Maryland DOT Gears up for First Ever ‘Walktober’

As part of the statewide focus on walking, walkable communities, and pedestrian safety, the Maryland Department of Transportation is joining with state and local agencies, nonprofits, and communities to host ‘Walktober’ – a month-long series of activities and four virtual webinars to be held in October.

[Above photo via Wikimedia Commons.]

Those four webinars – or ‘walkinars’ – are 90 minutes long and are being held online encourage safe practices as Maryland continues its COVID-19 recovery. Scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. eastern time on October 1, 15, 22 and 29, the ‘walkinars’ are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents.

Panelists will share resources to help build, strengthen and sustain partnerships, and share new tools and technologies being used across the country to promote pedestrian access and safety. The series is open to all and provides American Institute of Certified Planners with 1.5 certification maintenance credits per session to maintain certification.

Gov. Larry Hogan

“Walking is not only our state exercise, but it’s been an important strategy for Marylanders dealing with the challenges of COVID-19,” said Governor Larry Hogan (R) in a statement. “While many people have been teleworking and following ‘safer-at-home’ advice, they’ve rediscovered walking for health, recreation and overall well-being.”

“The walkability of our communities is a critical component to Maryland’s transportation mission,” said Greg Slater, Maryland DOT secretary. “Events such as Walktober, where we’re bringing different voices to the table, encouraging action and heightening awareness, are important as we work together to improve safety and deliver innovative solutions across Maryland.”

Photo by the Maryland State Police

Meanwhile, as part of a statewide focus to prevent motor vehicle crashes and reduce roadway fatalities, the highway safety office within the Motor Vehicle Administration – a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation – is distributing $11.8 million in state and federal highway safety grants to more than 90 traffic safety-related organizations and law enforcement agencies.

That funding is for the federal fiscal year 2021, which runs from October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021, are allocated based on crash data for each county and/or organization applications, and can only be used for traffic safety initiatives, the agency said.

Maryland DOT’s Slater

“It is unacceptable that we average more than 100,000 crashes statewide each year. One injury or death on our roads is too many,” noted Maryland DOT’s Slater in a statement. “[We are] committed to continuing our work with law enforcement agencies and traffic-safety partners to build a collaborative approach to reach our goal of eliminating motor vehicle crashes and fatalities.”

The agency added that its Vision Zero plan – enacted in 2019 – will guide the implementation of safety programs with the distributed funds. Vision Zero also serves as a blueprint in development of Maryland’s 2021-2025 Strategic Highway Safety Plan; a multi-faceted strategy that seeks to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on state roadways to zero by 2030 by focusing on the “Four E’s” – education, engineering, enforcement and emergency medical services.

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