Greater Mercer TMA recognizes local students in Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design Contest

1 May

Greater Mercer TMA (GMTMA) sponsored a Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design Contest with the theme “My favorite place to walk/bike is…”. The contest was open to all 3rd through 5th graders in Ocean County, NJ. This year we had more than twenty schools participate in the contest and received 300 bookmark contest entries.

Creativity was abundant making it very difficult to pick the winners. Just look at some of their artwork on our Pinterest page! We would like to thank the schools, teachers, parents, libraries, and superintendents for such a great collaboration. Also, we would like to thank all the students that submitted artwork, the response was amazing.

Winning designs Mercer and Ocean counties

Winning designs Mercer and Ocean counties

The winning bookmarks will be printed and distributed at local libraries and schools. Congratulations to the winners!

MERCER COUNTY

  • 3 rd and 4 th grade category Angelika Gorecka, Slackwood Elementary School, Lawrenceville NJ
  • 5 th grade category Evenly Vasquez, Woodrow Wilson Elementary, Trenton NJ

Honorable mention, Shaila Sachder, 5th grade student at Littlebrook School, Princeton, NJ and Samantha Gunton,4th grade student at Lawrenceville Intermediate School, Lawrenceville.

OCEAN COUNTY

  • 3 rd and 4 th grade category Anna Claire Willmot, Ocean Road School, Point Pleasant, NJ
  • 5 thegrade category Isabella Wade, East Dover Elementary, Toms River, NJ

Honorable mention, Julie Lees a 5th grade student at East Dover Elementary, Toms River, NJ and Olivia L. Smith, 3rd Grade student at Lucy N. Holman Elementary, Jackson, NJ.

Honorable mention designs

Honorable mention designs

 

Honorable mention

Honorable mention

“The entries were terrific and really captured the essence of what makes walking and biking so wonderful.” said Cheryl Kastrenakes, Executive Director of GMTMA.   “When we walk and bike we get to use all of our senses, we enjoy our surroundings in a way that just doesn’t happen when we are in a car. The students reflected this in their entries with detailed pictures of such places as their neighborhood, the boardwalk, and parks.”

GMTMA serves as the NJ Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator for Mercer County and works with schools, communities and PTO’s to encourage more students to walk and bike to school safely and to improve the areas where it is not safe. If you would like more information about the Safe Routes to School Program please visit gmtma.org.

Bike Commuter Journal: The Cargo Bike

24 Apr

Want to participate in Bike to Work Week, but work from home, or live too far away to bike? You can still sign up (and get a free tshirt!) by swapping out car trips done on your bike. For example, let’s say you need to mail a few letters at the post office – just tuck the letters into your pocket or backpack, hop on the bike and ride over – you’ll find that many errands don’t require a lot of carrying capacity.

Even minor grocery shopping can be done on bike with just a backpack, handlebar bag or trunk box. For a bit more capacity, a rack and panniers enable you to fit all but the most bulky groceries, see below.

Bikes waiting ventura vonsFor the bulky stuff or a longer term grocery run, a bike trailer works well, the pic above shows a DIY bike trailer using a plastic storage box. Or you could go all out and buy a cargo bike, which can fit an entire grocery cart’s worth.

Shopping Cart Full Cargo Bike Empty 2 Cargo Bike Loaded Shopping Cart Empty

If You’re Driving Distracted Your Next Destination Could be the Courtroom 

17 Apr

This month is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and many organizations are doing their part to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving.  Nationally, 2013 saw more than 3000 people killed and over 400,000 injured in car crashes involving distracted drivers. (distraction.gov)  In New Jersey alone, close to 750,000 car crashes since 2009 have involved distracted drivers and the police in our state are now calling this a “dangerous epidemic”.

To address the growing concern over distracted driving, the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety launched the “U Drive.U Text.U Pay” campaign in an effort to combat the problem, and they are very serious about enforcing it!  Your first offense will cost you between $200 – $400 and a court appearance.  Your second offense will cost $400 – $600, and the third time, you pay $600 – $800 and you get stuck with three motor vehicle points and a possible 90 day license suspension! (nj.gov)

photo: njdot.gov

Photo: nj.gov

Texting isn’t the only culprit in driving distractions.  Common behaviors include, grooming, eating, drinking, using your smart phone for directions or other types of browsing, all of which will be monitored and ticketed.  The NJ campaign focuses on texting and driving because it is considered especially dangerous since it requires three types of attention: visual, manual, and cognitive. It’s becoming very clear now that taking your eyes and attention away from the road, and your hands off the wheel is dangerous in several ways!

Here are a few tips to help keep you and others on the road safe. Just pull over to a safe location when:

  • Taking a phone call or texting
  • Grooming (putting on make-up, fixing your hair, shaving, etc.)
  • Eating
  • When you’re looking for directions on your smart phone
  • Trying to get your favorite radio station
  • Checking your Facebook status (it can’t be that urgent)

Remember, it can all wait until you can safely pull over.  It’s just not worth risking your life, or the life of an innocent person.

To read about this campaign click here. 

Bike Commuter Journal: It’s About the Experience

10 Apr

Ted Borer Pic 1 Please welcome this year’s first guest Bike Commuter Journalist, Ted Borer, who’s been bike commuting for over three decades!

I have the nicest commute! My ride to and from work is something I look forward to and is often the most pleasant part of the day. About 35 minutes of uninterrupted fresh air and fitness twice a day.

Years ago I was living in West Philly and would ride a trolley to my office in Center City. But, one day SEPTA went on strike. I hopped on my bike and pedaled across the U. Penn campus and the Drexel campus and down Market Street to my office building.

Ted Borer SEPTA TrolleyIt ended up being faster than the trolley. And cheaper. And less hassle. And more fun. And I suddenly found myself experiencing the city, not just being transported through it. I would say hello to street vendors just setting up shop. I got to park right outside my office instead of blocks away.

Four offices, three house moves, and thirty years later, I’m still pedaling to work. I’ve got about 85,000 miles on the road and expect to break the 100,000 mile mark before retirement.

I’ve learned to avoid days when ice or snow are covering the white line on the road. There are times when family needs require that I drive. But over time I’ve sorted out all the issues about how to transport stuff, where to keep my bike securely, and where to take a shower and change, and how to deal with heat and cold and rainy weather, and how to fix what breaks. I own a car. But mostly it sits in the driveway. My bicycle offers much more joy.

Thanks Ted! You can find more of Ted’s commuting and other biking adventures at: http://c-note-book.blogspot.com/  If you have a story you’d like to share with Bike Commuter Journal, please contact Jerry Foster at jfoster@gmtma.org.

 

 

Gear Up for Bike to Work Week

3 Apr

 Picture1

May is National Bike Month, and Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA) is celebrating again this year with Bike to Work Week events to encourage people to get on their bikes and discover the benefits and joy of cycling. The motto this year is “Biking: Happy You, Healthy Earth!”

Registration for Bike to Work Week and Bike Month events is available on www.gmtma.org.  Registrants that log in their miles at the end of the week are entered to win great prizes offered by the following sponsors:  Kopp’s Cycle, Whole Earth Center, Whole Foods Princeton, St. Lawrence Rehab Center, Hart’s Cyclery, McCaffrey’s Supermarket, Knapps Cyclery, Sourland Cycles, and REI.

First 150 registrants get a free t-shirt! REGISTER NOW! 

GMTMA is also sponsoring the following Bike Month events:

Swap A Ride: Don’t bike to work? No problem. Replace as many car trips as possible with bike trips and enter to win prizes!

Employer Bike Challenge: Form a group of fellow employees to participate in Bike to Work Week. Enjoy the camaraderie and the great outdoors with co-workers by commuting to and from work together. AND, get a chance to win our EMPLOYER WHEELS award.

Visions of Bicycling: To celebrate Bike Month and the beauty that is bicycling, GMTMA is hosting a photo contest. Bike to Work Week participants are welcome to submit their photographs. Check out last year’s winning photograph, “Lunchtime Errands”, in the photo above!

 And of course, GMTMA offers information and safety tips for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages and can provide onsite bike safety and pedestrian education programs for schools and camp programs, businesses, as well as seniors. GMTMA can also help your community do a walkability audit and identify concerns for pedestrians related to the safety, access, comfort and convenience of the walking environment. An audit can also help identify potential solutions such as engineering treatments, policy changes or education and enforcement.

Many thanks to our sponsors!

Horiz

The History of Women in Transportation and Mobility

27 Mar

businesswoman-454871_1280

Since this month is Women’s History Month, we would like to take this opportunity to mention some of the female pioneers in transportation and the contribution women make in this industry nowadays.

Transportation and mobility has been traditionally a man’s interest and men have been predominantly occupying the majority of both low skills as well as high skilled transportation jobs.

Looking at the history of women in transportation and mobility industry, we see that things have changed and women are now encouraged to build careers in transportation and mobility. The Department of Transportation published an article with detailed information on all the women that made their mark in different areas of transportation. We have selected just a few to feature in this post but encourage you to read the whole article.

From this article we found that the first woman to receive a driving license in the 1900’s was Anne Bush. The first woman to ever compete in a car race was Janet Guthrie who in 1976 participated in the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR.

In 1922 another woman, Helen Schultz, becomes a pioneer of the bus transportation industry by establishing the Red Ball Transportation Company.  Another pioneer, this time in aviation, Amelia Earhart, is well known for her daring attempt to fly around the globe which unfortunately ended tragically.

The first African American commercial pilot, Willa Brown, also became the first female officer in the Civil Air Patrol.

But women did not stop at flying planes, they went beyond, they went to space.  The first American woman to go to space was Sally Ride; the first American woman to walk in space was Kathryn Sullivan.

Many women also had jobs in transportation administration and engineering, starting with Beverly Cover in 1962, Judith A. Carlson who worked as highway engineer, Karen M. Porter a civil engineer, to Elizabeth Dole as a secretary of DOT in 1983 and Carmen Turner Acting Director of Civil rights at the DOT.

These days, women are holding various positions in transportation and mobility, from bus drivers to Executive Director of a Transit Agency.  Agencies like WTS (Women’s Transportation Seminar)  are dedicated to the advancement of women’s careers in transportation through connecting women in Transportation, networking, and an annual conference.

There are many women that deserve all the praise and wish we could mention each and every one of them.  Some of them hold government positions while others are making a difference at the helm of non-profit organizations. Right here in New Jersey we  have Veronique Hakim (Executive Director of NJ TRANSIT), Mary K. Murphy (Executive Director of NJTPA), Mary D. Ameen( Deputy Executive Director NJPTA), and our own Cheryl Kastrenakes, Executive Director of GMTMA.

While it may look like many women have careers in transportation and mobility, the industry is still male dominated.

Either working for governmental agencies, private businesses, schools, universities or non-profits, careers in the transportation and mobility industry can be interesting and rewarding.

We hope this will inspire more women to choose a career in transportation. To learn more about opportunities go to http://www.dot.gov/policy-initiatives/women-and-girls/resources

 

 

Hello neighbor! Do you rent your car?

20 Mar

In last week’s blog post I talked about how my husband and I have been a one car family for the last six years and how we schedule and maintain a shared calendar to make it work.  But that even with coordination, sometimes we need a second car. That is when I mentioned using Zipcar.

The founder of the car sharing company Zipcar (car sharing is something we like to encourage here at GMTMA), Robin Chase, is a woman. Since March is Women’s History Month, this is a great time to mention women in transportation and share with you a TED Talk. In this talk, Robin Chase talks about how she came to the Zipcar idea and why car sharing is so important to her.

Robin Chase recently sold her share in Zipcar, moved to France with her husband and child, and started another car  sharing company – Buzzcar. The Buzzcar model takes the idea of car sharing to a whole new level; it allows people to rent their own car to friends and neighbors. Ms. Chase called that new business model “investing in a community”.

This is a very engaging talk and Robin Chase is an inspiring woman. Let us know what you think.

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