Walking is an activity that many of us take for granted. But as pedestrian accident rates continue to rise and access to safe pedestrian spaces is diminished, communities are recognizing that walking — and improving the walkability of our neighborhoods — requires public attention and action.
Throughout October, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), in coordination with a several state agencies and other partners, will sponsor a series of 90-minute webinars, or Walkinars, to highlight how we can collectively rally around walking, an activity that is both central to the state’s Active Transportation efforts and a critical component promoting public well-being.
In fact, walking is recognized as The State of Maryland’s Official State Exercise.
The Walktober Walkinar series, hosted by the Maryland Department of Planning, will help planners, local officials, pedestrian advocates and the public at large learn how to advocate for safe walking infrastructure. Panelists will identify key resources to build, strengthen and sustain local partnerships and share new tools and technologies being used across the country to identify and plan for pedestrian-accessible routes for all ages and abilities.
All webinars will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursdays. See the specific dates below.
These walkinars provide American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) with 1.5 Certification Maintenance (CM) credits to maintain their certification. Please note, to receive AICP credit you must attend the live broadcast.
Walkinar #1: What can we do to advance walking and walkability?
Thursday, October 1, 2020
MDOT Secretary Greg Slater will kick off and introduce the series, as Danielle Arigoni, Ian Thomas and Marty Baker identify trends and resources that support walking and walkability in Maryland. They will share insights about advocating for pedestrian safety and establishing walk programs for all ages, as well as explain how you can work to improve walking opportunities in your community.
Director of Livable Communities
AARP Livable Communities program supports communities and states across the country take action to ensure that there are great places to live for people of all ages. The AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities currently includes nearly 500 communities and several states. Learn how AARP resources can support your efforts and those of your community to improve housing, transportation, public space and more.
Ian Thomas, PhD
State and Local Program Director
Ian Thomas is the State and Local Program Director with America Walks. In this role, he develops and delivers education programs for advocates, professionals, and elected officials, about the benefits of walkable communities and strategies to create them.
From 2000 until 2013, Ian served as the founding Executive Director of the PedNet Coalition of Columbia, MO. During this time, he developed one of the largest Walking School Bus programs in the country, coordinated a campaign that led to Columbia adopting the first "complete streets' policy in Missouri, and was instrumental in reducing neighborhood speed limits.
In 2013 and again in 2016 and 2019, Ian won election to the Columbia City Council, where he continues to advance healthy and walkable community policies. He is a member of Smart Growth America's Local Leaders Council and the National League of Cities' Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Deputy Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning
Maryland Department of Transportation, Office of Planning and Capital Programming
This presentation will speak to the many ways MDOT has been working with partners to expand on partnerships and develop a stronger platform from which to promote walkability at the local level, as well as clarify MDOT’s objectives to expand the understanding of key issues faced by pedestrians in Maryland and to understand how locals interpret and seek to address an emerging emphasis on “walkability” as key to their reinvestment and community development strategy.
Walkinar #2: Pedestrian Infrastructure, Safety, and Health
Thursday, October 15, 2020
MDOT Secretary will kick off the second webinar in our series of four with a brief introduction, followed by this week’s featured speakers Jeff Dunckel, Dr. Olubukola (Buki) Alonge and Kandese Holford who will examine trends in pedestrian safety in Maryland. They will discuss the major efforts underway across the state to recognize the importance of walking and walkability and explain how improving pedestrian connectivity supports public health and safety.
Pedestrian – Bicycle Safety Program Manager
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, Highway Safety Office
Maryland Highway Safety Office – Pedestrian-Bicycle Safety Programs. Through the implementation of the Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan, crash data and the geo-spatial analysis of that data is used to target engineering, education, and enforcement countermeasures that can eliminate pedestrian fatal and serious injury collisions. Region-wide public safety campaigns educate drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists about the safe use of Maryland’s roadways in the Baltimore and the District of Columbia metropolitan areas and suburbs. The Baltimore Look Alive Campaign and the Washington Street Smart Campaign work to raise awareness about pedestrian and bicycle safety and highlight enforcement of the laws that protect people while walking and biking.
Olubukola (Buki) Alonge, MD, MPH
Program Team Manager for the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control
Maryland Department of Health
Dr. Olubukola (Buki) Alonge is the Program Team Manager for the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control at the Maryland Department of Health. In this role, she oversees several federal grants. Her expertise as a physician and her many years of work with the State Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities provides her with the skill set to lead several chronic disease prevention and management programs.
Dr. Alonge has a medical degree from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, West Africa and holds a Master’s in Public Health degree from Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. She resides in White Marsh, Maryland with her husband and two children.
Regional Planner, Montgomery and Frederick Counties
Maryland State Highway Administration
Safety for all users is Maryland Department of Transportation’s top priority. As part of ensuring safety for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, MDOT State Highway Administration (SHA) is implementing its “Context Driven – Access and Mobility for All Users” guide that focuses MDOT SHA on creating a safe, accessible, and balanced multimodal transportation system for everyone on State facilities. The presentation will demonstrate a core tenet reestablished in this guide: the need to appropriately balance accessibility and mobility.
Walkinar #3: New Trends and Technologies to Support Walkability and Walking
Thursday, October 22, 2020
The third of four in our series for Walktober, will begin with a brief introduction from MDOT Secretary Greg Slater and will feature special guests Hank Greenberg, Anat Caspi and Dan Hudson who will identify several recent technical innovations and tools that help local communities identify pedestrian-accessible routes, facilitate pedestrian partnerships and support walk equity.
Principal Scientist, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering
Director, the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology
Attendees will learn about the use of OpenSidewalks in three communities: Seattle, Bellingham and Mt. Vernon. The talk discusses the important role of GIS and data-driven information technologies in providing equitable access to mobility and transportation for a changing, unequal, ageing demographic.
Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Park Service
More than ever in 2020, people want to stretch their legs and find somewhere new to walk. But where? This presentation will review online resources to learn about trails at Maryland State Parks and other State Lands. We will also review third-party online resources and phone apps to help show the way. Perhaps you'll find there are new walks right under your nose in your own backyard!
Maryland State Director
Hank Greenberg is the Maryland State Director for AARP where access to quality, affordable healthcare is a priority for its membership of over 860,000 throughout the state. Hank joined AARP in 2007 following a career in public service as the Director for Government Relations for the Maryland Attorney General's Office. As AARP State Director since 2011, he leads an award winning team of professionals who advocate for retirement security, health care, affordable prescription drugs, reforms in long term care as well as strengthening Social Security and Medicare. The AARP Maryland team is augmented by an outstanding volunteer led Executive Council, and 500+ volunteers who actively engage in communities to support family caregivers; fight for affordable and reliable utilities; make it possible for people to age at home; provide ‘fun with purpose’ through virtual engagement during the pandemic; and work with communities enrolled in the AARP/WHO Network of Age Friendly Communities.
Walkinar #4: Maryland Community Walk Initiatives “Walking the Walk of Maryland’s Pedestrian Agenda”
Thursday, October 29, 2020
This fourth and final Walktober webinar includes welcome remarks from MDOT Secretary Greg Slater and session will share information about the many local walk initiatives in Maryland, how they function and how other communities can learn from their successes. Cara Rozaieski, Tracey Greene Gordy, Sandra Brecher and Chris Eatough will also share what local communities are doing to inspire new thinking and action and get more people walking in Maryland.
Director of Prevention and Healthy Communications
Wicomico County Health Department
Tracey Greene Gordy
Senior Regional Planner
Maryland Department of Planning, Lower Eastern Shore Regional Office
This workshop will introduce participants to WalkWicomico; a coalition of community and governmental partners in Wicomico County, Maryland that collectively works to encourage people to walk by improving walking conditions, providing walking resources, and increasing opportunities to walk. Speakers will provide an overview of the coalition’s mission, structure, goals, and funding; and highlight organizational successes and challenges, from its inception in 2015 to present.
Chief Commuter Services
Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Office of Transportation Policy
Walk & Ride Challenge - will discuss Montgomery County’s “Walk & Ride Challenge,” one of the campaigns used by Transportation Management Districts to educate and engage employers and employees about alternatives to driving alone to work. The underlying goal is for employees to learn how they can include walking in their commute, in combination with transit, car/vanpool, or other “ride” modes – or by walking to/from work. The campaign encourages them to incorporate this healthy component into their daily routine, while at the same time helping achieve TMD and community goals.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
Howard County Department of Transportation
Walk Howard’s presentation will include an overview of the WalkHoward plan, providing an insight into the next phase of implementation as Howard County strives to increase walkability and quality of life through the use of online interactive tools for public engagement, project Prioritization Methodology, and grouping of improvements into structured projects.