Archive | April, 2012

NJ Air Quality Awareness Week

30 Apr

Fine Particulate Matter – Wood Smoke

GMTMA’s main focus is on transportation which includes air pollution that comes from vehicles. Transportation is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, but not the only one. Therefore when New Jersey announced that this week is Air Quality Awareness Week we knew we needed to get the word out.

Even though the cold weather is almost over (I hope) and you are less likely to need a fire in a fireplace or wood stove; wood smoke is still an issue. During the summer months people often burn yard debris and campfires which can create even more smoke than a clean burning wood stove.

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) –found in wood smoke- is one of the major air pollutants in New Jersey. When people breathe the particulate matter negative health effects like asthma attacks, hearth and lung disease, and premature death result. Children are also very susceptible to health effects from smoke because they breathe twice as much air per pound of body weight as adults.

A few simple things to remember when burning outdoors: check with your local fire department for outdoor burning rules, only burn clean dry yard waste, burn the wood as hot as possible to decrease smoke, completely extinguish the fire before leaving, and make sure the smoke does not create a nuisance with your neighbors.

Sitting around a campfire can be a great way to spend a summer evening, but if it is not properly controlled it can create major health issues. 

May is Bike Month! Join GMTMA for Bike to Work Week, Lunch & Learn, and More!

26 Apr

And that means it’s our busy season at Greater Mercer TMA. We’re sponsoring and co-sponsoring a number of events and activities. Get on your bike and get involved! Contact Rebecca at rhersh@gmtma.org for more info.

Saturday April 28, 12noon – 5pm

Communiversity

Where: Downtown Princeton

Come visit our table (we’ll be on Witherspoon Street, in front of Mezzaluna and across the street from Olive’s) for information on Bike to Work Week, Safe Routes to School, RideProvide, Anti-Idling, Carpooling, and more. And enter your name in our drawing to win a free bike safety kit! We’ll be right next to the West Windsor Bicycle & Pedestrian Alliance, so it’ll be a real bike-friendly zone. Please stop by, and don’t forget to avoid the crowds by taking the FreeB shuttle to the festivities.

Saturday May 12, 9am – 1pm

Bicycle Safety Rodeo

Where: St. Lawrence Rehab Center, Lawrenceville

St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center’s annual Bicycle Safety Rodeo and SAFE KIDS Day provides children ages 3-12 and their families with an opportunity to learn about safety. The day includes bicycle inspections, a bicycle safety course, and free helmets for all children who attend. Children MUST pre-register to receive helmets and have their bikes inspected. To register, call (609) 896-9500 x 2212 or email bikerodeo@slrc.org. St. Lawrence is located on Route 206 in Lawrenceville, just off Exit 7-B of Route I-95.

Saturday May 12, 1pm – 4:45pm

Buy a Bike, Get a Free Helmet!

Where: Trenton Bike Exchange, Ewing

GMTMA will be at the Trenton Boys & Girls Club Bike Exchange giving away FREE helmets to anybody who purchases a bicycle between 1 and 4:45pm. The Bike Exchange, which donates all proceeds of its sales to the Boys & Girls Club, has a large selection of good quality, low cost used bikes for all ages and skill levels. All bikes are reconditioned and ready to ride. The Bike Exchange is in the Capitol Plaza Shopping Center at 1500 N. Olden Ave. in Ewing and is easily accessible by NJ Transit bus # 606.

Monday May 14 – Friday May 18

Bike to Work Week: Register, Ride, and Win!

Where: On Your Bike

Be a part of national Bike to Work Week by registering for GMTMA’s 2012 event. The first 150 registrants get a Bike to Work 2012 t-shirt! At the end of the week, log your mileage, and we’ll enter you into a free drawing to win a prize from one of our generous sponsors. Registration is FREE and open to everyone. We encourage you to register regardless of whether you ride to an office – as long as you’re on a bike, replacing a trip that you’d otherwise take in a car. For registration info, visit www.gmtma.org.

 

Tuesday May 15, 6am – 8am

Breakfast for Bikers

Where: Princeton Junction Station
Do you bike to the Princeton Junction train station to get to work? If so, stop by our Breakfast for Bikers table on Tuesday of Bike To Work Week! GMTMA and the West Windsor Bike-Ped Alliance will be providing free coffee and refreshments to bicyclists.

 

Wednesday May 16, 7am – 9am

Breakfast for Bikers

Where: Trenton Transit Center
Do you bike to the Trenton Transit Center to get to work? If so, stop by our Breakfast for Bikers table on Wednesday of Bike To Work Week! GMTMA and the Trenton Cycling Revolution will be providing free coffee and refreshments to bicyclists.

Friday May 18, 12:30pm – 2pm

Lunch & Learn with GMTMA

Complete Streets: Changing New Jersey’s Roadways for All Users

Where: Princeton Public Library, Community Room, First Floor 

Roadway hazards for bicyclists and pedestrians are often overlooked because historically, roadways were designed with only the automobile in mind. But in New Jersey and around the country, this is changing, thanks to the “Complete Streets” movement. Through efforts at both the state and local level, communities are becoming more aware of the need to accommodate all users of the roadway network. Complete streets are designed to enable safe access for all users — pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Attendees will get to see a new presentation and accompanying short film — designed and presented by representatives from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, planning firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, and consulting firm Civic Eye Collaborative — on the importance of Complete Streets policies and how communities and citizens can develop and implement their own policies. Case studies at the state, county, and local level will also be discussed. Refreshments will be served courtesy of our luncheon sponsor, Terra Momo Bread Company, and attendees will be eligible to participate in a free drawing for a bike safety kit! Space is limited, please pre-register by emailing rhersh@gmtma.org.

Saturday May 19, 8:30am

Trenton Bike Tour

Where: 1719 William Trent House Museum, 15 Market Street, Trenton, NJ

This family-friendly annual bike event is considered a must-attend by many local cyclists, families and the general public. Notable sites this year include: South Riverwalk Park, Riverview Cemetary, Columbus Park, D&R Canal State Park, The Island neighborhood, Stacy Park and more! As part of National Bike Month and marking the culmination of National Bike to Work Week, the tour aims to not only highlight the city’s many tourist attractions, but also promote healthy lifestyles and raise awareness of bicycle safety throughout the region for avid and recreational cyclists. Join us for a leisurely, police-escorted, 15-mile ride through New Jersey’s historic capital city. More info, and registration info can be found here: http://www.trentoncycling.org/2012-trenton-bike-tour/

Questions? Comments? Need more information?

Visit our website at www.gmtma.org, or email rhersh@gmtma.org

Failing Grade for Mercer County Air Pollution

25 Apr

Mercer County New Jersey received a big fat “F” in Ozone air pollution and a “C” for particle pollution in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air Report: 2012.

Ozone and particle pollution are two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants. The pollutants come from many sources; a major one being vehicle exhaust. Exhaust contains particulate matter and the precursors for ozone (Nitrogen Oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) that when combined with sunlight create Ozone).

Why do we care that Mercer County received a failing grade for Air Pollution?

When you breathe in high levels of ozone it is like getting sunburn on your lungs. Also, constantly breathing particle pollution can lead to early death, heart attacks, strokes, and severe asthma attacks that require a hospital visit. Children, the elderly and sensitive populations like those with asthma are especially susceptible to poor air quality.

Everyone can make a difference. Across the United States, 127 million people live in counties that received failing grades for either Ozone or Particle Pollution. Each action like carpooling, riding a bike or using transit to get to work instead of driving alone will help decrease air pollution.

For information on how you can use an alternate form of commuting instead of driving alone please contact GMTMA

Ride the FreeB to Communiversity!

25 Apr

Don't get stuck driving in these crowds. Ride the FreeB to Communiversity!

With crowds expected to exceed 40,000 and multiple road closures planned at Saturday’s Communiversity festival in Princeton, avoiding downtown is a good idea. Fortunately, you can still participate in Communiversity without getting stuck in traffic or endlessly searching for scarce parking spots by taking the FreeB shuttle to town on Saturday.

The annual town and gown festival, Communiversity, is sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton and Princeton University and will run from noon to 5 p.m. Nassau Street will be blocked off from Washington Road to Chambers Street, and Witherspoon Street will be blocked off from Nassau to Wiggins.

The Princeton FreeB‘s regular route and schedule have been modified for the special occasion and will make loops through town between noon and 5 p.m., making stops at Elm Court, the Princeton Shopping Center, the Princeton Township Municipal Building and the corner of Witherspoon Sreet and Wiggins.

The route begins at noon from the Princeton Township municipal complex, continues down Witherspoon  to Wiggins/Paul Robeson, right, continue on Hodge to Elm, Elm to Elm Court housing, Elm Rd. to Mountain Rd., Rt. 206 to Valley, Valley to  Witherspoon, continue on Valley Rd. To Princeton Shopping Center. The bus returns via Valley to Witherspoon and the Township Municipal Complex. Additionally, the FreeB will make other stops along the route if it is safe for the driver to do so.

To view or print a copy of the schedule and route, go to Fesitval FreeB . For more Information, call Greater Mercer TMA at (609) 452-1491.

For a full schedule of Communiversity performances, vendors and community organizations participating, visit www.artscouncilofprinceton.org. Greater Mercer TMA will have a table at the event (booth #52) right next to the West Windsor Bicycle Pedestrian Alliance (booth #51). Come find us for info on Bike to Work Week, Safe Routes to School, carpooling, Ride Provide, green commuting options, and more!

Have You Signed Up for the Walking School Bus Webinar?

17 Apr

Don’t forget! This Thursday April 19, from 12:15pm – 1:00pm GMTMA is participating in a great FREE webinar on how to start a Walking School Bus in your town.

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, “All Aboard the Walking School Bus: Walking to School in a Safe, Fun, and Healthy Way,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, how Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are great for getting more kids to walk and bike to school, and how to organize them. You’ll also learn how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

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

To participate, all you need is a computer with an internet connection, and a phone line. Click here to register for this webinar.  If you have any questions or need more information, please let us know.

How often do you reach for your car keys?

17 Apr

If car keys are the first thing that you reach for when you leave your house, your recent trips to the gas station may have been quite shocking. As gas prices keep increasing more people are looking for alternatives to getting where they need to go.

Transportation options include finding necessities (food, family, work, etc.) closer to home so you do not have to drive as far or biking around town to do errands. Biking is a great option because 40% of trips made in the US are less than 2 miles. This distance is realistic for biking or a half mile or less is a nice walk. You can get your errands done and a great workout in the fresh air all at the same time. You won’t even need to make the extra stop at the gas station because your car is at home.

Other options include trying a carpool or vanpool, even if it is one day a week. GMTMA has a list of people looking for carpool and vanpool partners in our area. Register here to see if there is anyone with a commute similar to yours looking to share a ride. You never know how much money you can save if you don’t try.

All Aboard the Walking School Bus!

16 Apr

This Thursday April 19, from 12:15pm – 1:00pm GMTMA is participating in a great FREE webinar on how to start a Walking School Bus in your town.

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, “All Aboard the Walking School Bus: Walking to School in a Safe, Fun, and Healthy Way,” and during the 45 minute session, you’ll learn the basics of New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School program, how Walking School Buses and Bike Trains are great for getting more kids to walk and bike to school, and how to organize them. You’ll also learn how your TMA can help you get a program off the ground.

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

To participate, all you need is a computer with an internet connection, and a phone line. Click here to register for this webinar.  If you have any questions or need more information, please let us know.