Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program

Photo of school children crossing street with crossing guard in the fall with leaves on the ground

Bringing Safe Routes to your Community

In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Meadowlink provides Safe Routes to School programs to schools and municipalities.  Our goal is to assist communities in Bergen, Essex, Monmouth, Passaic and Union County in developing and implementing programs to encourage walking and bicycling to school in safe manner. Safe Routes to Schools is a nationwide initiative addressing many of the health and safety issues children are facing on a daily basis.

Why we do what we do?

  • In 1969, 48% of students walked to school. In 2001, only 15% walked.
  • The prevalence of overweight children has tripled
  • Asthma rates in children have increased 160% in the past 15 years
  • Formerly “adult onset diabetes” is now referred to only as Type II diabetes due to the rising rates in children
  • Today’s children may be the first generation in a century to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents

The Benefits of Safe Routes to School

  • Healthier happier children
  • Kids arrive at school on time, alert and ready to learn
  • Cleaner air
  • Less roadway congestion around schools
  • Less gasoline consumption
  • More lively and engaged communities

 

Meadowlink can help communities find solutions to create safe walking and bicycling environments for children.   In order to achieve these goals we provide numerous services to the schools and municipalities in our service area who ask for them.  Our services range from presentations on pedestrian and bike safety to creating school travel plans.  We can help schools and communities get started by hosting events and providing tools for on-going programs that will get kids moving.  Our services, provided through grant funding from the NJDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), are free to schools. We can work with individual schools, school districts, municipalities or community groups on a wide variety of programs.

These are the primary services we provide (click on the links for more details):

1. Pedestrian Programs

    • Walking School Bus
    • Pedestrian Safety Presentations
    • Walkability Audits

2. Bicycle Programs

    • Bike Rodeos or Bike skills events
    • Bicycle Safety Presentations
    • Bikeability Audits

3. School Travel Plans

4. Curriculum Development

SRTS Friends and Recognition Programs

NJ Safe Routes to Schools has introduced the "Friends" of the NJ SRTS Program as well as a Recognition Program.  The "Friends" of NJ SRTS Program is for Municipalities, non-profit organizations, Police Departments, Counties, State Agencies, and any other organizations that would like to support Safe Routes to Schools. By completing the enrollment form at Friends of SRTS, you are agreeing to support, promote, and encourage SRTS Programs, and will be listed on the NJ SRTS website. 
Similar to the Friends of SRTS Program there is a Recognition Program for Schools and Municipalities that take part in SRTS activities.  Schools and Municipalities that take part in the recognition program will gain recognition both locally and statewide for efforts toward enhancing SRTS, and can even earn Sustainable Jersey points for their municipality.  Depending of the amount of their involvement in SRTS activities Schools and Municipalities can earn four different Recognition levels; First Step, Bronze, Silver, and Gold.   Some of the requirements for these levels are as simple as identifying a SRTS Champion at your school and holding events such as Walk and Bike to School Day.  If your school or municipality is already working on SRTS efforts you can contact your regional coordinators here at Meadowlink to help you get enrolled or complete the nomination form here.    

SRTS NJ State Resource Center

The NJ SRTS Resource Center is filled with tools and information to help your school or municipality achieve your SRTS goals.  The site includes reports, articles, education materials, and various other materials such as examples of school travel plans and tips on developing them.  The resource center has information for everyone from parents to crossing guards. 

SRTS National Partnership

Launched in August 2005, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a fast-growing network of hundreds of organizations, government agencies and professional groups working to set goals, share best practices, leverage infrastructure and program funding and advance policy change to help agencies that implement Safe Routes to School programs.
New Jersey is one of seven jurisdictions participating in the Safe Routes to School state network project, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. New Jersey has been a network state since 2012. The network project's goal is to advance state-level policy reform, resulting in the award and obligation of federal transportation funds, street-scale improvements and joint-use agreements.

Our Accomplishments:

1. Napier Academy, Paterson, NJ – Meadowlink worked with the Community School Coordinator to provide Pedestrian safety training for all children in grades 1-5 in the spring of 2012. This included an interactive lesson on how to safely be a pedestrian and how to cross streets safely.  In the fall of 2012, Meadowlink supported Napier’s efforts to participate in Walk to School Day by providing incentives provided by Clif Kids.  More than 200 students (and some parents!) participated and received stickers, Clif bars and juice when they arrived at school.  Meadowlink is beginning a new initiative with Napier Academy and the Boys&Girls Club of Paterson and Passaic to provide safe corridors and walking conditions for students.

2. Red Bank Charter School (RCBS), Red Bank, NJ – Red Bank Charter School has been conducting a monthly walking school bus, weather permitting, for several years. They participated in the 2011 and 2012 Walk to School Day.  Meadowlink help with those efforts. 

In 2012, RBCS contacted Meadowlink for some help with bicycle skills training.  It was decided that a skills event would be held with the 4th and 5th graders.  That event was held in the spring of 2012. Meadowlink staff helped to develop and put on the event, with the help of the PE teacher, Mr. John Chesterman and some dedicated parents.

Garfield Schools, Garfield, NJ – Garfield already has an awesome and well developed SRTS program in their community.  To complement those efforts, the Garfield Recreation Department sponsored a “Train the Trainers” session for PE teachers, recreation and health department employees and police bicycle control officers. The training included a presentation and background materials on various lessons that can be given relating to bicycle and pedestrian safety.  In addition, the trainers got to experience some bicycle skills training and lessons first hand!  Now they can teach children the same skills at school or at summer camp. Meadowlink is also providing Pedestrian Skills Training at three elementary schools this year.

Montclair Schools, Montclair, NJ Montclair applied for and received funding to develop School Travel Plans for the 10 elementary and middle schools in the community.  Meadowlink was part of the winning consultant team along with RBA Group and Arterial.  The project started in the fall of 2012 and will continue through the spring of 2013. The assistance that each school will receive includes:

  • Evaluation of Walkability around the school and observance of school arrival or departure
  • Interactive mapping of areas of concern
  • An activity to involve the students in identification of ideas and possible barriers to walking to school
  • A workshop with interested parents and staff to discuss barriers, issues and concerns to begin to develop strategies to remove the barriers and address the concerns so that more students can safely walk to school
  • A summary report for each school with findings of the study and specific recommendations

Once the project is completed, Meadowlink will assist the schools in the implementation of some of the recommendations from the summary report.

Helpful Links (Link to helpful links page)

For more information, contact us:

Meeta Patel
SRTS Coordinator
201.939.4242
mpatel@ezride.org
Christopher Rodriguez
SRTS Assistant Coordinator
201.939.4242
CRodriguez@ezride.org
   

 

 

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