‘Walktober’ Events Promote Walking and Pedestrian Safety in Montgomery County Throughout October

by Patrick Herron

“Walking is healthy, good for our environment and is a great way to get out and see Montgomery County in the fall,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Montgomery County is home to numerous ​cherished walking trails such as the C&O Canal, Black Hills Regional Park trails and the Matthew Henson Trail. ​Walktober is a great reminder for residents and visitors to explore these and other locations around the County, dine at some of our wonderful restaurants and plan a visit to a local farm for apple or pumpkin picking.”

MCDOT will be hosting a series of outreach events throughout the County designed to highlight the importance of walking. Walktober events will include:

  • Walk to School Day. The internationally recognized event will be held Wednesday, Oct. 12. The MCDOT Safe Routes to School (SRTS) team will be at Wheaton Woods Elementary School to promote biking and pedestrian safety and encourage all students who have a safe path and live near their elementary school to walk to school on this date. Find information on setting up a Walk to School Day event at your school here.
  • Pedestrian Safety Outreach. The SRTS team will be at various locations throughout the month to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety and talk with residents about recent safety improvements, including infrastructure projects and pedestrian hybrid beacons. View details on the calendar here.
  • Walk Maryland Day. On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Marylanders are encouraged to participate in registered walks. Residents can become Walk Maryland Day “Sole Mates” by joining one of the official walks across the State

MCDOT aims to improve walkability by making improvements in pedestrian safety so that walkers and bikers get to their destinations safely.

“Walktober is a good time to take stock of the importance of the work we do,” said MCDOT Director Chris Conklin. “We have completed an analysis of sidewalk gaps around our public schools and are developing a school sidewalk prioritization program. We have also received multiple grants to support pedestrian focused infrastructure projects. We know there is still a lot of work to be done and we look forward to working with the County Executive, County Councilmembers and our residents to make sure that pedestrian safety improvements remain a priority.”

MCDOT was recently awarded the Kim Lamphier Bikeways grant for advancing the design of the Bethesda Trolley Trail connection to the Twinbrook Metrorail station. Funding from the Transportation Planning Board also was granted for the design of the Walter Johnson Road shared-use path connection to the Germantown MARC station as part of the Transit Within Reach program.

“We are focused on community engagement,” said Director Conklin. “Programs like our bike rodeos, where we distributed over 300 free bike helmets to elementary school kids, and the ‘Vision Zero Ambassadors’ program, where we mentored 30 local teens to create real-world traffic safety projects, work to educate our youth in a fun and engaging way.”

MCDOT routinely does outreach to educate on new infrastructure projects. In the County’s Fiscal Year 2022, the Pedestrian Safety team engaged more than 40,000 residents and students about pedestrian, bicycle and driver safety behaviors and introduced them to new beacons, sidewalk improvements and traffic calming measures.

Walktober partners include MCDOT, the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of Health, the Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Planning, AARP Maryland, America Walks and jurisdictions and organizations across Maryland.

For more information on MCDOT programs and services visit montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to MCDOT’s “Go Montgomery!” newsletter.

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