Feeling cooped up?
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) has a safe – and healthy – way to get people moving: Walktober.
The monthlong celebration of walking, the state’s official exercise, features a series of activities and virtual webinars, as well as the sixth annual Walk Maryland Day on October 7. MDOT is partnering with other state and local agencies, nonprofits and communities across the state for Walktober.
MDOT is also hosting a website, mdot.maryland.gov/walktober, with information about Walktober and Walk Maryland Day, as well as registration for the four, 90-minute webinars, called “walkinars.”
“The walkability of our communities is a critical component to Maryland’s transportation mission,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “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.”
On Walk Maryland Day, walk leaders across the state will help guide registered walks following COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing and face-covering requirements.
Participants can register for walks at locations of their choice, alone or with other registered partners. Marylanders who register to join one the official walks are known as “Sole Mates.”
The four walkinars, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursdays in October, are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents. Panelists will share resources to help strengthen and sustain partnerships, and discuss new tools and technologies used across the country to promote pedestrian access and safety.
Here’s more information on the walkinars:
- Oct. 1: “What Can We Do?”
Panelists will discuss key resources and initiatives at the state and national level to promote pedestrian safety, access and wellness. Participants include Marty Baker, deputy director of bicycle and pedestrian planning for MDOT; Danielle Arigoni, director of AARP Livable Communities; and Ian Thomas, state and local program director for the nonprofit America Walks.
- Oct. 15: “Pedestrian Infrastructure, Safety and Health.”
This webinar highlights MDOT’s pedestrian safety initiatives, as well as the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) efforts to encourage people of all ages and abilities to make walking part of a wellness plan. Panelists include Jeff Dunckel, pedestrian-bicycle safety program manager for the MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration’s Maryland Highway Safety Office (MVA MHSO); Kandese Holford, regional planner for Montgomery and Frederick counties at the MDOT State Highway Administration; and Olubukola Alongea, program team manager for the MDH’s Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.
- Oct. 22: “New Trends and Technologies to Support Walkability and Walking”
This talk focuses on tools and technologies that can help communities develop safe infrastructure and identify target areas for access improvements. Panelists are Hank Greenberg, director of AARP Maryland; Anat Caspi, principal scientist at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering and director of the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology; Victor Juan Rodriguez, chief executive officer of WaBu; and Dan Hudson, trail planner for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
- Oct: 29, “Walking the Walk of Maryland’s Pedestrian Agenda.”
Panelists will discuss actions being taken across Maryland to integrate walking into residents’ daily lives and commutes. Panelists include Cara Rozaieski, director of prevention and healthy communications at the Wicomico County Health Department; Tracey Greene Gordy, senior regional planner at the Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office for the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP); Sandra Brecher, chief of commuter services for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Office of Transportation Policy; and Chris Eatough, bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Howard County Office of Transportation.
In addition to various MDOT units, MDH, DNR, MDP, AARP Maryland, America Walks and agencies in Montgomery, Howard, Harford and Wicomico counties, other agencies and nonprofits participating in Walktober include the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Department of Parks and Recreation, Maryland Department of Commerce, the University of Maryland Extension, Horizon Foundation and Garrett Trails.