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Calling All Artists Grades 3 – 5!

16 Feb

The fifth Safe Routes to School Bookmark Design contest is now underway.  Calling Mercer County and Ocean County students in third through fifth grade to show their love of walking by creating an original haiku poem and then illustrate it. The theme of the contest is “Write and draw about USING YOUR SENSES WHILE WALKING AND BIKING. What kind of things do you hear, touch, smell, or see?”

At the end of the contest, we will choose four winners, two from Mercer County and two from Ocean County. The winning bookmark design will be printed and distributed to area schools and local libraries.  The winners will also receive a $50 gift card each.

For more information about the contest, entry form, and the Safe Routes to School Program go to gmtma.org.

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Hello 2018!

19 Jan

And good bye 2017! Like most years, 2017 was filled with many good things along with some of the not so good things. Under the good things category, we have seen the expansion of the Princeton bike share, increased awareness for driver education to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety, complete streets adoption in many towns, and the launch of a comprehensive resource for commuters, the njrideshare.com website, among others. But the increase in traffic deaths in NJ, the need for more bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the poor state of our infrastructure, are some things we would like to see improve.

GMTMA staff hopes for 2018

So, filled with hope and positive outlook, we proceeded to ask the people in our office what would they like to see happen in 2018 and they had a few things to say. Here are some of the things we would hope to see happen in 2018:

  • Fewer cars idling, particularly in cars warming up, people on lunch break  (try not to use your car during your lunch break)
  • more employers promoting vanpooling as a way for their employees to commute to work
  • More women sign up for our Bike to Work Week challenge ( May 19 – May 23, 2018)
  • More children walking and biking to school
  • A NJT bus route from Little Egg Harbor Township, Via Manahawkin, Toms River to Princeton/West Windsor (OK, this one seems like a personal request)
  • A Vision Zero policy for any county or municipality or NJDOT
  • More complete streets projects implemented
  • The last unbuilt section of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail to be completed (won’t be 2018, but maybe by 2020)
  • A Mercer County trails plan
  • Princeton’s (Zagster) Bike Share system expanded into West Windsor and Plainsboro
  • Bike Share in Trenton
  • A Complete Streets policy for Ocean County
  • Fewer aggressive drivers!

We could go on, but we’d like to hear from you!  Let us know what your hopes are for 2018, send us an email or leave a comment on social media.

Happy and Safe New Year!

Winter Preparation and Safety Tips

12 Dec

Winter is here with cold days and more snow in the forecast. Whether you are dashing through the snow on four wheels, on two wheels, here some tips to keep you safe this winter.

Driving Tips

  1. Get your car serviced – get a routine maintenance and check for leaks, and parts that need repairs or replacements
  2. Check for recalls – nhtsa.gov/recalls , if your vehicle is under recall, go to the nearest dealer and get it fixed for free.
  3. Know your car – features to know available here
  4. Wipers and defrosters – check your wipers and replace worn blades, check if the defrosters work properly
  5. Tires – some manufacturers recommend replacing the tires every 6 years. Check to see if they have uneven wear or insufficient thread. Learn how to measure thread
  6. Stock your car with shovel, broom, ice scarpers, jumper cables, flashlights, blankets, and emergency markers.
  7. Stay alert and don’t drive distracted or under the influence

Biking Tips

  1. Layer up but do not overdress – look for clothing that is designed to keep you warm without being too bulky and make you sweat. Many stores sell active wear clothes that are both fashionable and functional. Cover your head, your extremities and your ears, and wear clear glasses to protect your eyes.
  2. Wear something bright and equip your bike with good lights (flashing lights have a great battery life but the high powered ones can blind the motorists behind you), it will keep you safe during low visibility conditions.
  3. Equip your bike with wide tires (studded winter tires are best for icy conditions) and shoes with threaded sole so you won’t slip when you break or stop at a light and you have to put your foot down.
  4. If possible, pick streets that will minimize your contact with cars.
  5. Think safety first! – Use your judgment in snowy, slippery and/or low visibility conditions, actively manage risk through strategies to avoid travel, minimize contact with other traffic and/or make yourself as visible as possible through proper lane positioning

Stay safe!

 

Sources: https://www.nhtsa.gov/winter-driving-tips

Gobble, Gobble, this Thanksgiving Don’t Get in Travel Trouble

17 Nov

The AAA report is out and it looks like a record number of people will be travelling this Thanksgiving weekend, 50.9 million to be more exact. With so many people on the roads we wanted to share a few driving safety tips and other helpful information regarding public transit and area airports.

If you plan to drive this Thanksgiving weekend here are some safety tips:

  • Get plenty of rest before you start your trip
  • Make sure that everyone is buckled up
  • Keep your focus on the road, and don’t drive distracted
  • Expect traffic and be patient
  • Make sure your car is ready, tires inflated, windshield wipers work, have a tune-up before you plan to travel
  • Check the weatherroad and traffic conditions
  • Keep a first aid kit in your car
  • Carry an emergency kit in case of inclement weather, flashlight, bottled water, blankets, food, flares, snow shovel, jumper cables, ice scraper

If you are planning to travel by train or bus, these are the Thanksgiving schedules:

Northeast Corridor Rail will be operating on Weekend/Holidays Schedule. Rail Schedule available here.

Mercer County Bus Service

The following buses will operate on a Sunday Schedule: 600, 601, 605, 606, 607, 608, 609, and 613.

There will be no service on 611, 612 will operate on weekday schedule, 619 on Saturday schedule, and 624 on Holiday schedule.

NJ Transit bus schedules are available here.

NJ Transit early getaway service information available here.

FreeB Commuter and FreeB Neighborhood will not operate on Thanksgiving Day

Ocean Ride

Will not operate on Thursday, November 23 Thanksgiving Day

Riverline will operate on a Sunday Schedule.

SEPTA

Thanksgiving Day – Thanksgiving Parade

Buses, Trains, and Trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule due to the holiday

Black Friday

City Transit Routes will operate on a Modified Weekday schedule Friday, November 24
Black Friday

SEPTA schedules available here.

PATH

Thanksgiving Day – Thursday, November 23, 2017

Saturday Schedule

Journal Square-33 Street (via Hoboken) and Newark-World Trade Center lines in service.

Day after Thanksgiving – Friday, November 24, 2017

Modified Weekday Schedule*

All 4 lines operate on a 10-minute schedule during daytime and early evening hours.

PATH schedules available here. 

Amtrak

Special Northeast Thanksgiving schedules available here.

Airport Information

Newark Liberty Airport or on Twitter @NY_NJAirports

Philadelphia International Airport  or on Twitter @PHLAirport

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Source: http://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/11/nearly-51-million-americans-travel-thanksgiving-highest-volume-dozen-years/

 

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!

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.

 

 

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