Walk and Bike to School Month was celebrated throughout New Jersey 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 summaries from the Safe Routes to School Regional Coordinators from four out of our eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) from across the state.  Check out what your school and community did for NJ April Walk and Bike to School Week!

Oak Knoll Elementary School's Walking School Bus

Oak Knoll Elementary School’s Walking School Bus

Cross County Connection’s SRTS Coordinator conducted a bike rodeo in Collingswood in conjunction with the Green Festival.  Gibbsboro School had their monthly walk to school day, and Oak Knoll School in Monroe Township held their first Walk to School Day on Earth Day.  Pedestrian safety programs were conducted at Oak Knoll School as well as at Van Zant Elementary in Marlton, Marsh Elementary in Absecon, Broad Street School in Gibbstown, Texas Avenue School in Atlantic City, Lawnside Public School and National Park Elementary in National Park.  A bike rodeo in Von Neida Park in Camden taught students bicycle safety skills which they used for an obstacle course during the rodeo.

HART TMA’s Hunterdon County Safe Routes to School Program encouraged more than 1,000 students to walk or bicycle to school during their Walk to School Week in April.  Here are highlights from some of the participating schools in Hunterdon Mounty:

–          Barley Sheaf Elementary School celebrated Hunterdon County Walk to School by launching their spring walking school bus program, increasing the number of walking routes from three to four this year due to the growing popularity of the program.  They also expanded the number of days of the week that the walking school bus program is operating.

–          Bloomsbury Elementary School kicked off the week with a walking school bus increasing the participation rate more than 50% and with a rise in participation from last year.

–          Califon Public School students walked/biked to school as part of Walk to School Week. Students were encouraged to take advantage of the regular “Walking Wednesday” walking school bus or ride their bike to school. Califon Public School’s faculty, volunteers and administration all took part in the walking school bus program and greeted students as they arrived to school. Carrying on a Califon Public School tradition, all students that participated in the walking school bus had their names read during morning announcements.

–          Frenchtown Elementary School, led by Principal Christina Dalla Palu launched their largest walking school bus program to date.  Frenchtown Elementary School also celebrated a school wide walkathon, which reinforced the importance of walking to school and how to do so safely.

–          Hampton Public School celebrated Hunterdon County Walk to School Week by launching their spring walking school bus program.  Hampton Public School introduced their first “Pre-Testing Walking Club” to stimulate student’s minds and energize their bodies before sitting down for testing.

–          High Bridge Elementary School participated in their first ever celebration of Hunterdon County Walk to School Week. All High Bridge students that participated received an “I-Walked” certificate as well as a sneaker keychain.

–          Lambertville Public School used Hunterdon County Walk to School Week to re-open their four route walking school bus program and students were joined by teachers, volunteers, and school administration.

Lebanon Borough School didn't let rain stop them from walking to school during the week

Lebanon Borough School didn’t let rain stop them from walking to school during the week

–          Lebanon Borough School kicked off their walking school bus program during Hunterdon County Walk to School Week. Joining the Lebanon Borough students this year, were teachers, administration and NJ State Troopers. The walking school bus tradition at Lebanon Borough School continued with the longest tenured Walking School Bus participant given the honor of carrying the walking school bus banner.

TransOptions:  Covering Morris, Sussex, Union and Warren counties, the SRTS Regional Coordinator from TransOptions TMA worked with municipalities in Chatham, Hanover Township, Millburn, Netcong, New Providence, Newton and Ogdensburg to assist with organizing walk and bike to school events throughout April.  In Chatham, all five elementary schools and the Middle School participated in walk to school events.  Over 1.000 students walked or biked to school throughout a week in April in New Providence while approximately 500 students walked or biked to school in Hanover Township.  Netcong and all five of Millburn’s elementary schools joined in walk

Students from Ogdensburg proudly display their posters

Students from Ogdensburg proudly display their posters

to school days with Newton continuing Walking Wednesdays.  A SRTS Poster Contest in Ogdensburg had over 100 students

submit posters describing why they walk to school and how it benefits them and their environment as well as walk to school Fridays using their walking school bus routes.

Ridewise: The SRTS Regional Coordinator from Ridewise services Somerset County where Sparky the Somerset Patriots mascot joined close to 200 students in North Plainfield for a walking school bus event.   Their walking school bus which has run for five years also includes an educational component on pedestrian safety procedures and identifying and responding to walking challenges occurring while walking to school.  Joining the students and Sparky this year were Mayor Giordano, Superintendent McLaughlin and school administrators and staff.

Sparky joined West End students in North Plainfield for a walking school bus event

Sparky joined West End students in North Plainfield for a walking school bus event

Stayed tuned for part two of Walk and Bike to School Month when we will feature SRTS Regional Coordinator events from our other four TMA’s – Greater Mercer TMA, Hudson TMA, Keep Middlesex Moving and Meadowlink’s ezride which services Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Passaic and Union Counties.  If you don’t see your school or community listed contact a SRTS Regional Coordinator covering your community who can assist with a walking and bicycling to school event!