Baltimore: A very walkable city we can make even safer for everyone

October 08, 2011

Your article on "walking school buses" noted that many Baltimore children walk to school each day, yet many feel it is not safe to do so ("'Walking school bus' can build healthy activity into local children's daily routine," Oct. 5).

According to Walk Score, Baltimore is the 12th most walker-friendly large city in the United States. Yet there is real risk involved for Baltimore's youngest residents: Pedestrian injury is the leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children between the ages of 5 and 14.

The Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance has partnered with five downtown schools to promote "walking school buses," and in conjunction with the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, we have created a checklist for families who have concerns about their children's route to school.

Studies have shown that living in a walker-friendly neighborhood enhances public safety, reduces crime and increases home values, public health and public transportation use.

In a recent downtown survey conducted by DBFA, respondents listed walk-friendliness as one of the top reasons they choose to reside in a downtown Baltimore neighborhood. In response, DBFA has launched a website dedicated to promoting walkability and increasing pedestrian safety in Baltimore.

The site includes safety tips, a video contest for local students and the walkers' checklist mentioned above. We encourage all residents, walkers and drivers alike, to visit and help make Charm City safer for everyone.

Judy O'Brien, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance.

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