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 take place every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Eastern. See the specific details 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.
Click here for previous Walkinars
Walkinar #1: Taking Fresh Steps toward a more walk-friendly Maryland.
Thursday, October 7, 2021
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 mobility and 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
FHWA - STEP Program
The FHWA Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program, an innovation of Every Day Counts, began in 2017 with a goal of helping State and local agencies reduce pedestrian fatalities at roadway crossings. the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has outlined recommendations aimed at drastically reducing pedestrian fatalities in its Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program. Part of the Every Day Counts (EDC) safety initiative, STEP was created to promote several countermeasures – dubbed the Spectacular Seven – with known pedestrian safety benefits.
Principal Scientist, The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering Director, the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology
Attendees will learn about the new Data Equity Project in three communities: Washington State, Oregon and Maryland. 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.
Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia
We are constantly promised high-tech mobility “solutions,” if only we will pay the price and wait for the tech wizards to deliver. But in mobility, we don’t have to wait. We already have everything we need. Walking is the affordable, healthful, equitable, and sustainable mobility mode that high-tech vehicles can only promise to be. We all supposedly prefer to drive, but in a world rebuilt for cars, driving is less a choice than a burdensome necessity. But the good news is that it’s far easier to make walking practical again than to make car dependency work. We can best begin by renormalizing walking.
Walkinar #2: Pedestrian Health
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Learn about 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
Michael B. Friedman
AARP - Mental Health
As an active mental health advocate who volunteers as Chair of the Brain and Behavioral Health Advocacy Team of AARP of Maryland, Mr. Friedman will explore walking and the effects on mental health.
Olubukola (Buki) Alonge, MD, MPH
Program Team Manager for the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control
Maryland Department of Health
“Health Benefits of Physical Activity (Walking)” promotes the recognition of walking as a form of physical activity, which provides measurable health benefits. After this presentation, you will be able to identify walking initiatives from the Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Maryland Department of Health.
Dr. David Sabgir, MD
FACC Founder, CEO, Board President, Cardiologist - WALK WITH A DOC
Walk with a Doc was started in 2005 by Dr. David Sabgir, a cardiologist in Columbus, Ohio. Frustrated with his inability to affect behavior change in the clinical setting, Dr. Sabgir invited his patients to go for a walk with him in a local park on a spring Saturday morning. To his surprise, over 100 people showed up, energized and ready to move.
Walkinar #3: Pedestrian Planning & Enforcement
Thursday, October 21, 2021
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 how 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
Sgt. Tom Morehouse
After noticing a rise in fatal and serious injury crashes involving pedestrians, the Baltimore County Police Department went into action to address the problem. The Department’s Traffic Management Unit and Traffic Training Team worked in partnership with the Maryland Highway Safety Office to use the LETEP principles of the 4Es to address the problem. The Traffic Training Team and the Maryland Highway Safety Office put together training that educated officers on traffic laws designed to protect pedestrians and how to set up a proper and safe enforcement detail. The Traffic Management Unit identified the problem roadways, secured grant funding for the details, and scheduled the officers for those details. This partnership resulted in a decrease of pedestrian crashes throughout the county and produced a result of 0 pedestrian crashes in the specific detail areas.
Pedestrian Safety & Context Sensitive Design
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) is a year-long initiative to develop strategies and prioritize needs and improvements using safety data, public input, and expert analysis to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety along state roadways. The PSAP is part of MDOT SHA’s overarching Context Driven framework. The presentation will provide an update on MDOT SHA’s PSAP and the larger Context Driven effort over the last year.
M-NCPPC - Pedestrian Level of Comfort
The Pedestrian Level of Comfort (PLOC) is an approach to understanding the relative comfort levels of sidewalks, trails, and crossings. This approach will sound familiar to people who have interacted with the Bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) methodology. In fact, the PMP team developed the PLOC methodology after successfully using the LTS approach as part of the 2018 Countywide Bicycle Master Plan.
The Pedestrian Safety Crisis in America: Why it's happening and what we can do about it, with author Angie Schmitt.
More than 6,000 pedestrians are getting killed every year on American streets, representing an enormous 50 percent increase from the first part of the decade. Angie Schmitt, the author of the new book Right of Way: Race, Class and the Silent Crisis of Pedestrian Deaths in America will talk about the social trends that are putting people at risk. And why fundamentally, it is a problem of systematic, structural inequality.
Walkinar #4: Maryland Walk Programs
Thursday, October 28, 2021
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
Carrie will provide an overview of the Story Path program. Story Path is a physical activity and early literacy initiative created in partnership with LiveWell Frederick. Carrie will describe how the program was planned, delivered, and the response from the community so far.
Made You Look
In Baltimore City in 2017 there was one crash every 30 minutes, one traffic-related injury every hour, and one traffic-related fatality every week. Since 2018, Vilde Ulset and Quinton Batts have been working closely with community partners and the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office to implement the following interventions for pedestrian and bicyclist safety: Art in the Right of Way Toolkit - The Art in the Right of Way (ROWArt) Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for Baltimore communities that want to install traffic calming art in their neighborhoods. The Toolkit, created in collaboration with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation Community Programs, gives directions for how to create and implement Art in the Right of Way in Baltimore City.
The Vice President & Account Director at Sherry Matthews Group based in Austin, Texas will share the development of the LOOK ALIVE campaign which started in early 2019 through its launch in June and over the fall/winter. The campaign began as two video-spots featuring signal woman – a personification of the walk signal – and conveyed messages to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The 2020 campaign included media pitches for law enforcement activations in November that garnered significant media coverage including a WBAL feature with BMC Executive Director Mike Kelly.