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Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation to Host “Walktober” to Promote Pedestrian Safety, Access and Health

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has partnered with State and local agencies, nonprofits and communities across Maryland to celebrate “Walktober,” a month-long 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 a series of webinars focusing on pedestrian safety, health and walking a commuting option. Maryland named walking as the official State exercise in October 2008.

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 Walk Maryland Day “Sole Mates” by registering to join one of the official walks at mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Planning/Bike_Walk/Walk_Maryland_Day.html.

Although celebrating and walking together 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 on a panel on Thursday, Oct. 29, 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 Oct. 29.

As part of the statewide focus on walking, walkable communities and pedestrian safety, MCDOT’s Safe Routes to School program is hosting Walking Wednesdays. MCDOT and team partners from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and Montgomery County Public Schools will host Walking Wednesdays at four meal site locations throughout the County. The partners will be joined by mascots Zeal and Sparky to greet the students with Safety Bags filled with giveaways and pedestrian safety materials. Mask and social distance guidelines will be observed at all events.

Walking Wednesdays will be held at:

  • Oct. 7. JoAnn Leleck Elementary School, 710 Beacon Road, Silver Spring.
  • Oct. 14. South Lake Elementary School, 18201 Contour Road, Gaithersburg.
  • Oct. 21. Summit Hall Elementary School, 101 West Deer Park Road, Gaithersburg.
  • Oct. 28. Sargent Shriver Elementary School, 12518 Greenly Street, Silver Spring.

Walking Wednesdays are part of the County’s Vision Zero program to eliminate serious and fatal traffic crashes.

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.

The walkinars, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Thursdays Oct. 15, 22, and 29, are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents. The series includes:

  • 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.

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.

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Release ID: 20-572
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-205-1915