From the Baltimore Sun:
I would like to thank the Baltimore Sun for its coverage of International Walk to School Month, as celebrated at Stoneleigh Elementary School and elsewhere throughout Maryland.
In many neighborhoods, it is impractical or unsafe for children to get to school unless they ride the bus or get dropped off by their parents. Joppa View Elementary School in Perry Hall, where our son attends, is a perfect example. Built in 1990, the school is isolated from many surrounding neighborhoods by Honeygo Boulevard. Children who live 50 feet away cannot walk to school.
Reconstructing places like Honeygo Boulevard would be expensive, but in this era of limited local resources, there are relatively low-cost ways Baltimore County could improve pedestrian safety.
The county could better scrutinize proposed developments so they connect to existing neighborhoods. The county could also tap into underutilized federal resources, such as the Safe Routes to School program, which provides grants to local jurisdictions. The county could consider creating a version of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which recommends ways to better connect neighborhoods and improve pedestrian safety. Walking and bicycling are not just good physical fitness. These types of activities can also reduce automobile use and lower congestion. Baltimore County should work to make its neighborhoods accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.
David Marks, Perry Hall
The writer is a former chief of staff at the Maryland Department of Transportation and a former member of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.