From “Design Baltimore County Streets for People, Not Just Vehicles, To Make Everyone Safer,” by Colleen Ebacher
Baltimore Sun, August 8, 2018
On a late July morning, an out-of-control SUV speeding down Girdwood Road in Lutherville veered off the road and onto the sidewalk, careening into the bodies of an intensive-care nurse and her 5-year-old granddaughter out for a morning walk, killing both.
This tragedy was no anomaly. Just 10 hours after the out-of-control SUV killed two on Girdwood road, a WJZ reporter witnessed another out-of-control car hopping the median and driving over a sign, at the exact same location. In the past year alone, nine car accidents have been reported along this one-mile stretch of road. Long-time neighbors know that Girdwood, despite being steps from two public schools is “a dangerous street,” as one said. They regularly hear the sound of speeding cars crashing into the trees lining the road and launching off the speed bump.
For too long, our streets have been designed primarily for cars, not people. They are used by drivers to speed through on their way to someplace else. The entire community suffers as a result. Accidents, often serious and even fatal, increase. Parents are afraid to let their children walk to school or play outside, and neighbors feel unsafe lingering on the corner to chat. Residents retreat indoors. As the streets empty out, the less secure they feel.
Read more at The Baltimore Sun.
From “Forget the Trade War, China Won’t Take Our Plastics Anymore,” By Colleen Ebacher
Baltimore Sun, July 10, 2018
While speculation about the trade war with China reaches a fevered pitch, its most glaring consequence concerns an export that ended months ago, before the trade war even started: mountains of our discarded plastic bottles, old newspapers and other waste.
For years, China has been the planet’s premier dumping ground for recyclable plastics and scrap paper, processing 106 million tons of plastic waste from the United States and other industrialized countries since 1992. The millions of tons of scrap paper and plastic waste the U.S. sent to China every year makes it oursixth largest export to that country.
That ended in January, when China decided that it would no longer act as the “world’s garbage dump.” Now, across the nation, the plastic waste we dutifully deposit in recycling bins is piling up in ports or being sent to incinerators and landfills, including in Baltimore County, where about a third of our recycling gets dumped as trash instead. Eventually plastic trash makes its way into the environment, where it can linger indefinitely.
With the export of our plastic waste to China off the table, it is time to get serious about reducing the volume of waste we produce. And the good news is we don’t have to wait for our political leaders in Washington D.C. or Annapolis to take action: There’s a lot we can do to right now at the local level.
For more, check out the rest of the op-ed in the July 10, 2018 Baltimore Sun.