As the fall season comes to a close across New Jersey, your Transportation Management Associations are busy working to improve mobility and sustainability.
In this issue, we share how they are accomplishing these tasks.
Essex County Seniors Participating in Ryde4Life Program Reached 3,000 Rides Milestone
In just six months, the number of rides provided to Essex County seniors has more than doubled from 300 to 600 a month. The program was launched by Essex County to augment the county’s par transit system. It is popular because the riders do not pay a fare, there are no reservation requirements, and they get a personal ride in a Lyft or Uber vehicle.
More than half the riders are from Newark, East Orange, and Irvington, and they also account for about 2,000 of the 3,000 rides provided. Two-third of all the trips are for medical purposes, including dialysis. Most of the riders are women – again about two-third. At an average cost of $16 per trip, the program is very cost-effective compared to par transit services. The rides are relatively short about six miles and take an average of 17-minutes.
The Ryde4Life program is available for all residents in New Jersey, 18 years or older. The service is open seven days a week, and rides can be scheduled between 8 am – 8 pm during the weekday and 8 am – 5 pm on weekends. In addition to Essex County, Township of Montclair, Affordable Housing Alliance, Ocean Community Economic Action Now, Inc., and Asbury Park Alliance participate in the program. For more information, please contact: Kinga Skora.
Hudson TMA hosts a Series of Fall Focused Programs
The Fall is the unofficial end of the street festival season in Hudson County with residents and visitors alike enjoying the beautiful weather and fun activities held across the County. The Hudson TMA staff hosted a kiosk at over 40 community fairs and festivals in the past year which provided visitors with helpful information on commuting options including bus, ferry, light rail and heavy rail, in addition to cycling, carpooling, van pooling and walking.
With school back in session, the Hudson TMA has also returned to Hudson County’s schools with our Walk to School program. Walk to School is a fun, interactive and educational presentation to promote the benefits of walking and is geared towards families with children in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. These presentations are kicked-off with a march to school led by our mascot, Buster the Bus and is accompanied by students and their parents/family members as well as school staff. In commemoration of Back to School in September and Walk to School Month in October, the TMA staff provided a record 23 presentations and walks to Hudson County youth!
Over the past few months, the Hudson TMA has been providing our Senior Pedestrian Safety program at senior centers across Hudson County. This interactive program helps seniors to understand the common dangers found on our roads and sidewalks while providing safety tips in order to reduce the high rate of senior pedestrian fatalities.
With programs offered to residents of all ages, the Hudson TMA has worked to improve safety, simplify travel, enhance the daily commute while also helping to protect the environment. While it has been a busy few months, it certainly has been worthwhile!
Hudson County TMA
Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey Grant will provide Funds for Patient Transportation
goHunterdon has been awarded a grant from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. The grant, made through The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, will fund Lyft rides for transportation-dependent patients of the Hunterdon Wound Healing Center. The goal of the project is to improve health outcomes, reduce emergency room visits, and hospital readmission rates by removing the transportation constraints that limit follow-up care. The project will also include tracking of several data points to evaluate impact.
goHunterdon will work in collaboration with Hunterdon Healthcare, the Hunterdon Wound Healing Center, and The Horizon Foundation to implement the project over the next 12 months.
The mission of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is to support organizations that make New Jersey healthier. Since its formation in 2004, The Foundation has awarded more than 1,500 grants and more than $56.9 million in support of non-profit organizations that have improved public health and the quality of life in New Jersey.
For more information, contact Tara Shepherd, Executive Director, email@example.com
Cross County Connection TMA Congratulates the 2019 Complete Streets Excellence and Champion Awardees!
Two organizations working in South Jersey and one project impacting the region received awards at NJDOT’s 2019 Complete Streets Summit in September.
The Circuit Trails Coalition received a Complete Streets Excellence Award for its efforts to construct a trail network for the Philadelphia region. The Circuit is a bold regional initiative, promising the Philadelphia metropolitan area a trail network that would total 800 miles and connect 11 counties in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Philadelphia area residents and visitors will be able to get out of their cars and explore the region’s rivers, greenspaces, neighborhoods and towns up close and personal. Cross County Connection is a proud member of the Circuit Trails Coalition.
The Delaware Valley Port Authority’s recently constructed Ben Franklin Bridge South Walkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Ramp, a Circuit Trail project, also received an Excellence Award. With the completion of this ramp, the bridge becomes an integral off-road connection, providing a fully ADA compliant multi-modal connection for visitors and commuters alike.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia received a Complete Streets Champion award at the summit. Their efforts and leadership have influenced the completion of many bicycle and pedestrian improvements in South Jersey. The Coalition played a crucial role in both the development of the Circuit Trail and the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge South Walkway.
Congratulations to all the winners in South Jersey!
Cross County Connection
Street Smart -
Pompton Lakes Campaign
The Borough of Pompton Lakes, the Pompton Lakes Police Department, TransOptions and other advocates held the pedestrian safety campaign, Street Smart, in the borough of Pompton Lakes through the month of October. Street Smart is a statewide public awareness campaign that combines educational outreach and high-visibility law enforcement to change behaviors as they relate to pedestrian safety. TransOptions lead the Street Smart effort in Pompton Lakes, after successfully completing similar campaigns across northwestern New Jersey and most recently concluding a campaign in Madison in September.
“Pompton Lakes is yet another community willing to put forth effort to enhance safety of its pedestrians and motorists alike. This helps New Jersey as a whole get closer to the ultimate goal of zero fatalities on our roadways,” said TransOptions President Dan Callas.
The Pompton Lakes Police Department conducted a "Cops in the Crosswalk" decoy program throughout the month of October. In addition, police handed out candy and raffle tickets to children/teens crossing at crosswalks to reward positive behaviors.
"Thank you to TransOptions, our police department, and the borough collectively for helping Pompton Lakes take active steps to keep our roadways safe,” said Michael Serra, Mayor of Pompton Lakes. “Crosswalk safety is a big concern for the town and will be heavily enforced. We hope that by taking precautionary measures we can prevent crashes and make Pompton Lakes a safer place for pedestrians and motorists.”
“Making Pompton Lakes a safe and walkable community is critical to supporting our economic development and quality of life initiatives in the business district. The Street Smart campaign will help educate residents and visitors on responsible behaviors as both drivers and pedestrians while helping to make Pompton a great place to live, work, and play,” said Erik DeLine, Councilman Borough of Pompton Lakes.
Street Smart focuses on safe travel roles and responsibilities for both pedestrians and motorists alike. Since its creation in 2013, more than 100 communities have participated in Street Smart NJ. Campaign signs are displayed on tip cards, posters and street signs throughout the community and in local businesses during the campaign as a visual reminder for drivers and pedestrians.
“TransOptions applauds Pompton Lakes for its efforts on pedestrian safety and we look forward to helping them on this campaign by conducting outreach and the education portion of the campaign,” said Laura Cerutti, TransOptions’ Street Smart project manager.
From 2014 through 2018, (January 1, 2014 - December 31, 2018), there were 10 crashes involving pedestrians in Pompton Lakes. Eight of those crashes resulted in injury, with one considered to be a “suspected serious injury.” That’s according to the most recent data available from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety and Rutgers Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT). In addition, Six of the crashes involved drivers who were inattentive, and three of the crashes involved pedestrians under the age of 17 who were struck when walking to/from school.
“Pedestrians and motorists must work together to prevent crashes,” said Ryan Cichon, Captain of Pompton Lakes Police Department. “The police department will utilize the Street Smart campaign for enhanced enforcement during the campaign to change roadway behaviors.”
Independence and joy through public transit: A conversation with Brandon Mora-Morales
Brandon Mora-Morales, a Hillsborough resident, recently learned how to ride the bus to his volunteer position at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset with help from RideWise’s TransitConnect program. Learning how to navigate the transit system has given Brandon the freedom and independence to travel throughout Somerset County. Linda Rapacki, marketing manager and travel trainer for RideWise, recently sat down with Brandon to discuss his travel training experience and how much it has helped him.
Linda Rapacki: How does using the bus help you live an independent life?
Brandon: It teaches me to be more independent by myself and not have to rely on my parents.
L: What is your favorite thing about the bus?
B: I like how I’m able to get to many different destinations and how the drivers are nice. And I can be out in the community. The buses are clean and the drivers and staff at Somerset County Transportation are nice. Sometimes I can use the time during the ride to check my messages, and check information about the sports teams I am on – Rider Unified Sports and Montgomery United.
L: What is your job as a Robert Wood Johnson Volunteer?
B: My job at the hospital is to clean the windows and the beds after a patient leaves the Physical Therapy area. I also help with paperwork and any other jobs requested of me.
L: What is your favorite part of being a Robert Wood Johnson volunteer?
B: My favorite part of being a Robert Wood Johnson volunteer is the connection I have with patients and staff. I would highly recommend others volunteer at RWJ because it is an awesome experience and a happy place, and there are many opportunities – not just being a doctor.
L: What would you do if you did not have the bus to get to work?
B: If I did not have the bus to get to work, I would have to pay more money for a taxi or not be able to go to work. That is unacceptable!
L: How has participating in the RideWise TransitConnect travel training helped you prepare for using the bus?
B: TransitConnect has helped me because I learned how to pull up bus schedules on my phone or how to call if the bus doesn’t come. Before you [Linda] taught me how to ride the bus, I was a little nervous and scared of riding the bus. TransitConnect helped me become more confident and independent.
L: What did you learn while participating in the TransitConnect travel training?
B: I learned how to be more responsible and take better care of my safety by crossing carefully at crosswalks. I press the button, wait for the walk signal, check to make sure the cars are stopped both ways and then walk across the street.
L: Would you recommend the RideWise TransitConnect travel training program to others?
B: I would recommend other people learn how to use the bus so they can be independent and get to where they need to go and get to their jobs.
Would you or someone you know like to learn how to ride the bus and use Somerset County transit? Call (908) 704-1011 x 18, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website to learn more about our TransitConnect program.
KMM hosts the Municipal Electric Vehicle Workshop
Widespread adoption of Plug-In Vehicles (PEVs) will bring significant social, economic, environmental, public health, and safety benefits, and can help create a stronger and more cost-effective public grid. But are New Jersey municipalities prepared?
On November 14, 2019, KMM hosted the Municipal Electric Vehicle Workshop at the East Brunswick Community Art Center and provided municipalities with the tools to draft and implement an electric vehicle plan in their respective communities. Leading experts including Senator Greenstein, Andrea Friedman (NJDEP), Tracey Woods (Sustainable Jersey), Jennifer Fogliano (NJTA), Mark Warner (Gabel Associates), Doug O’ Malley (Environment New Jersey) shared their expertise in pending State-wide legislative initiatives, the Volkswagen settlement and its impact on EV's, grant funding such as "It Pays to to Plug In" and tools to implement a readiness plan for local ordinances. The half-day workshop was followed by a Ride & Drive event hosted by Environment New Jersey which allowed attendees the opportunity to drive an electric vehicle.
“Municipalities around New Jersey are excited to learn how to make electric vehicles part of their transportation future,” said Bill Neary, Executive Director of Keep Middlesex Moving. “Most local governments are all in on electric vehicles, and this bill would set clear goals and make detailed plans for how we can get more zero-emission cars on the road as quickly as possible.”
The workshop provided supporters of the S2252/A4819 bill a chance to highlight its importance.
“Electric vehicles are here now, and New Jersey needs to do more to make it easier to plug in,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Electrifying our transportation sector is one of the most critical things we can do to fight air pollution and climate change. By taking steps to improve our EV infrastructure and accelerate the transition to electric transportation, New Jersey can create a roadmap for other states to follow. This needs to be a top priority for the Legislature during the lame duck legislative session. This bill (S2252/A4819) can make New Jersey a national leader but we need the Legislature to act in the next eight plus weeks.”
Senator Greenstein, primary supporter of the bill stated, “Climate change is already affecting New Jersey, and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are just making it worse. That’s why I’m pushing to pass this bill as quickly as possible. It will make it cheaper and easier for New Jerseyans to buy electric cars, find places to plug in, and will be a huge step towards reducing carbon emissions.”
Keep Middlesex Moving
Greater Mercer TMA
Recognizes Businesses, Colleges, Municipalities, and Community Partners at the
Annual Meeting and Luncheon
Greater Mercer TMA held its Annual Meeting and Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Princeton, on Friday, November 1, 2019. During the event, GMTMA recognized 28 businesses with the 2019 New Jersey Smart Workplaces Award and 16 municipalities and schools with the Safe Routes to School Recognition Awards.
Guest speaker at the event was Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti the New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner. A New Jersey native, she has more than 28 years’ experience as a transportation professional, and 34 years in government service. She has extensive executive, operational, and planning knowledge. Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti is behind NJDOT’s Commitment to Communities initiative to foster good relationships, listening and being responsive, making changes when warranted, and by embracing the concept that NJDOT is not just an agency that builds roads and bridges, but is truly a customer-service agency. At the GMTMA Luncheon, Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti recognized the role of the TMAs and other partners in the region by saying: “As you continue to put your programs together, as you continue to build that new bike/ped, as you continue to offer last mile transportation for so many, as you continue to address the needs of our seniors and those who have mobility issues based on no fault of their own, you do God’s work, you get people where they have to go, to the doctor, to some type of socialization. That is huge and you become unsung heroes for that part of the work that you do. (…) without the TMAs, without folks like you who are committed to take that micro-version of DOT , micro-version of transit and help us build those routes, help us build that network for our residents . Our communities, our neighborhoods - then NJ would be a much tougher place.”
GMTMA’s Executive Director Cheryl Kastrenakes also spoke at the event and announced the completion of GMTMA’s trail plan study. Kastrenakes stated that the plan’s goal was to “create a safe low stress option to motorized travel,” and showed the proposed long distance regional trail network “that would allow users of all ages and abilities to travel to the many destinations in the region.”
Kastrenakes and Board President Jack Kanarek then recognized businesses with the New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards. Each year, GMTMA recognizes employers who demonstrate leadership by providing and promoting quality commuter benefits to their employees, therefore reducing congestion and improving air quality with the prestigious New Jersey Smart Workplaces Awards.
The Safe Routes to School Awards are given to schools and municipalities for their commitment and support of the Safe Routes to School program. Elise Bremer-Nei, NJDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator presented the awards.
The 2019 awardees are:
A-1 Limousine Inc., Albridge an affiliate of Pershing LLC, BNY Mellon, Amazon, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Boston Properties, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Educational Testing Service, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst, Mathematica Policy Research, McMahon Associates Inc., Munich Re America, Inc., Municipality of Princeton NJ Department of Transportation, NRG, Princetel, Inc., Princeton University, Rider University, SRI International, The College of New Jersey.
Creative Click Media, Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, REI Princeton
Greater Mercer TMA, Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Whole Earth Center
Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceuticals
The Safe Routes to School Awardees are:
GOLD SRTS Recognition
Municipalities: Borough of Bay Head, Lawrence Township, Point Pleasant Borough, Municipality of Princeton, City of Trenton
Schools: Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School, Ocean Road Elementary School, Memorial Middle School
SILVER SRTS Recognition
Municipalities: Borough of Hightstown, West Windsor, Plainsboro
Schools: Ben Franklin Elementary School, Slackwood Elementary School, Lawrence Intermediate School
BRONZE SRTS Recognition
Municipalities: Ewing Township
Schools: John Witherspoon Middle School
In addition to the New Jersey Smart Workplaces award, Sustainable Princeton was also awarded the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Air Quality Partnership Award.
Greater Mercer TMA