The Maryland Association of Counties (MACO) held its three-day Winter Conference December 4-6, 2019 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Dorchester County.
The conference brought 600 attendees, 96 speakers, over 60 exhibitors and 38 sessions. BMC was proud to participate in the “No More Deaths: Vision Zero and Maryland’s Mission for Roadway Safety” session.
Bala Akundi, Principal Transportation Engineer with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC), was honored to attend and speak about safety on our roadways and how our transportation system is essential to connecting all Marylanders to recreational and economic opportunities. Other panelists included Monique Anderson-Walker, Prince George’s County Council Member, Christine Nizer, Administrator for the Maryland Department of Transportation - Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT-MVA) and Scott Flanigan, Director of Public Works for Cecil County. Moderator Delegate Julie Palakovich-Carr introducing the panelists and providing an overview of Vision Zero.
Each speaker shared details on the statewide effort to improve roadway safety with a goal of reaching zero vehicle-related deaths or serious injuries on roadways by the year 2030. Presentations explored how to make traffic safety an essential piece of annual planning by developing local Strategic Highway Safety Plans and tools available to complete the process.
During Akundi’s portion of the presentation, he explained the regional perspective, MPO advantages, draft plans and processes to help reach the Vision Zero goal. Since late 2018, BMC has assisted member jurisdictions in developing local Strategic Highway Safety Plans (SHSPs) in support of Maryland’s goal of Vision Zero. The Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) provided grant funding to support a full-time staff position at BMC to help the local jurisdictions develop and implement the local plans over the next several years. As of December 2019, two jurisdictions have developed draft plans that are waiting approval from senior management while others have begun putting together teams to begin the process.
The MACO winter conference is an annual event and is scheduled to be held next year December 9-11, 2020.