When the Baltimore County Planning Board meets this afternoon to talk about the Western County Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Plan, the discussion will include a proposed two-mile walking loop connecting Arbutus and Halethorpe that is more amenable to pedestrians.
The calling for 665 miles of improvements and additions to western roads and paths to make them friendlier to pedestrians and bicycles.
At the March meeting of Halethorpe Improvement Association, president Mike McAuliffe described the walking loop as it as been proposed in collaboration with leaders from other community associations.
The route of the walking loop follows Oregon Drive to the Francis Avenue Bridge, over the bridge to Potomac Avenue, up and around Waelchli Avenue to Sulphur Spring, and back to Oregon.
The loop would make it easier for residents of the neighboring communities to walk back and forth, McAullife said.
The route also connects key locations in the communities, including the business centers of Arbutus and Halethorpe, community flag poles and welcoming signs, and the MARC Halethorpe Station under construction on Southwestern Boulevard.
"It's going to be a nice looking station," McAuliffe said. "We'd like to be able to walk to it without being hit by a car."
Several problems are obstacles to implementing the walking route, including sections of the route that are encroached with overgrown foliage, and portions of sidewalk that are deteriorating or missing.
Two areas of the loop are afflicted with chronic puddling of muddy water. Beneath the I-95 overpass, the sidealk of Oregon Drive is constantly wet with water from an unknown source.
Another perennial puddle is on Sulphur Spring Road beneath the railroad overpass, which according to officials is being investigated by county crews and Amtrak.
"With all these problems, walking isn't very inviting," McAuliffe said. "There are a lot of nice areas to walk. We'd just like to fix the broken areas."
Councilman Tom Quirk said that the Halethorpe-Arbutus walking loop will be included in the county Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Plan.