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Montgomery County Department of Transportation partners with Maryland Department of Transportation to Host 'Walktober' to Promote Pedestrian Safety, Access and Health

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has partnered with State and local agencies, nonprofits and communities across Maryland to celebrate “Walktober,” a monthlong series of activities and virtual webinars in October promoting the State’s official exercise: walking. “Walktober” features celebration of the sixth annual Walk Maryland Day on Wednesday, Oct. 7, as well as four webinars focusing on pedestrian safety, health and walking a commuting option.

Maryland named walking as the official State exercise in October 2008.

Although walking would be preferred, the COVID-19 health crisis will have the celebration rely on the webinars – or “walkinars” – rather than in-person events, to encourage safe practices. Residents can sign up for the 90-minute walkinars, which feature local, State and national speakers. Sandra Brecher, MCDOT’s chief of Commuter Services, will participate in the Oct. 29 panel focusing on actions being taken across Maryland to integrate walking into residents’ daily commutes.

MCDOT is also sponsoring its annual Walk & Ride Challenge with nearly 100 employer-based teams in various locations around the County. More information on the initiative will be available at the walkinar on Thursday, Oct. 29.

“We are proud to partner with fellow local and state agencies to promote ‘Walktober,’” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “Most recently, we have worked with our community to expand safe walking and biking opportunities through our Shared Streets program that was developed in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. ‘Walktober’ is a great opportunity to highlight the benefits of walking and to acknowledge what more we can do in Maryland to make walking safer for everyone as we work together to achieve our Vision Zero goals.”

As part of the statewide focus on walking, walkable communities and pedestrian safety, MDOT is hosting a website with information about Walktober and Walk Maryland Day, as well as registration for the webinar series. The site is mdot.maryland.gov/walktober,

Walk Maryland Day on Oct. 7 will encourage Marylanders to spend part of that day taking a walk. Walk leaders across the State will help lead registered walks following COVID-19 protocols, including social distancing and face-covering requirements. Participants also can register for walks at locations of their choice, alone or with other registered partners. Marylanders can become a Walk Maryland Day “Sole Mates” by registering to join one of the official walks at http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Planning/Bike_Walk/Walk_Maryland_Day.html.

The four walkinars, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursdays, Oct. 1, 15, 22 and 29, are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents. Panelists will share resources to help build, strengthen and sustain partnerships. They also will 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 (AICP) with 1.5 Certification Maintenance credits per session to maintain certification.

Walkinar participants will learn about the benefits of walking and walkability, and about a wide range of State and national resources available to improve the safety and access to walking in their communities. The series includes:

  • 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.
  • Oct. 15: “Pedestrian Infrastructure, Safety and Health.” Webinar will highlight MDOT’s pedestrian safety initiatives, as well as Maryland Department of Health (MDH) efforts to encourage people of all ages and abilities to make walking part of a wellness plan.
  • Oct. 22: “New Trends and Technologies to Support Walkability and Walking.” Talk will focus on tools and technologies that can help communities develop safe infrastructure and identify areas to target for access improvements.
  • 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.

In addition to MCDOT and MDOT, partners include the Maryland Department of Health, the Department of Natural Resources; the Maryland Department of Planning; AARP Maryland; America Walks; agencies in Harford, Howard and Wicomico counties; the Baltimore Metropolitan Council; the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission; the Maryland Department of Commerce; the University of Maryland Extension; Horizon Foundation; and Garrett Trails.

For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, subscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

For transportation updates related to COVID-19 health crisis, visit MCDOT’s transportation resource page for COVID-19.

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Release ID: 20-549
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389