Get Your Kids Walking and Biking to School

29 Nov

Greater Mercer TMA is working with schools and communities to help kids get fit, get healthy, and protect the planet. One of the primary vehicles (pardon the pun) within which to do this through our involvement in the nation-wide Safe Routes to School program.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a federal, state, and local program to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school. programs examine conditions around schools and create activities to improve safety and accessibility, reduce traffic and air pollution around schools, and make bicycling and walking to school safer and more appealing, thus encouraging a healthy active lifestyle for kids.

SRTS programs bring a wide range of benefits to students and the community, including:

  • increasing the health, mobility, and independence of school-age children,
  • reducing congestion, air pollution and traffic conflicts around schools,
  • helping students arrive at school ready to learn, and
  • teaching safe pedestrian and bicyclist skills

GMTMA is the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s designated SRTS coordinator for Mercer and Ocean counties. At no cost, GMTMA can help your school and community implement a SRTS program by helping you with the following SRTS elements:

Travel Plans

  • Document existing conditions
  • Identify assets, barriers, goals and actions
  • Outline responsibilities and funding sources

Bike/Walk Events & Education Assistance

  • Walking School Buses
  • Bike Rodeos
  • Assemblies
  • Safety education and “How To” teaching materials

Evaluation and Monitoring

  • Establish baseline of existing conditions
  • Student arrival/departure counts
  • Parent/Caregiver surveys
  • Measure progress and adjust program as needed

SRTS Infrastructure Program

NJDOT offers local governments and schools a grant program for the planning and implementation of pe­destrian and bicycle infrastructure projects near schools. This is a highly competitive program and communities who participate in non-infrastructure programs and activities, such as SRTS Travel Plans, School Wellness programs and school walk/bike activities may receive extra points on their grant applications.

Want to learn more? Contact GMTMA’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator Rebecca Hersh at rhersh@gmtma.org.

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