Check out this blog post from America Walks that features Mary McPherson, a Program Manager at the Washington County Health department who completed the Walking College Fellowship Program last year.
Here’s a quote from the article:
Mary McPherson, Program Manager at Washington County Health Department and 2018 Walking College Fellow, took full advantage of the networking opportunities when she attended the Walk/Bike/Places Conference held in New Orleans last year — part of the Walking College activities — and it paid off, literally.
“Traffic Garden Pitch Gets Unexpected Funding
None of this would have ever happened without the Walking College Fellow experience. I learned so much, formed wonderful partnerships, and became much more confident in my ability to create change,” says McPherson.
The conference allowed Mary to hear about projects being implemented around the country. During one breakout session she connected with a few folks who talked about “Traffic Gardens” for children. Mary loved the idea and took it to heart, hoping to bring the concept to Hagerstown. After careful brainstorming with her new contacts she made a pitch to her connections in Hagerstown as well as the folks at the Maryland Department of Health. The idea was welcomed quickly and the health department was awarded $20,000 to educate children and build a Traffic Garden in Hagerstown.
Traffic Gardens are gaining traction as a fun but practical educational model for children learning how to get around by bike and hone their bicycling skills. It’s also a hands on, simulated way to teach kids how to safely use and share the road with all other users across the spectrum of active mobility modes.
“It will be amazing to have a place where children can enjoy their bicycles in a safe environment, learn the rules of the road and hopefully become life long bicycle enthusiasts… I feel that in all of my 20 years of work in public health, this could be the one project that will truly make a difference in the health of our community,” says McPherson.
You can learn more about Traffic Gardens in this blog post from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.
The Traffic Garden in Hagerstown is expected to be completed this year. We’re looking forward to having a safe and educational place for children to ride their bikes in Hagerstown!