NJ SRTS Resource Center staff Leigh Ann Von Hagen and Sean Meehan, together with partners from the Plainfield Public School District and the City of Plainfield, received a 2017 NJ Future Smart Growth Award for the state’s first district-wide school travel plan. The plan resulted from a fall 2016 graduate studio at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. Students, working with their advisors and school/municipal clients, created the plan through a thorough examination of the city’s history, demographics, transportation data (including crash data), and city and school cycling and walking policies.

Their work entailed the collection of primary data on arrival and departure modes of students at various schools, a survey identifying high-priority issues, and interviews with principals to understand school specific transportation concerns. The team conducted an extensive public involvement process to inform a prioritized action plan and recommendations to address safety issues, advance an education and enforcement campaign, and evaluate results. Specific intervention plans detailed steps to improved safety and walkability at five high-need intersections.

Plainfield_School_District_Travel_Plan-2016-1-195x151The plan has already yielded results as the City used the report to apply for and receive a $304,000 Safe Routes to School infrastructure grant. NJ Future recognized how the work undertaken by Resource Center staff and Bloustein students to promote Safe Routes to School efforts contributes to Smart Growth.

The report can be viewed here.

For more information about the project, see NJ Future 2017 Smart Growth Awards.