Planning in Progress
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), is launching the Maryland Walkability Virtual Academy (Maryland WVA). The Maryland WVA is designed to prepare interdisciplinary teams from Maryland communities to pursue policy, systems, and environmental supports for walking and walkability.
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.
Planning Assistance in Action
Bipedalism (the ability to walk on two feet) is a core, if not the core, human characteristic. It allowed us to carry supplies and loved ones, and honed our hunting abilities. Millenia of community construction unfolded along the path of our feet, and this influence persists. Walkability is a common term in a planner’s vocabulary, an oft-cited goal in comprehensive plans, and a physical aspect of our communities attracting local families and tourists to Maryland’s streamside paths and main streets. We are comfortable addressing walkability objectives using design, land use, and infrastructure. Complete streets and shorter blocks draw pedestrians into engaging strolls along the sidewalk. An integrated mix of residential, commercial, employment, and entertainment uses make that short walk much more appealing, not to mention convenient. Traffic calming measures and pedestrian-centric intersections mute the threat posed by person and vehicle interaction. These are and will remain proven and effective planning strategies enhancing walkability. But what if the people never show up? What good is a wide sidewalk, or even better, one with outdoor seating at your favorite restaurant on a bright spring afternoon, if no one is there to use it? Planners can’t neglect the biggest part of the walkability equation – the walkers. Continue reading