Archive | March, 2012

Missed Our Safe Routes to School Webinar? No Problem.

30 Mar

Interested in learning the basics of Safe Routes to School but you couldn’t watch our live webinar yesterday? No problem. A recording of the webinar, “Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students,” has been made available on the Safe Routes to School Resource Center website.  View the webinar by clicking here. The webinar is the first link listed under “Safe Routes to School Educational Programs and Webinars.”

The webinar was titled, “Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, why SRTS is so important, how to engage your community, practical strategies to get kids walking and biking to school, and how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

On Thursday, GMTMA is participating in a great FREE webinar on the Safe Routes to School program. Anyone interested in the well-being of our children, our air quality, and our public health should sign up for this 45-minute webinar — parents, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement officials, elected officials, and any other interested citizens. The webinar is titled, “Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, why SRTS is so important, how to engage your community, practical strategies to get kids walking and biking to school, and how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

 

29 Mar

Sign up for this free Safe Routes to School webinar — it’s at 12:15pm TODAY!

On the Move

On Thursday, GMTMA is participating in a great FREE webinar on the Safe Routes to School program. Anyone interested in the well-being of our children, our air quality, and our public health should sign up for this 45-minute webinar — parents, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement officials, elected officials, and any other interested citizens. The webinar is titled, “Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, why SRTS is so important, how to engage your community, practical strategies to get kids walking and biking to school, and how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

Want to register for this webinar? Click here.

These webinars are brought to you by two Transportation Management Associations — Greater Mercer TMA and Keep Middlesex Moving, and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School…

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Hold Your Breath

28 Mar

You might have read recently about the Environmental Protection Agency’s new limits on carbon pollution from power plants announced this week. In a nutshell, the new rule, issued under the Clean Air Act’s New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) program, requires that new power plants emit no more than 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour (MWh). Currently, natural gas plants come in below that, in the 800s, while coal plants emit an average of almost 1,800.

Take a look at this map from the American Lung Association and you’ll see why this is important. The map shows U.S. deaths caused by toxic power plant emissions. If you live in a state with a big red circle, you should be very very glad about the new rule. Note the big red circle over New Jersey.

But, the new rule only improves emissions from new power plants, and in New Jersey, that’s only one piece of the air quality puzzle. There is a critical link between transportation fuel usage and air quality, and in New Jersey, the transportation sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation-related energy use  accounts for about 40 percent of total statewide greenhouse gas emissions with on-road gasoline consumption representing the majority of those emissions. Furthermore, summer is coming, and along with it, we have to start worrying about those really bad air quality days, when it’s actually not safe to breathe the air — especially for the elderly and children.

So while the EPA can help regulate power plants, we can make a big difference ourselves, too, by changing how we get around and how we use our vehicles. There are a few simple things you can do right away to help improve air quality and protect your health and that of the public:

DO… 

  • Work from home
  • Walk or bike for as many trips as possible
  • Carpool or use mass transit
  • Refuel your car in the evening
  • Plan efficient routes

DON’T…

  • Top off your gas tank
  • Idle your car
  • Use gasoline-powered mowers

One of GMTMA’s primary goals is to reduce congestion and improve air quality in our region. That’s why we have so many programs designed to help do just that. Check out our Commuters page to learn how your commute can reduce your carbon footprint and stress while saving you money, including information on carpooling and vanpoolingbus and trainbicycling and walking and incentives and reward programs available to green commuters. You can register for the Green Commuter Rewards Program, too, or get more information on our Safe Routes to School work that aims to get more kids walking and biking (and reduces air pollution in the vicinity of schools — which is a big problem).

Get started today. We can all do our part to improve the quality of the air we breathe.

Learn About Safe Routes to School at Our Webinar on Thursday!

27 Mar

On Thursday, GMTMA is participating in a great FREE webinar on the Safe Routes to School program. Anyone interested in the well-being of our children, our air quality, and our public health should sign up for this 45-minute webinar — parents, teachers, school administrators, law enforcement officials, elected officials, and any other interested citizens. The webinar is titled, “Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, why SRTS is so important, how to engage your community, practical strategies to get kids walking and biking to school, and how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

Want to register for this webinar? Click here.

These webinars are brought to you by two Transportation Management Associations — Greater Mercer TMA and Keep Middlesex Moving, and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center with support from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Technical note: To hear the webinars, your computer must be able to play audio.

Save Cycling!

21 Mar

The American League of Bicyclists’ annual National Bike Summit is underway in Washington D.C., and the theme of this year’s conference is “Save Cycling.”

Through much of their 132 year history, the League of American Bicyclists has been advocating for the interests of the biking public. This conference is no different — the focus of the three-day event is on federal funding of biking and walking and what kind of funding is needed to keep up decades of progress towards creating a more bike-friendly America. The League also produced a short video on this year’s conference.

With more than 57 million cyclists on the road today, bicycling is definitely becoming more popular and getting more attention. Between 2000 and 2008, bicycle commuting increased by 43 percent nationwide. Cities like Portland, Minneapolis, and Chicago – leaders in the effort to create bicycle facilities – saw increases greater than 100 percent.

GMTMA is doing its part at the local level, renting out bike lockers and promoting bicycling in our region with our Green Commuter Rewards program. We’re working with schools involved in the Safe Routes to School program, trying to get kids walking and biking as early as possible. We’re also planning a number of activities for Bike Month (the month of May); stay tuned to this blog and our website for information coming soon.

Want to Learn about Safe Routes to School?

16 Mar

Well then you’re in luck. GMTMA is helping to organize two upcoming webinars where you can learn everything you wanted to know about the Safe Routes to School program, and why your school district should be involved. The webinars are designed for all parents, teachers, local officials, and any interested citizens who are concerned with the well-being of our children, our air quality, and our public health.

Webinar #1: Walking and Biking to School: Inspiring Safer, Healthier, More Active Students
Thursday, March 29, 12:15pm – 1:00pm
During this 45 minute webinar, you’ll learn the basics of Safe Routes to School. Whether you are new to Safe Routes to School or are looking for effective messages to engage your community, this webinar will cover key messages and practical strategies to get kids walking
and biking to school.

This webinar will help participants:

  • Discover ways to get SRTS programs off the ground
  • Learn why SRTS is so important to our communities and our kids
  • Identify the best types of SRTS programs for your community

Want to register for this webinar? Click here.

Webinar #2: All Aboard the Walking School Bus: Walking to School in a Safe, Fun,
and Healthy Way
Thursday, April 19, 12:15pm – 1:00pm
Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are great for getting more kids to walk and bike to school, but organizing them can be a challenge. Join us for this 45 minute webinar on successful approaches and resources for creating group walks and rides to school.

This webinar will help participants:

  • Understand the benefits of creating a Walking School Bus
  • Learn the key components of a successful program
  • Hear case studies of successful programs in New Jersey
  • Learn about resources available to help implement a Walking School Bus or Bike Train program

Want to register for this webinar? Click here.

Technical note: To hear the webinars, your computer must be able to play audio.

These webinars are brought to you by two Transportation Management Associations — Greater Mercer TMA and Keep Middlesex Moving, and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center with support from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

These Roads Weren’t Made for Walking

7 Mar

This week the Tri-State Transportation Campaign released its annual “Region’s Most Dangerous Roads for Walking” report, and things aren’t looking great for the Garden State. For the fourth year in a row, Route 130 had the highest number of fatalities. Between 2008 and 2010, 10 pedestrians were killed on that route, with the majority of the fatalities occurring between Burlington Township and Delran, according to the study.

Other New Jersey routes topping the list were Route 1 & 9 in Union County, and US-1 in Middlesex County.

“All three of these roads are arterials–roads designed to move vehicles with little regard for the safety of pedestrians or bicyclists who also use them,” said Janna Chernetz, New Jersey advocate for the Campaign, in a press release. “This type of planning has fatal consequences.”

In the three years between 2008 and 2010, 435 pedestrians were killed on New Jersey’s roadways. While the number of pedestrian deaths decreased in 2010 from 158 fatalities to 139, recently-released 2011 data from the New Jersey Department of Transportation show a slight increase in pedestrian fatalities.

The analysis found that the state’s most dangerous roads for walking over the three-year period from 2008-2010, ranked by highest number of fatalities were:

  • US-130 (Burlington Pike), Burlington County: 10
  • Route 1&9, Union County: 9
  • US-1, Middlesex County: 7
  • Route 35, Middlesex County: 6
  • Route 28 (North Ave, Front St, Westfield Ave), Union County: 6
  • US-46, Morris County: 6
  • US‐322/40 (Black Horse Pike, Albany Ave), Atlantic County: 6
  • US-9, Monmouth County: 5
  • Route 36, Monmouth County: 5
  • White Horse Pike (US-30), Camden County: 5
  • Route 22, Somerset County: 5
  • Route 9, Ocean County: 5

The Campaign applauded efforts that are already underway to improve safety on the state’s roadways, including NJDOT’s 2009 Complete Streets policy that requires transportation planners and engineers to consider all potential users of a roadway, including pedestrians and bicyclists, in the design of a new or significantly retrofitted road. The New Jersey Department of Transportation is currently creating a complete streets curriculum that will be presented around the state. In addition, the Campaign highlighted the state’s five-year Pedestrian Safety Initiative, a multi-agency program that uses enforcement, engineering and education approaches to address pedestrian safety.

The report goes on to encourage all of the state’s municipalities and counties to adopt local Complete Streets policies. The City of Trenton did just that last week; it joins a growing list of towns and counties who are making a commitment to improving roadway safety for all users, not just cars.

The Campaign’s analysis was based on recently-released data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The analysis excludes Interstates and other roads where pedestrians are prohibited. Federal data was not available for pedestrian injuries, many of which occur in urban areas like Newark, Trenton, and Camden. County fact sheets showing the most dangerous routes for walking are also available. The fact sheets also include an interactive Google Map showing the locations of each pedestrian fatality, with descriptive details for each victim killed on the county’s most dangerous route or routes. The full report, as well as county fact sheets and Google Maps can be found here.