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Keyword: adopt-a-road

photo of Adopt-A-Road signKristi Pilarski, Adopt-A-Road Coordinator, Bureau of Highways

Cigarette butts, soda cans and other trash you may see along the road is not just unsightly, but it can get washed down into storm drains during a heavy rain, wash into our waterways and pollute recreational water areas, drinking water supplies, and eventually, the Chesapeake Bay. This is why Adopt-A-Road is one of our solutions for the environment and your community.

You can see our green and white Adopt-A-Road signs all around Baltimore County, showing community support for a Clean, Green Baltimore County. It is easy to join the Adopt-A-Road program. A group makes a commitment to pick up roadside litter just four times per year for at least two years.

We receive support from the community from all types of adopters. Adopters include civic and non-profit organizations, school groups, commercial and private enterprises, families and individuals. We have adopters of all ages, the youngest being 12 years old. I am always looking for new adopters, individuals or groups, to help grow the Adopt-A-Road program.

This program is a great service project for all sorts of groups, and especially helpful for high school students who need community service hours to graduate. It’s a nice way for families to come together to show support for their neighborhood. One of our newest groups, a motorcycle club, even made participation in Adopt-A-Road a prerequisite to joining their club.

Our Adopt-A-Road program started twenty years ago and had much success in the past. I am hoping to continue to make it successful and grow the program, so we can help keep Baltimore County’s roads clean.

I try to keep everything simple for the adopter. Once the application is approved, I give the safety training to the coordinator or to the entire group. At that time, I supply the group with all the supplies needed for the cleanups. We supply the trash bags, pickers, gloves, signs and the safety vests. Each group receives an Adopt-A-Road sign at their adopted road location and we will collect the trash bags after each clean up.

If you would be interested in the Adopt-A-Road program, I would love to hear from you! Contact me directly at or 410-887-3560.

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!      


Revised April 6, 2016