Safe Routes Scoop
Welcome

We know that walking and biking are good for exercise and health. We also know that by replacing a car trip with a walk or a bike ride, we are doing something good for the environment. So why do we still drive our kids to school?

 

Often the answer isn’t because we don’t believe in healthy habits or a clean environment. It’s because we are not comfortable with the situation. Sometimes, it’s about lack of sidewalks or bicycle facilities. Sometimes, it’s because of concerns over crime or stranger danger. Sometimes it’s because of speeding cars and busy street crossings. Sometimes it’s about getting kids out the door in time. Sometimes it’s all of the above.

 

In this issue of Safe Routes Scoop, we tackle these barriers with some potential solutions. In “Slow down, You Move Too Fast”, we address speeding in neighborhoods and provide some ideas on how to slow motor vehicles. In “Get on the Walking Bus” we describe how a walking school bus can help your kids travel to school in a healthy and safe manner. In “Traffic Safety Officers Go to School” we discuss how police can work with your Safe Routes to School program.

 

In July, $4.15 million in Safe Routes to School grants were awarded to 29 communities throughout the state. Winning projects were varied; they included sidewalk improvements and extensions, intersection upgrades, traffic calming, lighting, driver feedback signs, bicycle and pedestrian safety programs, walking school buses, and an innovative "Newspapers in Education" program.

 

Many of these first grant recipients are getting their Safe Routes to School projects off the ground. Each of the grantees is in a different stage of their program; while some are still in the early phases, one recipient has already finished. The launch of Garfield’s “Newspaper in

Education (NIE) Program” in The Record and Herald News has been a success (see Get Up and Go in News Briefs). This program created in-paper student activities centered on safe bicycling and walking strategies. Each time this special newspaper insert ran, it reached more than 30,000 students in the North Jersey area.

 

While getting a Safe Routes to School project off the ground can be a long process filled with hard work and unforeseen obstacles, the experience in Garfield has shown us that all the energy put into these programs pays off in the end. With the success of Garfield’s “Newspaper in Education” program, I look forward to the completion of many more innovative and exciting programs.

 

I hope you enjoy this issue of New Jersey’s Safe Routes Scoop and find it both useful and informative.   As always, we welcome your questions and comments. If you or someone you know has interest in contributing an idea or article, please email us at srts@rci.rutgers.edu.

 

—Elise Bremer-Nei,
NJDOT Safe Routes to School Coordinator

 

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