Many of the residents in attendance at a community meeting Wednesday on the comprehensive bicycle plan for Western Baltimore County said they would bike no matter what.
But to encourage more people to bike and walk for commuting or short trips, roads need to be more bike and pedestrian friendly, meeting participants said.
Arbutus resident Brian Towns said he has been cycling for years and feels pretty comfortable on the road. So when he came to the Wednesday night to look at the maps outlining hundreds of road, sidewalk and signage improvements proposed in the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan, he didn't have any major critiques.
"I would just like them to add a little bit more shoulder so I have a little more room," Towns said.
Still, the plan and proposed changes are marked improvements and will hopefully encourage more people to bike and walk, he said.
The eastern portion of the plan was completed in 2006. The western plan includes the southwestern portion of Baltimore County, through Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Hunt Valley and Timonium.
After this final round of community input meetings, the plan will be presented to the Baltimore County Planning Board and ultimately voted on by the Baltimore County Council.
Barbara Kasemeyer, a Catonsville resident who leads bike rides for seniors through Arbutus, Catonsville and for seniors, was among those at the meeting.
While the seniors are more comfortable cycling in a large group, she said that any improvements to road surfaces would make the ride more smooth.
Kasemeyer also said she avoids some roads around Catonsville because they are not as wide or are too congested with traffic.
"If you add a bike lane, people may feel more safe, but you have to educate drivers as well," she said.
Catonsville resident Charlie Murphy, who rode his bike to the meeting, said the bike plan brings Baltimore County closer to what has happened in Baltimore city, where there are dozens of roads with dedicated bike lanes.
What the plan does is create a more comprehensive approach to bike and pedestrian routes, which allows people to do short trips and find ways to get from one area to another, he said.
"One trail is not the answer, you have to build the network," he said.