National Walk and Bike to School Day on October 10, 2018 was extra special this year in New Jersey! Lawrence Intermediate School’s Safe Routes to School program was enhanced by the attendance of New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. The annual event which is sponsored by St. Lawrence Rehabilitation, incorporates a fourth-grade walkability audit, bike and walk safety quiz questions from Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, and a blind spot exercise involving trucks led by FedEx.
Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti kicked off the event with opening remarks including a call for biking and walking safety in New Jersey. She also reflected on her own time as an Lawrence Intermediate School student. The Commissioner presented Governor Murphy’s New Jersey proclamation for Walk to School Month in October. Other walk celebrities and participants included St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center’s CEO Darlent Hanley, Lawrence Mayor Christopher Bobbitt, Lawrence police officers, NJDOT’s Elise Bremer-Nei, Mercer County Freeholder Pat Calovita, Jr., Terhune Orchards’ Pam Mount, and Trenton Thunder mascot Boomer.
“Safety in our transportation network is everyone’s responsibility. There is no substitution for awareness of your surroundings, whether in your car or bicycling or walking,” said Commissioner Scaccetti. “I want more school kids to feel comfortable and secure in walking or biking to their school. The NJDOT supports this through its Safe Routes to School program, which in turn supports programs like the one here at Lawrence Intermediate School. This is how school kids develop that situational awareness that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.”
Thank you to the NJ Department of Transportation and to Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association for their contributions to this article!!