New Smartphone App, Signs Make Navigating Columbia’s Pathways Easier

It is now even easier than ever for Columbia residents to enjoy the community’s signature 93.5-mile pathway system.

That’s because Columbia Association (CA) is introducing two new tools for pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists: a smartphone app for iPhone and Android users; and pathway signage, the first of which has been installed between Lake Kittamaqundi and Wilde Lake.

The smartphone app is free and can be downloaded at or by searching your app store for “CA Pathways.” Its map shows pathways, sidewalks, tunnels, playgrounds and tot lots, parks, playing fields, wooded areas, CA facilities, buildings and even golf course fairways.

“Columbia was designed to be a walkable community, to have people walk from homes to village centers and pools. This is a way that we hope will get the community out there and more active,” said Valerie Barnard, CA’s director of sales and marketing.

The digital app, developed at a cost of about $35,000, will help reduce the number of paper maps that CA has made available for years. It also promotes CA amenities and services and provides information about CA facilities, including their history and phone numbers. The app will be updated quarterly, and community members are welcome to provide feedback online at

Meanwhile, 15 signs have been installed between the north side of Wilde Lake and the Downtown Lakefront Plaza at Lake Kittamaqundi, a pilot project that is part of the recommendations put forth by the Connecting Columbia Active Transportation Action Agenda. These signs indicate direction and distance between key points and destinations. The pilot project cost $7,400 for the signs and other materials, and $4,600 for design work and design guidelines that can be used in future phases.

“These signs will encourage people to walk a little farther and to walk more often, all while having comfort in knowing exactly where they are and how to get where they want to go,” said Jan Clark, landscape architect and project manager with CA’s Bureau of Community Building and Sustainability.

More signs will be installed over time in other sections of CA’s pathway system.

“People can use the pathways to bike or walk to visit their friends, to go shopping and to enjoy Columbia’s open space, in addition to using them for exercise,” Clark said. “We hope that people will find these signs easy to read and easy to use without them being overly intrusive on their outdoor experience.”

The community is invited to provide comments and feedback as CA plans for additional pathway signs by sending an email to

About Columbia Association

Columbia Association (CA) is a nonprofit service corporation that manages Columbia, MD, a master planned community that is home to approximately 100,000 people and several thousand businesses. Additional information about CA is available at


1 Comment

Filed under Columbia Association Press Releases, Columbia News, Pathways

One response to “New Smartphone App, Signs Make Navigating Columbia’s Pathways Easier

  1. James W. McClellan III

    Is there a legal or other reason why CA is not promoting crime watch apps? Given the crime that occurs on these paths, a civilian-friendly app like “LiveSafe” would be a great help to law enforcement and provide on-the-street security for civilians. This type of application can send videos immediately to the internet so that even if your phone is taken or smashed, the information would still be accessible on the internet. Howard County uses IWatchHoward, but it is not civilian-on-the-spot ready. On one hand, It is, great for after-the-fact police reporting. On the other hand, Apps like LiveSafe give you quick thumb-touch acessability! By shaking your phone, 911 is called without your having to dial! If it is generally known that Columbians can store in the cloud the faces of people who threaten or commit crimes–real-time–, I suspect that there would be less crime on the streets and paths of Columbia (tunnels? really?). Let us face the realities of growing crime in Columbia and take advantage of this widespread app technology to thwart it.

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