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The New Kid on the GMTMA Block

10 Nov

David is the new mobility planning specialist at Greater Mercer TMA. David received his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with specializations in Political Science and Urban Planning; in 2015 he received his Masters of urban and regional planning from Hunter College in NYC.

 

We asked David a few questions to get to know him better and here is what he had to say:

What is your job at GMTMA?

My job is to help senior citizens, people with disabilities, or people with low incomes learn about and access secure and effective transportation.

What attracted you to this job?

We live in a very car-centric society; we’ve designed our roads and housing developments to be accessed by car. But, what happens when for whatever reason a person doesn’t have or can’t get that access? I want to make sure that those people also have effective options and are not stranded or isolated.

Why is transportation important for you?

Getting from place to place is something everyone has to do; whether we recognize it or not transportation affects everyone’s lives in one way or another. Helping someone learn how to get around may be helping them reconnect with a part of their life they’ve been missing and that’s a powerful thing.

What is a favorite thing about your job?

I like the number crunching route analysis but my favorite part is working with the people who use these services every day.

Something about your commute (walking, biking or using public transportation) or your hobbies:

New Jersey and Mercer County have a lot of natural beauty to offer. One of my biggest pieces of advice to anyone is simply to get out and explore; go by bus, car, foot, bike, or boat but get out there and reconnect with your communities. The more you do it the easier it’ll become.

What motivates you to want to change the way people commute? 

I am motivated by issues of equity, and equality of opportunity. It is our duty to make sure that people’s opportunities are not limited by who they are or where they happen to live.

Where do you stand on the climate change debate? Do you believe climate change is real? 

Climate change is real; scientists agree the climate is changing. Human activity is the main suspect. What are we going to do about?

What is your favorite movie? 

I’m a transportation nerd and an action movie fan so combine those two and you get movies like Speed with Keanu Reeves and Mad Max Fury Road.

Do you have a bumper sticker on your car? Is it anything related to the environment? Transportation?

“If we don’t change where we’re headed, we’ll get where we’re going.”

Favorite transportation/commuting story:

People should use NJTransit’s MYBus feature, it’ll tell you exactly when your bus arrives at your stop. Once I was connecting to a bus at a train station, it was a rainy day and my train was seriously delayed. I thought I was going to miss the last bus connection. We pull into the train station 30 minutes late and 5 minutes after the last bus was supposed to get there. I run down to the bus stop and immediately pull out my phone to see that my bus is also late. It was a huge relief and I knew right away that the bus was going to be there in a couple of minutes. Had I not known that the bus was running late I might have assumed that I missed the last bus and maybe left the bus station early. In this case MYBus saved MYBut.

Favorite commuting app/gadget

The new GPS tracking units now equipping every bus in NJ Transit’s fleet is a real game changer. You don’t have to wonder when the bus will get there and can now know for certain that the bus is coming and when. It takes a lot of stress out of using the NJ buses.

What else would you like to do if you were not working in transportation?

I want to spread the Trenton Tomato Pie concept to the rest of the US.

Pet Peeve: 

My pet peeve is a tendency that exists in a lot of people to jump to conclusions and make broad generalizations or assumptions.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to spend time with my new puppy and go on walks exploring Mercer County.

Favorite foods: 

Did I already say TOMATO PIE?

Thank you David and welcome to GMTMA!

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Greater Mercer TMA Awards Businesses, Schools and Municipalities for Leadership in Sustainability and Safety and Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh at the Annual Meeting and Luncheon

30 Oct

Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association (GMTMA), the Regional Transportation Management Association for Mercer and Ocean counties held its Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, Oct 27, 2017. During the event, GMTMA recognized 23 businesses with the 2017 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and Municipalities and Schools with the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Recognition Award.

Guest speaker at the event was Gary Toth, the director of transportation at the Project for Public Spaces. He has 45 years experience in transportation engineering and planning, 34 of them with the New Jersey Department of Transportation.  Toth talked about placemaking and transportation’s role in supporting people and place in our communities. To learn more about placemaking, go to https://www.pps.org/about/

Also speaking at the event, GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes highlighted GMTMA’s work over the last year.

Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized West Windsor Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh for his dedicated service and the following Schools and Municipalities for their efforts to implement SRTS programs with the Safe Routes to School Recognition:

Golden Sneaker Award:  Bay Head Elementary, East Windsor Township, Johnson Park Elementary, Riverside Elementary

Silver Sneaker Award: Hopewell Elementary

Bronze Sneaker Award: Maurice Hawk Elementary, Ocean Road Elementary

GMTMA awarded employers who demonstrated leadership by providing and promoting quality commuter benefits to their employees, therefore reducing congestion and improving air quality with the prestigious New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards. “It’s is impressive that so many of our awardees, even those already at the Platinum level continue to add more options for their employees,” said Kastrenakes.

The 2017 awardees are:

Platinum Level: A-1 Limousine Inc., Albridge an affiliate of Pershing LLC, BNY Mellon, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational testing Service, Horizon NJ Health, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, Munich Re America, Inc., Municipality of Princeton NJ Department of Transportation, NRG, Princeton University, SRI International, The College of New Jersey.

Gold Level:  University Medical center of Princeton at Plainsboro, REI Princeton

Silver Level:  Greater Mercer TMA, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Whole Earth Center

Bronze Level: Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals

Exhibitors at the event included Enterprise Rideshare, Zagster Bikeshare, DVRPC, NJTPA, AAA MidAtlantic,  and NJTIP@Rutgers, and Greater Mercer TMA.

Thank you to all the attendees and congratulations to the awardees.

 

 

Teen Driving Safety

20 Oct

National Teen Driver Safety week is coming to an end, but that does not mean that you can’t keep the conversation going and keep reminding your teen how to drive safely. You can get creative and send them emails, text messages, use social media, or leave sticky notes in the car. Keep reminding them the rules of the road:

  1. No Drinking and Driving.

Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix, no matter your age. Also remind them that driving under the influence of any impairing substance, including illicit or prescription drugs, could have deadly consequences.

  1. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Everyone—Front Seat and Back.

Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you’re in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it’s important to buckle up on every trip, every time, no matter what (both in the front and back seats).

  1. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time.

Remind your teen about the dangers of texting, dialing, or using mobile apps while driving. Have them make their phone off-limits when they are on the road and turn on the “Do Not Disturb” or similar feature on their phone. Distracted driving isn’t limited to phone use; other passengers, audio and climate controls in the vehicle, and eating or drinking while driving are all sources of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
Obey All Posted Speed Limits.

Speeding is a critical issue for all drivers, especially for teens who lack the experience to react to changing circumstances around their cars. Obey the speed limit, and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time the speed you’re driving doubles, the distance your car will travel when you try to stop quadruples.

With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen’s risk of a fatal crash goes up. NJ’s Law restricts passengers to 1 with exception for driver’s dependents.

  1. Avoid Driving Tired.

It’s easy for your teen to lose track of time while doing homework or participating in extracurricular activities, so make sure they get what they need most—a good night’s sleep.

And remind them that NJ’s nighttime driving restriction is 11:00PM to 5:00AM.

Stay safe!

 

Source: NHTSA.org

10 Fun Facts about Walking

13 Oct

Fall is here, the weather is nice and it is really pleasant to take a walk outside. Besides, the leaves are starting to change color which makes for a great view. Whether you take a walk during your lunch break, before or after work, or to and from work, walking is great way to increase your daily physical activity. And since sitting has been deemed the “new smoking”, the more you walk, the better your health.

  1. Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the U.S.
  2. To burn off a plain M&M candy, you would need to walk the length of a football field.
  3. The average human walking speed is 3.1 miles per hour.
  4. A typical pair of tennis shoes last for 500 miles of walking.
  5. Less than 50% of Americans exercise enough to see significant health benefits.
  6. Walking 6,000 steps a day will help improve your health and walking 10,000 will help you lose weight.
  7. A person walks 65,000 miles in their lifetime – that’s equivalent to walking three times around the earth.
  8. Walking increases blood flow to the brain and improves your mood.
  9. Walking for 10 miles every week would eliminate 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
  10. Walking an extra 20 minutes a day will burn 7 pounds of body fat per year.

Enjoy the weather, enjoy the view and stay safe!

Sources:

https://www.factretriever.com/walking-facts

https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/why-walk-fun-facts-for-motivation

Celebrate Car Free Day with GMTMA

18 Sep

September 22 is Car Free Day; an international event celebrated every year to encourage people to get Car Free or Car-Lite. You can walk, bike, take the transit, carpool, vanpool, or telecommute. As long as you don’t drive alone, you can participate in the Car Free Day event.

Look at it this way; you have to get to work, and you want to get your 30 min exercise anyway, why not combine them? Walk, Bike, take transit, carpool and go for a walk during lunch, telecommute and go for a walk/bike during lunch…you get the idea. You want to go green, you know it!  Take the pledge.

 

There are no medals or special recognition, we won’t make you attend special award ceremonies if you take the pledge, but we think this will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside!  You can do it all week, a few days, or just one day on September 22.  And if you are already Car Free or Car-Lite, please brag about it – take the pledge.

We will enter all the participants in a drawing for a token of appreciation – a bike commuter kit, complete with helmet, lights, water bottle, and reflective items.

Be part of a global movement to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. It counts, even for a day.

Start September with 5 Commuting Updates and Useful Information

1 Sep

 

  • NJ Transit restores full service. Phase One of Amtrak’s track renewal project is complete and NJ Transit will restore full service to and from Penn Station New York, starting September 5, 2017.  The alternate travel options, cross-honoring, and discounted fares will no longer be in effect after this date.  Cross-honoring with private bus carriers, NY Waterways, and Path will end on September 2, 3:00 AM.  New rail schedules are expected to take effect on September 5, 2017 and are available at njtransit.com. The freeB Commuter and Bank of America shuttle schedule changes will be available at gmtma.org starting September 2, 2017.
  • Avoid back to school traffic by carpooling. Check out the largest ridesharing network and register for FREE at njrideshare.org. After you register, sign up for the emergency ride home with your local TMA. Mercer and Ocean county residents can go to gmtma.org.
  • How to save about $2,000/year when you commute? Pack your lunch. Here are some lunch recipe ideas to keep your lunch box and your wallet happy.
  • Speaking of saving money, what’s up with the E-Zpass NJ-NY controversy?  Some commuters with E-ZPasses issued by other agencies other than MTA and travelling into NY were surprised to see they were not receiving a discount and were charged cash rates. MTA have a disclaimer on their website ( “E-ZPass rates apply only to customer tags issued by a New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (CSC), including MTA Bridges and Tunnels, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York State Thruway Authority, the Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Peace Bridge), and New York State Bridge Authority. Non-NY CSC customers will pay cash or Toll by Mail rates. Anyone, regardless of residency, can apply for a New York Customer Service Center-issued E-ZPass tag”) informing customers of this, but as it were the case, many NJ commuters were not aware of this because they purchased their passes with other agencies.  So, it looks like if you are commuting into NY from NJ, having an E-Zpass issued by MTA can save you money.  Transit, carpooling and vanpooling will save you even more.
  • NJ Transit cops are now wearing body cams when on patrol. According to an interview given to nj.com, an NJ Transit official said the cameras “will provide more transparency” and “de-escalate situations, minimize confrontation, and reduce civilian complaint.”

Enjoy the long weekend and be safe!

 

Sources:

http://www.njtransit.com/sf/sf_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=TrainTo

https://www.themuse.com/advice/52-creative-and-easy-lunch-ideas-thatll-make-your-coworkers-jealous

http://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/2017/08/how_to_save_money_during_the_e-zpass_border_war.html

“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Enforcement Campaign

25 Aug

The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) launched the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” national campaign on August 16, and the campaign will continue until September 4, 2017. The campaign and enforcement mobilization come as a response to the high number of traffic fatalities due to drunk driving. According to the NHTSA, drunk driving is one of the “deadliest and most often committed – yet preventable- of crimes” and a “serious safety epidemic in our country.”

Photo credit: nj.gov

 

New Jersey joined NHTSA in the prevention effort, and it is organizing sobriety checkpoints. The message is simple: if you drive impaired, you risk being arrested and spending up to $10,000 in associated costs.

We know we are saying this every year, but don’t be a statistic, do not drink and drive. Although the legal limit is .08 grams per deciliter, alcohol consumption affects people’s ability to drive in different ways. Alcohol is a depressant drug, and it reduces the speed of reaction, reduces concentration, impairs vision, and some people may feel over confident which may lead to making rash decisions and taking the risk of driving impaired.

That is why if you plan to have alcohol, you should plan ahead, designate a driver ahead of time, call a cab, or take public transportation; it is not worth taking the risk. NHTSA launched an app to help people plan ahead; it is called SAFERRIDE, and it is available on both Android and iPhone.

Other things you can do to help:

As always, be safe!