Saturday, December 10 2011 @ 02:03 PM EST
Contributed by: B' Spokes
from Maryland Politics by Michael Dresser
Senate Minority Leader E. J. Pipkin called Friday for Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley to step down in light of this month's highly critical audit of the State Highway Administration. Pipkin, an Upper Shore Republican, charged that the audit of SHA -- an arm of the Transportation Department -- showed that Swaim-Staley has done "an unacceptable job" and bears responsibility for the contracting abuses identified by legislative auditors. "Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley has presided over a mess," Pipkin's statement said. "She has stated that she has been working hard to change the SHA culture to one that closely manages all aspects of the contract process. Frankly that response is not good enough. Let’s face it, Secretary Swaim-Staley did not know much of what was going on in the agency she heads."
By B' Spokes:
While I am willing to cut some slack for the new higher ups at MDOT for a while but so far my impression is that there is poor understanding and zero stress on "minor" issues like bicycling and walking. If an agency "covers" this issue then it needs to deal with this issue in full and not hide behind something to effect "We got more important things to do." So while on on hand I am encouraged by the improvements to Ritchie Highway
but that is sort of just it on what I see as actually reacting to a problem and trying to fix it in a significant way.
I wrote Secretary Swaim-Staley about this:
It really does not take a rocket scientist to look at that and say "I think Maryland should be doing a better job for pedestrian safety." Her response in part:
"Both traffic crashes that involve pedestrians and injuries suffered by pedestrians have declined in Maryland in each of the last three years."
So while pedestrian injuries have gone down 10%, what she fails to mention is that pedestrian fatalities have gone up 20%. Personally I find that a callous response.
Anther clueless point from her letter: The SHA has provided significant support for pedestrian safety enforcement activities through grants to law enforcement agencies. The “sting” operations noted in the Governor’s Highway Safety Association report, in, which officers enter a crosswalk sufficiently in advance of an approaching vehicle and cite those drivers who fail to stop as required by law, have been carried out in numerous communities.
Challenge: Find "sting" operations in Baltimore Metro's Street Smart Campaign
or here for AA county
or here for Baltimore County.
And let's totally forget about finding sting operations for Baltimore City where pedestrians involved in traffic crashes represents 32% of Maryland's total pedestrians involved in traffic crashes.
But wait, I did find a safety grant for Baltimore County... for heavy trucks
and the Grand Prix
for the city. [Heavy sigh]
Can I call the Secretary's statement BS??? Anyway this is my impression as well: "Let’s face it, Secretary Swaim-Staley did not know much of what was going on in the agency she heads."
Another thing that is really bothering me is O'Malley and MDOT are so busy asking for federal money for rail and road projects "for jobs" while letting $31 million in federal money for bike/ped projects languish. Bike/Ped Projects Create 46% More Jobs Than Road-Only Projects.
We have the money and we have the projects so what's the problem? No one really knows.
We really need a major overhaul of MDOT.