Maryland Celebrates Walktober 2021 with a New Series of ‘Walkinars’  

Planning in Progress 

We introduced Walktober 2021 in our August 6 edition of Planning Practice Monthly, and we now have more to share!

Walking is an activity that’s part of daily life for many Marylanders and is recognized as a healthy transportation choice. In fact, walking is Maryland’s official state exercise.  

But with issues of pedestrian safety and access, many communities recognize walking and improving the walkability of our neighborhoods are goals that require public attention and action.  

Join us for Maryland’s second annual WALKTOBER, a month-long initiative where the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and partnering agencies will promote and host events and webinars spotlighting Maryland pedestrian safety, health, and commuting options in current walk programs and initiatives.

Throughout October, working in coordination with several state agencies and other partners, MDOT will share informational resources and a series of free webinars – or Walkinars – that are open to all. The month also includes Walk Maryland Day on October 6, a celebration that encourages all Marylanders to step out to enjoy walking or some other form of physical activity. 

The Walkinar series is tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners, and residents. These free, 90-minute Walkinars highlight how we can collectively rally around walking, an activity that is both central to the state’s active transportation efforts and a critical strategy to promote public health and well-being.  

The Walktober Walkinar series, hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning, will help planners, local officials, and the public at large learn how to advocate for safe walking infrastructure. Walkinar panelists will highlight pedestrian-focused topics such as safety, health, infrastructure, and enforcement, as well as successful pedestrian programs throughout the State.  

Participants in each Walkinar are eligible to receive 1.5 Certification Maintenance (CM) credits from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) to support their professional planning certification if they attend the live program. 

Taking Fresh Steps Toward a More Walk-Friendly Maryland – Thursday, October 7, 10:30 a.m., EDT 

The Walktober Walkinar 2021 series kicks off with a look at national efforts on walkability, including how pedestrian infrastructure has evolved, and some of the key challenges that pedestrians are facing across the country.  

Timothy Taylor of the Federal Highway Administration will share details of the agency’s Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program, which was established in response to the growing number of pedestrian crashes on America’s roadways. 

Anat Caspi, who leads the University of Washington’s Data Equity Project, will share advances in building equitable data frameworks to improve inclusive access for all pedestrians. And Peter Norton of the University of Virginia will look at the history and future of sustainable mobility and the social dimensions of transportation engineering.  

Panelists: 

  • Timothy Taylor, Federal Highway Administration, STEP Program 
  • Peter Norton, Associate Professor, University of Virginia, Department of Engineering and Society 
  • Anat Caspi, Director, Taskar Center for Accessible Technology, University of Washington, Data Equity Project 

Walking Toward a Healthier Maryland  – Thursday, October 14, 10:30 a.m., EDT 

Learn how walking can become a core component of more healthy living. In a recent customer survey, MDOT learned that although few Marylanders can walk to work, those who do cite health benefits as their primary motivation. Whether it is a quick trip to a local destination, a sidewalk stroll in a local park, or a hike along one of Maryland’s trails, many groups are working to provide safe and equitable access to healthy walking opportunities.  

Speakers from AARP, the Maryland Department of Health, and the founder of Walk with a Doc will discuss how to develop and deliver innovative planning and programming to support healthy walk activities.   

Panelists: 

  • Michael B. Friedman, AARP 
  • Olubukola Alonge, MD, MPH, Maryland Department of Health 
  • Dr. David Sabgir, MD, Cardiologist and Founder of Walk with a Doc 

Pedestrian Safety: Trends, Measures, and Solutions – Thursday, October 21, 10:30 a.m., EDT 

This Walkinar will examine a broad range of issues related to pedestrian safety, including planning, equity, and enforcement. This will include discussion of recent efforts to calculate a “Pedestrian Level of Comfort” in Montgomery County, and efforts on behalf of MDOT’s State Highway Administration to ensure that roadway design features reflect user needs and respond to land use contexts.   

Panelists will discuss ways to improve how infrastructure is used, and how to cultivate more safe and respectful attitudes and behaviors that reflect the lawful use of shared public spaces. Finally, the session will highlight disturbing trends underpinning America’s crisis in pedestrian safety – and discuss the critical theme of equity in seeking solutions.  

Panelists: 

  • Sgt. Tom Morehouse, Baltimore County Police  
  • Kandese Holford, MDOT SHA, Pedestrian Safety & Context Sensitive Design  
  • Eli Glazier, Multimodal Transportation Planner Coordinator, Montgomery County Planning Department 
  • Angie Schmitt, Author, Right of Way: Race, Class and the Silent Crisis of Pedestrian Deaths in America 

Great Partners and Creative Approaches for Promoting Safe Walk Opportunities – Thursday, October 28, 10:30 a.m., EDT 

The Walkinar series concludes with a look at some of the fun ways that communities are promoting safe walk activities in Maryland.  MDOT will highlight examples from the Made You Look and Look Alive campaigns that have engaged pedestrians in and around Baltimore. Panelists will also hear lessons learned from the successful partnership of the University of Maryland Extension and LiveWell Frederick to launch the Story Path initiative, aimed at expanding participation in walk events by people of all ages.   

Panelists: 

  • Catherine Sorensen, StoryPath, Frederick 
  • Quinton Batts & Vilde Ulset, Made You Look, Baltimore 
  • Kenna Swift, Sherry Matthews Group, Signal Woman 

To learn more these events and partnering agencies, please visit the Walktober, Walk Maryland Day webpage. 

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