Walk and Bike to School Month was celebrated this past October throughout NJ with schools and communities participating in walk and bike to school days, walking school buses, walking contests and competitions as well as bike rodeos. Here are some highlights from Safe Routes Regional Coordinators from four of the state’s eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs). Check out how your school and community celebrated during this year’s October Walk and Bike to School Month!
HART – Hunterdon County
HART TMA which services Hunterdon County reported incredible participation of International Walk to School Day (IWalk) which included 12 participatory area schools, 1,120 students, 119 teachers/volunteers and 25 routes. HART was pleased that many schools experienced increases in the amount of participating students compared to prior years. Students also recognized their crossing guards, who helped facilitate the Iwalk, and had a lawn sign contest promoting walking to school.
Greater Mercer – Mercer and Ocean Counties
Greater Mercer TMA had double the participation rate for International Walk/Bike to School Day in both Mercer and Ocean Counties! This October, nine schools in Mercer and four schools in Ocean County scooted, biked, or walked during Walk to School Month.
Ocean Road School in Point Pleasant Beach, home to a 2015 Safe Routes to School bookmark contest winner, participated in a pedestrian and bicycle safety assembly followed by a Walk to School event the next day.
Lawrence Intermediate School’s “Walk This Way” program included a blind spot activity with Fed Ex trucks, a pedestrian safety quiz wheel, and a visit from Boomer, the Trenton Thunder baseball team mascot. Students split into groups and also completed a walkability assessment of their neighborhood to indicate obstacles for walking.
Slackwood, Johnson Park, and Ocean Grove schools had banners for walkers to sign. As students clambered to the table to sign up, they were awarded with stickers, reflectors, color-changing pencils, and other giveaways.
Keep Middlesex Moving – Middlesex County
Every October, Keep Middlesex Moving promotes safe, healthy walks to school on International Walk to School Day. This year’s event took place on October 7th and was a great success. Twenty schools throughout 12 towns took part, with 5400 students receiving stickers, reflective zipper pulls and “Walk Safe, Walk Fit” bookmarks. The bookmarks were created by Middlesex
County third graders during last year’s “Walk Safe, Walk Fit” contest. This event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of their participating schools and police departments, as well as the NJ Department of Transportation. This year, Dunellen saw an estimated 50% growth in
participation! Events in Metuchen and at Oak Ridge Heights School in Woodbridge support regular “Walking Wednesdays,” helping to make walking an everyday habit. Children in Metuchen, Highland Park, and Dunellen are all looking forward to a spring walking event during NJ Walk and Bike to School month in April.
Meadowlink – Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Passaic, and Union Counties
Meadowlink’s Safe Routes to School team connected with the borough of Haledon and the Haledon Public School administration in spring 2015. Together, they coordinated a timeline to launch a series of events to promote safe walking and
biking for students. The events included pedestrian safety assemblies and a bike rodeo on October 3rd. Overall, 300 students walked to school in October for International Walk to School Day. In November, the school planned to conduct a travel tally to find out how many students walk, bike, or use other means such as the school bus, a family vehicle, public transit, or carpool to travel to and from school. This data will serve as a baseline to track increased walking and biking in the future. The SRTS team will join with the PTA and law enforcement to participate in a Walkability Assessment in spring 2016. During this activity, the group will identify what improvements can be made along the main routes leading to the Haledon School.