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October is Walk to School Month

29 Sep

October is Walk to School Month! Walk to School Month is a great reason to plan fun and exciting walk to school events in your community. Communities and schools can use Walk to School Month as a step toward changing community culture and creating better options for getting around that are safer, healthier, and also fun and rewarding. In 2009, only 13% of children 5 – 14 years old in the United States, walked or biked to school. Walking to school can be a great way for children to get the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.

October 4 is International Walk to School Day which means that instead of taking the bus or being driven by Mom or Dad, you will likely see more students walking to and from school.  Walk to School Day is a global event where communities from over 40 countries walk and bike to school.

Let your student discover that the journey to school can start with their own two feet!  Here’s why that’s a great idea:

  • Get Exercise: Walking is a great opportunity for children to get the physical activity they need.
  • Get Outdoors: Walking and biking to school is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Help the Environment: Replacing car trips with walking or bicycling can reduce pollution from emissions, making it easier to breathe.
  • Make Your Community a Better Place: Walking and biking to school helps reduce congestion, especially around schools. Your neighborhood becomes safer, quieter, and friendlier and you get to know your neighbors and your neighborhood.
  • It’s FunMost importantly, walking to school is fun!  It can be a great way for parents to spend more time with their children or for students to start their day off on a high note by having fun with their friends before even getting to school.
  • It’s Good for Children: Walking is a great way to get to school alert and ready to learn.
  • It’s Easy to Organize Parent Led Walks:with our new NJ Walking School Bus App http://www.gmtma.org/pg-schools-walking-school-bus.php you can   search by elementary school for existing walking groups, create walking groups and invite neighbors to join, plan walks to and from school, assign parent leaders to walk with students, group text within the app, and alert parents when students have arrived safely at school.

Download the app:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/new-j…

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de…

GMTMA offers many other Safe Routes to School programs. To see how GMTMA can help you to make the trip to school safer, healthier and more fun in your community, contact us today at 609-452-1491 or email us at tma@gmtma.org. 

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West Windsor Joins State Safety Campaign to Reduce Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes

12 Sep

 

“Street Smart NJ” targets speed, distractedness and safety awareness for motorists and pedestrians

The Street Smart campaign kicked-off  today, Tuesday September 12, with earlier safety campaign efforts already being conducted by the West Windsor police through a Highway Traffic and Safety State Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Education & Education Fund Grant. At the event Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh emphasized the importance of understanding the laws and Chief Robert Garofalo reinforced the West Windsor Police commitment to keeping the community safe. Greater Mercer TMA executive director, Cheryl Kastrenakes, was also present at the event and recognized West Windsor’s commitment to motorist and pedestrian safety.

The Street Smart NJ campaign is a collaborative effort between public, private and non-profit organizations. Local police will be working with Greater Mercer TMA to educate the public on motorist and pedestrian safety laws through the end of October.

 

The campaign comes at a significant time. New Jersey is ranked 6th in the nation in pedestrian fatalities, according to 2014 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The federal government has designated New Jersey a “focus” state – placing an extra emphasis on aiding the state in combating its higher-than-average pedestrian fatality rate and providing funding for this campaign.

During September and October street signs, posters, tip cards and other educational materials will be visible throughout the community.  The campaign’s partners will also be using social media in an effort to raise additional awareness about its pedestrian safety efforts.

“We’ll be interacting with motorists to make sure they know and obey the law and stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk,” said Chief Robert Garofalo. “We’ll also be reminding pedestrians to use crosswalks, cross at intersections and use the pedestrian signal buttons when available.”

Officers will also address speeding and distracted driving and walking, which often contribute to crashes involving pedestrians.

Pedestrian safety is an ongoing challenge in New Jersey. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 28.7 percent of all crash related fatalities in New Jersey from 2011 through 2015, nearly double the national average of 15 percent.  From 2011 through 2015 772 pedestrians died as a result of pedestrian-vehicle crashes, according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey State Police. That translates into one death every 2.4 days.  In the past three years West Windsor has had 24 pedestrian involved motor vehicle collisions.

The statewide Street Smart NJ campaign is managed by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and began in 2013. The campaign urges pedestrians and motorists to “Check Your Vital Signs” to improve safety on the road. Motorists are urged to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians are told to use crosswalks and wait for the walk signal where applicable. A “Heads Up, Phone Down” message is included in the campaign to combat distracted driving and walking.

Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in helping to promote the Street Smart NJ message in West Windsor, should contact Greater Mercer TMA at 609-452-1491. To learn more about the campaign, visit gmtma.org/street-smart. The campaign is also on Facebook (facebook.com/gmtma/) and Twitter (@gmtma).

July 4th Travel Tips, Schedules, and Local Happenings

30 Jun

The 2017 AAA report  is out and it looks like a record number of people will be travelling this Independence Day. More than 85% (37.5 million) of you will take advantage of the extended weekend and choose to drive to your destination.

Photo credit: AAA

With so many people on the road, here are some summer driving tips to get you safely to your destination:

  • Get your car serviced before you go
  • Pack an emergency roadside kit
  • Buckle up, do not drive distracted or impaired
  • Stay alert, stop and rest if you feel tired
  • Don’t forget to check the car before you lock it, don’t leave your children or pets unattended in a parked vehicle

You can find a detailed summer driving tips list here.

During the 4th of July holiday public transit comes with many choices and special deals for those planning a getaway or just seeing the fireworks.

Check out some of these options for your holiday travel:

Bike shares are another way to get around in places like NYC, Princeton, and Philadelphia, and available in the following places:

Car-share options:

A great tool for anyone traveling, our traffic alerts for Mercer County and Ocean County  are always available at www.gmtma.org  and can be accessed on your mobile device (just not while you are driving).

If you didn’t make any plans yet, here is what’s happening in Mercer County  and in Ocean County.

Stay safe and enjoy your Holiday Weekend!

Memorial Day Transit Schedules

25 May

The AAA Memorial Day travel report is out and it looks like a record number of people will hit the road this year, 34.6 million people will drive to their destination.  If you are planning to take public transit to your destination instead, here are the schedules for Memorial Day.

 

Source:Newsroom.AAA.com

NJ Transit

Bus

Buses 600,601,605,606,607,608,609,613 will run on a Sunday schedule, no service for 603, 610, 611, 612, 619, 624 buses .

Rail

Early Getaway in effect Friday, May 26 with five extra trains departing New York between 1 PM and 3:30 PM, three trains departing New York between 4:30 and 5:30 PM will now add a Newark Airport stop, and trains 3867 (5:17 PM from NY), 3955 (5:43 PM from NY) and 3961 (6:39 PM from NY) are cancelled this day. Complete schedule available here.

Neighborhood  FreeB   – On Saturday May 27, 2017 the morning route will be detoured for the parade. Instead of traveling across Nassau Street, from Elm Road to Harrison, the bus will travel in both directions along Paul Robeson/Wiggins/Hamilton. It will serve Monument Hall/PSRC on the bus’s return trip to Elm Court. The bus will serve Spruce Circle on the outbound trip from Elm Court traveling towards the Princeton Shopping Center. The bus will turn in on Spruce Circle Drive for passengers.

Regular routing along Nassau will resume for the afternoon trips.

No freeB service on Memorial Day

Path

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

Route 130 Connection Saturday service starts at Town Center Plaza to Marketplace at 8:00 AM. Last trip from Hamilton Marketplace to East Windsor/Hightstown is at 2:50 PM. The Route 130 Connection does not operate on Memorial Day.

Stay safe and enjoy the long weekend!

Bike Commuter Journal – Getting Ready for Bike Month and Bike to Work Week

5 May

Bike Month is here and so far we have enjoyed really nice weather. Let’s hope the weather will be nice during Bike to Work Week as well. For those of you who are planning to bike to work or thought about it and don’t know where to start, we put together a list of things you need.

  • A bike that fits right and has a comfortable saddle; bike shops are best able to fit your bike to you.
  • A route you are comfortable with.  Choose roads with bike lanes and slower moving traffic when possible.  You can find biking maps on our websiteor Google bike maps.
  • Comfortable clothing– if you have a short commute (under 5 miles) you could ride in your work clothes.  Just go at a reasonable speed, adjust your gears depending on the terrain (you can push yourself on the way back from work if you want a little workout). If you can, leave some clothes at the office to make sure you always look your best.  If not here are some tips: If you do not have a shower at work you could get some Action Wipes, they will do the trick.
  • Invest in a pannier you can put you bag/backpack in so you do not have to carry it.  This is both practical and important for your safety since your hands won’t be busy holding things.
  • Plan ahead and learn what to carry with you just in case –Spare tubes and tools and know how to change a tire. You can learn here .
  • If your office does not have a safe storage spot for your bike, here’s somebike locking advice .

And last but not least  – safety tips:

Bicyclists

  • Follow all the rules of the road, including riding with traffic and stopping for signs and signals
  • Be predictable and signal your intentions to others – point right or left for turning, hand down for stopping
  • Be ready to stop at driveways
  • Make yourself visible, wear bright colors, something reflective, have a white light in the front of your bike and a red light on the back, mirrors, and bell
  • Wear a helmet

Be safe and have fun! And remember if you have questions or you need help choosing a route, you can always contact us .

And don’t forget to register for bike to work week, log your miles, and share your pictures and your experiences with us.

Happy Cycling!

 

This year’s Bike to Work Week Sponsors  Kopp’s Cycle, REI Princeton, Greater Mercer TMA, St. Lawrence Rehab Center, Sourland Cycles, and Whole Earth Center

Swap-a-Ride Re-branded as Bike to Food & Friends

24 Mar

All together – spring is coming, spring is coming, spring is coming! If we repeat that often enough, the snow will melt and spring will really be here, and along with spring comes – Bike to Work Week!

But what if you work at home? What if you no longer work? What if you haven’t yet started your working career?

Great news – you can still participate in Swap-A-Ride, now re-branded as Bike to Food and Friends!

Swap-A-Ride might sound like our Ride Provide program, where instead of driving your car we give you a ride in one of ours. It might also sound like our carpool program, where you swap turns driving, like giving your neighbor a ride this week, and they give you a ride next week.

Bike to Food and Friends clearly says you drive your bike instead of your car. You might go to the train station, maybe to dinner and a show in the city.

You might go to the grocery store.

You might go to the library for a study group session, or to donate used books.

You might go for a ride in the park with friends.

These are just examples – if you would have driven there in a car, but bike there instead, it counts as Bike to Food and Friends.

Now, aren’t you looking forward to spring even more? Stay tuned for how to sign up for Bike to Food and Friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete Streets Workshop Resources

3 Mar

On Tuesday, February 28, Greater Mercer TMA and the American Heart Association sponsored a Complete Streets Workshop in Ocean County.  The workshop featured panelists from the American Heart Association, AARP, AAA Northeast, NJDOT, Sustainable Jersey, FHWA, Bay Head and Brick Township.  Presenters discussed how and why complete streets improve livability, community health, safety, and congestion, while furthering sustainability and creating greater equity. Bay Head’s Mayor showed how complete streets have improved walkability and bicycling conditions in his community and Brick Township’s planner showed how Safe Routes to School programming contributed to the addition of thousands of feet of new sidewalks in Brick. The American Heart Association talked about the link between the increase in chronic heart disease, and the lack of sufficient physical activity in communities where walking and bicycling is not safe.  The workshop provided lots of information and resources to help anyone interested in implementing complete streets.

img_20170228_094708

We are very excited about the great interest in implementing complete streets, and we wanted to share some of the resources available to those interested.

  1. Complete Streets Toolkit from AHA and Voices for Healthy kids http://voicesforhealthykids.org/complete-streets/
  2. AARP Livable communities resources, making streets safer for older adults http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/archives/info-2014/complete-streets.html
  3. FHWA Residents Guide for Creating Safer Communities for Biking and Walking http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/archives/info-2014/complete-streets.html
  4. NJDOT policy and implementation guides http://www.state.nj.us/transportation/eng/completestreets/resources.shtm
  5. New Jersey Complete Streets funding and other resources http://njbikeped.org/funding-2/

We hope you find these resources useful! Please let us know if you have any questions or would like us to assist you with complete streets actions.