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Baltimore County Now

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Date: May 30, 2013

Adopt-A-Road signJanette Harris, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator
Bureau of Highways

My favorite road signs sometimes get lost in the clutter of billboards and stop signs and No Parking signs. But a lot of people do notice them because Adopt-a-Road signs mean something nice. They mean that roadsides are being kept neat and clean by people who care. This is important for maintaining good communities in Baltimore County and a rewarding part of my job in the Department of Public Works. You see, I’m the Adopt-A-Road-lady!

The Adopt-A-Road program began almost twenty years ago and has grown steadily. In the first years from its inception, 65 groups from all over the County had signed up to pick up trash along roads and help Bureau of Highways get the job done. We never lost the momentum and today 365 roads have been adopted by a wide variety of public-spirited organizations: schools, church groups, civic organizations – just about anybody who wants to make a difference.

It’s easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group must make the commitment to pick up roadside trash on a regular basis and to abide by a few, simple safety rules. My program gives people an opportunity to help maintain their community by authorizing them to clean up certain streets. It also gives high school students some of the community service time needed to graduate.

Groups apply to participate – the paperwork is simple. Then we give them safety training and hand over basic cleanup equipment with a set of rules to follow. Groups must clean up the area at least four times a year and, of course, everyone must follow all safety rules. Safety is job one! The adoption period lasts two years, but it’s renewable.

In exchange for committing their time, the Bureau of Traffic Engineering puts up a sign announcing that a particular road has been adopted by the organization, and the County provides and collects the trash bags.

The Adopt-A-Road program costs taxpayers very little. In fact, it comes out to less than fifteen dollars a road. For the price of a few of cups of coffee, everyone benefits. Such a deal!      


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