Where can you live in Anne Arundel County without daily use of a car? Can your kids safely walk to school? Can you bike to work? Walk or bike to the grocery store, train station, park or doctor’s office?
Bicycle Advocates for Annapolis & Anne Arundel County (“BikeAAA”) has developed a vision and a new website (www.annearundeltrailnetwork.org) for a network of paved trails that will equitably connect residential, employment, education, recreation, cultural and natural areas within the county and to the greater Washington and Baltimore trail networks. The trail network will transform public life by providing healthy, low-stress access to open space and safe active transportation and recreation for people of all ages and abilities. Anne Arundel County has several existing trails including the B&A Trail, WB&A Trail and BWI Trail that are popular with residents and visitors as well as new trails underway like the Broadneck Trail and South Shore Trail. The City of Annapolis has several smaller trails like the Poplar Trail, Spa Creek Trail and the USNA Stadium loop. The vision for the Anne Arundel Trail Network (“AATN”) knits these together and identifies critical gaps that join individual trails into a network. The AATN provides transportation, recreation and fitness opportunities for people of all ages and abilities on foot or on wheels. It also provides regional connections to the Capital Trails Network in the greater DC area and the Baltimore Greenway and is part of national networks including the East Coast Greenway, Sept 11 Memorial Trail, American Discovery Trail and Grand History Trail.
The AATN consists of a continuous trail “hub” around the denser northern half of the county, ”spokes” radiating north, east, south and west and dozens of smaller “community connectors” that access neighborhoods, schools, parks, libraries, shopping, employment, transit, cultural and other destinations. The trail network connects our town centers including Annapolis, Parole, Odenton and Glen Burnie as well as key destinations such as our colleges (USNA, St. Johns and all 3 AACC campuses); major employment centers including Annapolis, Ft. Meade and the BWI area; shopping such as Arundel Mills, Annapolis Mall & Town Center and Marley Station; and transit including MARC, Light Rail, Amtrak and BWI.
Anne Arundel County’s Move Anne Arundel! strategic transportation plan approved in 2019 calls for a reduction in automobile dependence and more safe walking, biking and transit options as the most effective way to reduce traffic, protect our environment, improve health and make living here more affordable and equitable. The AATN vision support this strategy by providing safe walking and biking connections. The AATN was developed in collaboration with the Anne Arundel County Bicycle Advisory Commission and provides a guide for identifying, prioritizing and funding new trails. A majority of trail construction is funded by federal and state grants and the AATN shows how each new trail segment fits into a larger network. In gap areas, it has been the basis for securing study grants for new trail routes that close the gaps. In the past three years, Anne Arundel County has secured over $10 million in federal and state grants for trail studies, design and construction. BikeAAA’s role is to advocate and provide a holistic view and information clearinghouse for the AATN. The actual responsibility for trail project design, implementation and maintenance remains with county, city and state agencies.
BikeAAA worked with AACPS high school STEM student interns Ryan Lomax and Michael Shutt to develop a website and maps that provide more details and a variety of links to related information sources. Please visit www.annearundeltrailnetwork.org to learn more about the AATN and to find places where you can walk, run, roll, bike, skate or scooter.