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Retrofit Sidewalk Program

In support of legislation aimed at promoting bicycle and pedestrian access, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the State Highway Administration has been placing much more emphasis on walking and bicycling as viable and safe modes of transportation. The incorporation of sidewalks and other pedestrian amenities can facilitate and encourage safe and convenient pedestrian travel within communities and among different land uses. They can provide safe and reasonable access to public transportation and other alternative modes of transportation, thereby enhancing the Department’s and SHA’s vision of multi-modal transportation. To this end, the Department has established the Retrofit Sidewalk Program, administered by the State Highway Administration, to provide funding for the construction of new and the reconstruction of existing sidewalks and pathways.

This program, funded at a maximum of $2,000,000 annually, is aimed at providing or improving safe pedestrian access along state routes in existing communities, especially in the vicinity of schools. The State Highway Administration, working in partnership with counties and local communities identifies and prioritizes a list of proposed sidewalk locations. The guidelines used in the selection of projects include the following:

  • Sidewalks must be along a State Highway
  • The project should demonstrate safety benefits to pedestrians.
  • It should provide or improve mobility for the general and disabled populace.
  • Priority is given to projects that demonstrate that the addition of sidewalks will benefit revitalization by providing access to business, commercial and/or recreational areas that does not currently exist. Projects that are within Smart Growth Areas designated by local governments according to State criteria can be funded totally through this program. Projects not within these designated areas are only funded for 50% of the cost
  • The local jurisdiction should show evidence that they are in support of pedestrian facilities.
  • It should be evident there is either existing or projected pedestrian traffic.
  • The project should have the support of the adjacent local community that will be the potential users of the community.

In the first three years the Retrofit Sidewalk Program has been in place, 170 communities have benefited from this program. This represents a commitment of $4.1 million or 98% of available funding. For fiscal year 1999, which begins July 1, 1998, an additional $2 million has been established to continue SHA’s efforts in this worthwhile program.

For further information regarding this program please contact Dennis German at 410-545-8900.

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