School is back in session and the New Jersey Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Regional Coordinators from the eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) throughout New Jersey are ready, willing and able to offer advice and technical assistance in kicking off Safe Routes to School programs in communities from all 21 counties.
The NJ Department of Transportation asked the SRTS Regional Coordinators to elaborate on a few of their many success stories, focusing on the impacts the SRTS program has had on increasing walking and bicycling to school, increasing participation in walk and bike events, and the importance of the role of the Regional Coordinator.
Several themes emerged resulting in five common themes:
- SRTS Program Growth and Expansion
- Sustainable SRTS Programs
- Progress in Disadvantaged Communities
- Mode Shift to Active Travel
- Broadening Outreach to Children with Special Needs
This latest scoop article will feature a few of our SRTS Regional Coordinators and how their involvement was able to contribute to Sustainable SRTS Programs.
New Providence School District runs a strong and comprehensive SRTS program with assistance from TransOptions, enthusiastic parent volunteers and supportive school principals and police. There are active walking school buses with multiple routes for hundreds of students and district-wide Walk to School Days.
The North Plainfield SRTS program started in 2010 with technical support from Ridewise to provide a wide range of programs such as safety seminars, Miles that Matter walking challenge and crossing guard appreciation awards. The hard work and coordination from Ridewise as well as commitment from school staff, administration, local police, PTA members and parent volunteers contributed to the success of the program, resulting in all four schools within the district passing school wellness policies.
In Manville, SRTS programs led by Ridewise, show their strong commitment to walking through monthly walk to school events and year-round walking seminars.
Stony Brook Elementary in Pennington has had a long partnership with Greater Mercer TMA and over the years as more programs were introduced and implemented, active transportation occurs without any special programs or incentives. Weekly Walking Wednesdays, safety programs and daily walking/biking travel cards are constants at Stony Brook, and students and families are dedicated to walking and biking to school.
Walking Wednesdays at Ross Street Elementary in Woodbridge was organized by KMM and has been running independently since 2012 with assistance from school staff and staff from the Woodbridge Housing Authority. The collaboration of the school and the township has been the key to its success.
Clinton Public School in Hunterdon County receives technical assistance from HART TMA and is committed to the SRTS program. The number of safety presentations has increased along with the number of students walking to school. Mary Bulger, PE teacher, is grateful for HART’s assistance. “HART has been vital to the success of the walk to school program at Clinton Public School and to an increased walking commitment overall. With 12 safety presentations offered over the course of the past two years, students now look forward with anticipation to next year’s lesson. Clinton Public School has seen an increase in students walking and biking to school. In the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year 50% of walking eligible students walked or biked to school. At the end of the 2013 school year nearly 66% of walking eligible students were recorded either walking or biking to school.” HART also uses its community-wide approach to the SRTS program in Frenchtown, engaging not only school administration
but also the mayor and chief of police – both of whom are dedicated to school route safety
Stay tuned for our next scoop article which will elaborate on how the SRTS Regional Coordinators have made an impact toward Progress in Disadvantaged Communities!