Baltimore City ranks 11th nationwide for walkability, but the suburbs? They belong to the cars. Far too many of the communities have no sidewalks, no protected areas for children to play, no designated pedestrian lanes and no safe passage to the store, park, school, library, coffee shop or even the neighbors' house.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General call for more walking and more walkable neighborhoods, local government isn't making it safe for children or adults. My neighborhood in Baltimore County is fantastic if you're a car; not so much if you're a kid looking to play. With no sidewalks or designated pedestrian lanes, and no pedestrian traffic light in the few places where there are crosswalks, it's simply not safe to use the outdoor space we have for exercise or play. For the past few years, I've been raising this issue with the county executive's office, council members and local authorities. So far, we've gotten a white line painted on the side of one road that provided a small shoulder area for walking.
We can do better.