020, this was BikeAAA’s first foray into advocating for specific infrastructure for recreation and transportation.
Trail development where there is no existing right of way such as an old rail alignment happens in pieces over long periods of time as advocacy takes place and funding become available. The Broadneck trail is no exception. The 1999 Master Plan for the Broadneck Peninsula Trail was developed following the wildly successful construction of the B&A trail earlier in the decade to replicate this success on the peninsula. To date, there are two existing pieces of the Broadneck Trail completed (roughly between Cape St. Claire Rd and Bay Dale Dr.) and are used by local residents, but are unconnected with the rest of the county trail network.
After BikeAAA was founded in 2013, we met with the county executive to discuss initiating various bicycle infrastructure projects in conjunction with the Bicycle Friendly Community initiative. This crossing of Rt 2 was identified as a high priority given the proximity of Anne Arundel Community College. In 2016, a study of various Rt 2 bridge crossings was conducted but was deemed too expensive, so the focus shifted back to an at-grade crossing. The county received a Maryland Bikeways grant to fund the project through design in 2017 and subsequently allocated construction money in the capital plan. BikeAAA played a large role in the early conceptual plans with on the ground scouting, pictures and ideas as we are subject matter experts. This was especially important because this was prior to the county having a dedicated bike/ped coordinator. All things considered, when the dust settled, we ended up with essentially what was proposed in the 1999 Master Plan:
constructed up to currently accepted standards. It is not only for bikes, but greatly improves pedestrian access too. The design and implementation teams did a great job and we are very pleased with the result. The trail spur along Jones Station Rd next to the Park and Ride lot was particularly tricky with sidewalks, parking spaces and a transit stop but it fits in well. While a grade-separated crossing of Rt 2 (ie a bridge or tunnel) is always lower stress, it is many times more expensive. Ultimately the implementation of the at-grade crossing is safe and cost effective and allows for additional projects to be completed. The rest of the Broadneck Trail is funded and within the next few years, you will be able to ride safely all the way to Sandy Point State Park.
Many thanks to the Anne Arundel County organizations that have a hand in the funding, design and execution of these projects: Office of Transportation, Recreation and Parks, Department of Public Works as well as state partners Maryland State Highway Administration and Maryland Transit Administration.
And as a teaser for an upcoming announcement, we are now advancing a vision for a complete interconnected Anne Arundel County Trail Network to connect Annapolis, Odenton, Glen Burnie, Severna Park and other areas with connections to the Capital Trails Network and the Baltimore Greenway. We are advocating for connections to close a variety of gaps just as we did here.
Take a virtual ride down the spur:
And view various images of the sections along the spur: