I wanted to give you all a brief synopsis of a meeting that Mark Counselman and I had last Thursday with John Porcari, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Neil Pedersen, the SHA administrator and Sam Minnitte, the director of planning for MDOT. Our agenda centered on ensuring that the state of Maryland have a fully engaged "complete streets" policy where the safety and convenience of all road users (bike/ped/ transit/cars) is accommodated.
The best news was that the Secretary agreed that county transportation engineers need training to ensure that local roads are safe for bikes, peds and transit users. His proposed solution (which we fully agree with) was to make complete streets training a state funding requirement for local DOTs. This means that state funds that go to the counties for road construction would come with a comprehensive complete streets training component. Right now training for bike/ped/transit accommodations is lacking in many county DOT offices. This could potentially remedy that problem. We will definitely be following up with the Secretary to make sure that this becomes a reality
SHA Administrator Pedersen suggested increased complete streets training for state engineers. He seems enthusiastic about making this a central component of the engineering staff's ongoing professional development. Once again, this is good news.
The Administrator was also open to the idea of having bike/ped "showcase projects" in each county. In other words, making sure that there is at least one state road in each jurisdiction that exemplifies best complete streets practices. At the very least he would like to begin an inventory of completed state projects that were bike/ped friendly.
There was agreement to get the state bike map online and expanded to include other routes, such as those on the Mid-Maryland bicycle map.
There was also agreement that One Less Car should work together with MDOT on getting the bicycle safety brochure online, and in different languages. We also made it clear that we want to work with MDOT to ensure that the state has the best possible bike/ped safety outreach.
The meeting was only 30 minutes long, so there were a million points we could not get to. Regardless, it was clear that Secretary Porcari, Administrator Pedersen and Mr. Minnittee fully understand the issues and concerns and were very appreciative of One Less Car's offer to work with them in the future. I will be following up with the Secretary and Administrator Pedersen in the coming weeks.
One Less Car