Walktober In Maryland To Celebrate State’s Official Exercise

MARYLAND — The Maryland Department of Transportation is partnering with state and local agencies, nonprofits and communities across Maryland to host Walktober, a monthlong series of activities and virtual webinars in October promoting the state’s official exercise: walking. Maryland named walking as the official state exercise in October 2008.

Walktober includes the Oct. 7 celebration of the sixth annual Walk Maryland Day, as well as four webinars focusing on pedestrian safety, health and walking as a commuting option. The webinars – or “walkinars” – are being held online, rather than in-person events, to encourage safe practices as Maryland continues recovering from coronavirus. Residents are invited to sign up for the 90-minute walkinars, which feature local, state and national speakers.

“Walking is not only our state exercise, but it’s been an important strategy for Marylanders dealing with the challenges of COVID-19,” said Gov. Larry Hogan. “While many people have been teleworking and following ‘safer-at-home’ advice, they’ve rediscovered walking for health, recreation and overall well-being.”

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

The annual Walk Maryland Day on Oct. 7 encourages Marylanders to spend part of that day taking a walk. Walk leaders across the state will help lead registered walks following coronavirus protocols, including social distancing and face covering requirements. Participants also are invited to register 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 across the state.

The four walkinars, planned for 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, are tailored to pedestrian enthusiasts, advocates, planners and residents. Panelists will share resources to help build, strengthen and sustain partnerships, and share new tools and technologies being used across the country to promote pedestrian access and safety. The series is open to everyone and provides American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) with 1.5 certification maintenance credits per session to maintain certification.

“The walkability of our communities is a critical component to Maryland’s transportation mission,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “Events such as Walktober, where we’re bringing different voices to the table, encouraging action and heightening awareness, are important as we work together to improve safety and deliver innovative solutions across Maryland.”

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 safe 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.”This webinar highlights MDOT 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”This talk focuses 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.

This article originally appeared on the Crofton Patch

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