I have been thinking about the recently released downtown Columbia traffic study, and specifically how to mitigate increased traffic. My focus has been on little things; things that can be done for a moderate cost, in a short term time frame, and would provide at least the promise of a reduction in traffic.
That being said, I believe the volume of people coming into and out of downtown will continue to increase. The key here is to move some from cars to other means of transportation. One way that I believe we can get more cars out of downtown is to install bicycle racks (or even possibly bicycle lockers) adjacent to every bus shelter in the county. This would extend the effective range of people that could easily access bus shelters and the Howard Transit bus routes. Even using my tired old Diamond Back mountain bike, I can reduce a half-hour walk to under ten minutes. If a bus line is within ten minutes of any residence, the convenience of the bus system becomes greater. The greater the convenience, the more potential riders.
This is just one small project that can increase mass transportation use. The cost is relatively small and the program can be implemented fairly quickly. Taking these small steps now will help us transition from being the most car dependent locality (see Total Annual Vehicle Miles) in Maryland to a community that provides a variety of means of travel in the County.