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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.

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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.

World Day of Remembrance

18 Nov

This Sunday, November 20th is World Day of Remembrance, a day to remember Road Traffic Victims.

Observed in many countries around the world this day is dedicated to remembering traffic victims killed in road crashes, the families who are left to grieve the sudden loss of a loved one, and to pay tribute to the emergency response crews who respond to these crashes.

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Traffic crashes are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and speed is involved in 1/3 of the traffic deaths.

The Vision Zero Network and the National Coalition for Safer Roads have released a National Speed Fatality Map to highlight the significant role that speed plays in road crashes. You can find the map here http://ncsrsafety.org/

New Jersey has adopted the national vision for highway safety – Toward Zero Deaths: A National Strategy on Highway Safety (Toward Zero Deaths). This calls for a national goal of reducing the number of traffic fatalities by half by the year 2030. Toward Zero Deaths is based on the principle that even one traffic death is unacceptable. More information on New Jersey’s plan can be found in the 2015 New Jersey Strategic Highway Safety Plan

We at GMTMA are doing our part to keep our roads safer, working with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority to coordinate Street Smart pedestrian and motorist education campaigns in communities in Mercer and Ocean Counties. In October, GMTMA completed the first phase of the campaign in Princeton.

How can you do your part? Make a commitment to safety, share the message, and please stay safe.

Sources:

http://worlddayofremembrance.org/

http://visionzeronetwork.org/

http://ncsrsafety.org/

New Jersey Electric Vehicle Incentives

11 Nov

Recent New Jersey electric vehicle incentives have made it more enticing than ever to invest in green transportation. Through a triple bottom line lens, or options that are good for People, Planet, and Prosperity, electric vehicles are a worthy alternative to typical fuel guzzlers. A NJ Spotlight article quoted a study that found “by 2050, the state could avoid more than $4B in healthcare and climate costs if it can convince motorists to switch to electric vehicles.” An October 31 conference hosted by St. Peter’s University Hospital and Keep Middlesex Moving delved deeper into the issue.

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There are direct benefits from emission reduction. Over half of the state’s carbon dioxide output derives from transportation. Cleaner air will reduce both asthma and other poor air quality days within the state.

Evidence shows people want electric vehicles. Seen in a “State of the State” presentation, preference for electric is at a rate three times more than hybrids. Batteries are being produced more cheaply than ever and models like the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 are affordable enough to bring EVs to a wider market.

The state is striving to increase the number of charging stations available. Princeton’s Peacock Inn just installed a Tesla charger and Hamilton Marketplace has operated a Tesla Supercharger over the last two years. Last summer, Quakerbridge Mall unveiled the state’s first EVGo charger that can charge two vehicles within 30 minutes. Projects like these reduce “range anxiety” felt by drivers looking for sufficient charge for traveling.

A repeated theme of the conference was that public and private partnerships were essential for instilling electric car opportunities in NJ. PSEG spearheaded a utility effort and controls over 100 of the 400 current stations. The New Brunswick Parking Authority has incorporated a test “Juice Bar” in the Gateway Garage and St. Peter’s Hospital has provided electric stations for its employees. The Clean Communities Coalition aims to affect state policies. There is already a $7,500 federal tax credit for drivers of All-electric or Hybrid Plug-in vehicles. For companies in NJ wishing to upgrade their facilities, there is over $725,000 in grants in the “It Pay$ to Plug-In” program.

In the near future, plugging in your car overnight will become as routine as charging your phone.

Note: A few days ago, we learned from a NJ Spotlight article that NJ will be part of “Charging Corridors” and locating chargers every 50 miles on I-80 and I-95.

GMTMA Recognizes Businesses, Schools, Municipalities, and Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of RideProvide

2 Nov

Greater Mercer TMA held the 32nd Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, Oct 28, 2016. During the event, GMTMA recognized 21 businesses with the 2016 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and six Municipalities and eight Schools with the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Recognition Award. GMTMA also celebrated the 10th anniversary of its RideProvide transportation program for seniors and visually impaired adults.

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Guest speaker at the event was Scott Bogren, Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Executive Director. Bogren talked about the need to broaden the definition of public transit to make sure that people understand that trips to healthcare, education, and not just to work, are part of the network of what we think of as transit. Bogren also underlined the importance of supporting services such as RideProvide, given the fact that in the United States, “10,000 people will turn 65 every day, for the next 20 years and that almost 1 in 5 people in the U.S. have a disability.”

Also speaking on the importance of transportation to our communities, GMTMA Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes said to the attendees: “Whether your business is healthcare, education, finance, or pharma, we understand the importance of transportation to your business, to employees, clients, students, patients, and to our communities. We know that is so necessary to have a safe, efficient, and equitable transportation system, for the health of our economy and livability of our communities.” Kastrenakes also, highlighted the increase in demand for services like RideProvide, and the need for more options for people who cannot drive and talked about how much the demand has increased over the last few years: “Ten years ago, we started with a couple of donated used vehicles, volunteer drivers and a handful of riders. Today we have 11 staff drivers, a fleet of 7 cars, and last year we provided over 15,000 trips and demand just keeps growing. “

Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized the following Schools and Municipalities for their efforts to implement SRTS programs with the Safe Routes to School Recognition:

Gold Sneaker Award: City of Trenton, Lawrence Township, Princeton Township, West Windsor Township, and Bay Head Borough.

Silver Sneaker Award: Brick Township, Lawrence Intermediate Elementary, Johnson Park Elementary (Princeton), and Riverside Elementary (Princeton).

Bronze Sneaker Award: Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary (Trenton), Paul Robeson Elementary  and Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School (Trenton), Slackwood Elementary (Lawrence), Community Park Elementary (Princeton), and Wicoff Elementary (Plainsboro).

Every year, GMTMA recognizes employers who demonstrate 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.

The 2016 awardees are:

Platinum Level: A-1 Limousine, Albridge, an Affiliate of Pershing, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg LP, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational Testing Service, Horizon NJ Health, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson Controls, Munich Reinsurance America, Naval Airfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, New Jersey Department of Transportation, Princeton University, SRI International, and The College of New Jersey.

Gold Level: Municipality of Princeton, Princeton Healthcare System, REI Princeton

Silver Level: Greater Mercer TMA

Bronze Level: Johnson & Johnson

Congratulations to all the awardees!

It’s Time to Apply for the NJ Smart Workplaces Award

5 Aug

Applications are now being accepted for the 2016 New Jersey Smart Workplaces (NJSW) awards. NJSW recognizes and honors employers who help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by providing commuter benefits to employees. Employers of all sizes are eligible to apply. Applying is easy and chances are that employers already provide some of the things that qualify them for this designation. Employers are recognized at one of four levels of achievement: bronze, silver, gold or platinum based upon the programs offered at the worksite.

 

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Bronze Level

Employers must complete FOUR of the following activities:

  • Establish and maintain a relationship with a local Transportation Management Association (TMA).
  • Designate an on-site point of contact for employee commute inquiries.
  • Place alternative commute information in new-hire packets. (Contact us at tma@gmtma.org to receive alternative commute information)
  • Encourage employees to register for TMA traffic alerts or 511NJ.org or disseminate traffic alerts to your employees.
  • Provide access to a site-specific commuter information display.
  • Regularly promote commute options and TMA incentives through regular memos, postings, e-mail, Intranet or other employee communications.
  • Encourage employees to register their alternate commute with a local TMA.
  • Host at least one commuter information event at your worksite.
  • Host at least one vanpool or carpool formation meeting at your worksite.
  • Host at least one TMA Lunch and Learn presentation.
  • Offer an informal flextime program.
  • Offer an informal telecommuting program.
  • Working with a TMA, conduct an employee commute survey.

Silver Level

Employers must achieve Bronze and complete three of the following activities:

  • Host or sponsor TMA events/programs such as National Bike to Work Month, National Walk Month, Car Free Week, or Distracted Driving Awareness Week at the worksite.
  • Provide financial or staff assistance for TMA-sponsored community events.
  • Host two or more commuter information events at your worksite.
  • Host two or more TMA Lunch and Learn presentations.
  • Host two or more on-site vanpool/carpool formation meetings.
  • Provide a designated outdoor bicycle parking area or an appropriate indoor area.
  • Provide employees access to basic bike maintenance tools.
  • Provide preferential parking for vanpoolers or carpoolers.
  • Offer a formal flextime program.
  • Offer a formal telecommuting program.
  • Offer a formal compressed workweek policy.
  • Provide pretax payroll deductions for commuting cost for employees (vanpool, transit and/or bicycle commuters).
  • Provide Emergency Ride Home for employees who have exceeded the maximum number of TMA-provided rides.
  • Sell transit passes on site.
  • Provide on-site amenities such as food service, dry cleaner, ATM/bank, sundries or showers.
  • Implement a teleconference policy.

Gold Level

Employers must achieve FIVE Bronze Level activities and five Silver Level activities.

  • have met the requirements for the Gold Level NJ Smart Workspace.

Platinum Level

Employers must achieve Gold and implement a comprehensive site-specific alternative commute program such as:

  • Telework or compressed work week program that reduces commute trips by 3%.
  • A monthly employer subsidy toward transit passes.
  • A monthly employer subsidy/benefit for employees who carpool or vanpool.
  • Partnering with local gyms, Ys, or other groups to provide off-site showers.
  • Supplement parking by partnering with local organizations to create private park and rides.
  • Provide fleet of bicycles for employee use or rental.
  • Provide an employer-subsidized shuttle.
  • Provide electric vehicles for employee business use.
  • Provide electric vehicles and charging stations for employee use.
  • Contact your TMA for more suggestions.

The program is a partnership of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Association and the state’s Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). Greater Mercer TMA is the program’s coordinator in Mercer and Ocean counties.

There are no costs associated with this prestigious designation and all awardees will be featured on our website. Go to www.gmtma.org  to register online.

If you are not sure you qualify or you have questions about the program, please contact us at tma@gmtma.org . All NJSW awardees will be recognized at Greater Mercer TMA’s Annual Luncheon in October.

Greater Mercer TMA Recognizes REI Princeton with the Employer Wheels Award

18 Jul

Greater Mercer TMA (GMTMA), League of American Bicyclists, and New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition staff were at REI Princeton for a celebration event on July 15. REI Princeton received two awards for their efforts to support bicycling in our community and among their employees.

GMTMA’s Employer Wheels Award was presented by Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes to REI for winning the Bike to Work Week Employer Challenge held from May 16 – May 20. A team of 13 REI employees participated in the Bike to Work Week challenge and together they biked 532.2 miles.  “REI Princeton’s support of biking to work makes it possible for their enthusiastic employees to commute by bike.  Encouragement and amenities for biking at the corporate level get more employees out of their cars.  We can’t wait to see how many miles they ride during bike to work week next year!” said Kastrenakes.

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The second award was the League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly Business” designation for providing safe accommodations and encouraging people to bike for both transportation and recreation. “The League of American Bicyclists is pleased to welcome REI-Princeton as a Bicycle Friendly Business.  In the short time REI has been in Princeton, the business has become an important asset to the surrounding community through its support for bicycling and the benefits it brings.  REI-Princeton joins hundreds of leading businesses across the nations that are transforming their communities by creating more bicycle-friendly destinations and workplaces. The League congratulates Colin Manning and Liz Usmiani of REI-Princeton for taking the lead by encouraging staff to ride their bikes to work and actively engaging with local advocacy organizations such a New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, Lawrence Hopewell Trail, and West Windsor Bike and Pedestrian Alliance, and Greater Mercer TMA; groups that working to make New Jersey a better place for all citizens.  ” said the League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors Chair, Karen Jenkins.

REI is one of the two businesses in Mercer County to receive recognition, and the only one to receive Gold level recognition from League of American Bicyclists and one of the 9 businesses who participated and logged their miles during the GMTMA Bike to Work Week event.  “At REI, we seek to inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. REI Princeton is proud to have a staff that lives these values everyday by bicycle commuting throughout the year. We support the local cycling community by volunteering at charity bike rides, offering free bike maintenance classes and supporting multi-use trails through our community grant program. We are honored to receive the Employer Wheels Award from Greater Mercer TMA and Gold Bike Friendly Business designation from the League of American Bicyclists. We hope it inspires more people to get outside and ride.” said the REI Princeton Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator, Liz Usmiani.

NJ Bike & Walk Coalition congratulated REI- Princeton on becoming a gold level Bicycle Friendly Business and for receiving the Employer Wheels Award from Greater Mercer TMA. “REI joins only three other businesses in the state in becoming a BFB.  REI has clearly demonstrated that bike commuting to the Mercer Mall is safe, efficient, fun and a healthy alternative to driving. NJBWC is proud to have REI as a sponsor and congratulates them for setting an example for other businesses near the Lawrence Hopewell Trail.” said Cyndi Steiner Executive Director, New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

Congratulations REI Princeton and keep it up!