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?
The Benefits of Safe Routes to School
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):
- Walking School Bus
- Pedestrian Safety Presentations
- Walkability Audits
- Bike Rodeos or Bike skills events
- Bicycle Safety Presentations
- Bikeability Audits
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:Asbury Park, Monmouth County
In Fall 2014, Meadowlink was invited to partner with the School Health Councils in the Asbury Park Public Schools to provide Safe Routes to School programs and resources to the students of Barack Obama Elementary School, Bradley Elementary School and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. The schools participated in the International Walk to School Day and National Bike Month in 2014 and 2015. To date, we have provided Pedestrian Safety Programs, Bike Rodeos, and a Bookmark Design Contest to promote walking and biking for students. We have supplied free bike helmets, bike reflectors, backpack reflectors, and educational incentives including bookmarks, healthy snacks and stickers for students at every Walk or Bike to School Day event held at the three schools. We are committed to working with Meridian Health, Second Life Bikes, the Asbury Park Police, Sodexo Foods, the Monmouth County Health Department and other community partners to support the efforts of the School Health Council to increase physical activity and improve nutrition education in the schools and Asbury Park. The Asbury Park School District received a Silver Level Safe Routes to School Recognition Award in 2015.
Fanwood-Scotch Plains, Union County
Each October, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Schools have participated in International Walk to School Day. These walks identified several parental concerns regarding road safety. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA reached out to Meadowlink to learn how Safe Routes to School strategies could be part of the solution for the community’s concerns. Meadowlink met with Scotch Plains’ Mayor and town council to explain the benefits of a Safe Routes to School program and to encourage the township, the School District and the local YMCA to work together to promote safe walking and biking to school. In October 2015, Meadowlink met with the PTA to start planning for two Walkability Assessments to be done April 2016. The findings from these activities will be used to develop School Travel Plans for two of the township’s middle schools. These plans will be a useful tool to support improvements to implement a Complete Streets Policy.Garfield, Bergen County
The Garfield Public Schools have a well developed SRTS program in their community. To complement those efforts, Meadowlink worked with the Garfield Recreation Department to provide a “Train the Trainers” Pedestrian Safety workshop for their PE teachers, recreation and health department employees, and police bicycle control officers. The training included a presentation, background materials and hand-on skills training to teach bicycle and pedestrian safety. Now they have been equipped to sustain the Safety Training for all the children during the School year and summer school. The Meadowlink SRTS team also provided Pedestrian Skills Training at three elementary schools in 2014 and one school in 2015.Haledon, Passaic County
Meadowlink’s Safe Routes to School team, connected with the borough of Haledon and the Haledon Public School administration in Spring 2015. Together, we coordinated a timeline to launch a series of events to promote safe walking and biking for students. The events included:
- Pedestrian Safety Assemblies with 365 kids on May 26th and 278 students on September 30th
- Discussions with the PTA in September 2015
- A Bike Rodeo on October 3rd
- 300 students walked to school in October for International Walk to School Day
In November 2015, the School will conduct a Travel Tally to find out how many students walk, bike, or use other means such as the school bus, a family vehicle, public transit, or carpool to travel to and from school. This data will serve as a baseline to track increased walking and biking in the future.
The SRTS team will join with the PTA and law enforcement to participate in a Walkability Assessment in Spring 2016. During this activity, the group will identify what improvements can be made along the main routes leading to the Haledon School.
Long Branch, Monmouth County
In June 2015, Meadowlink established a relationship with the Long Branch Schools and met with the Supervisor of Health and Physical Education to plan Safe Routes To School activities during their Summer School program. The goals are to teach students about pedestrian safety and encourage safe walking and biking to school.
On July 29, 2015 Meadowlink provided educational incentives for students at their Walk to School Wednesday at the Anastasia School and the Gregory School. Later that same day, we held a Bike Rodeo in the morning at the Anastasia School and in the afternoon at the Gregory School. Educational information, bike helmets, helmet ID labels, bike reflectors were provided for free to all participants and other students who attended even if they did not have a bicycle.
On July 30, 2015 we held Pedestrian Safety Presentations at the Anastasia School between 9-11 AM for grades K-5 and from 12 – 2 pm at Gregory School for Grades K-5. The diverse community has several bodegas and corner stores, and the school staff has been involved in efforts to teach the students to eat healthier.Montclair, Essex County
The Montclair Public Schools 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 Fall 2012 and continued through Spring 2013. The assistance that each school received included:
- A Walkability Assessment was conducted for each school during school arrival and departure times
- An Interactive Map was made to identify areas of concern
- Students were surveyed to determine barriers to walking to school and ways to encourage walking
- A workshop was held with interested parents and staff to discuss and develop strategies to overcome obstacles so that more students can safely walk to school
- A summary report was developed for each school with findings and specific recommendations
Once the project was completed, Meadowlink assisted the schools to implement some of the recommendations from the summary report.
Newark, Essex County
During December 2013 to January 2014, Meadowlink's SRTS team worked as part of a Community Task Force to conduct walkability and roadway audits surrounding 6 schools in Newark. The schools involved were Camden Elementary School, Sussex Elementary School, 13th Ave School, Hawkins Street Elementary School, Dr. William Horton Elementary School and McKinley Elementary School. School Travel Plans for each school will allow the township to apply for grants to implement streetscape improvements.
The SRTS team was invited to work with the Fairmount Promise Neighborhood Safety Initiative in November 2015. We are working with a Community team to use Safe Routes strategies to address community and student concerns about speeding, congestion, and safety issues. Some students are walking long distances to get to school and some have been robbed/bullied, and are fearful of the vacant lots/abandoned storefronts. Concerned adults have suggested kids walk together in groups for safety but local police have received complaints from business owners who fear groups of kids.
The SRTS team will give suggestions on how a Walking School Bus or Corner Captain program can be developed to coordinate the student groups and involve adults. Remote drop offs may be used to ease traffic congestion near schools and to promote walking for students. School Travel Tallies will be done at the North Star Academy and Marion P. Thomas Charter School and other local schools to determine how students typically get to and from school. The group plans to do a Walkability Audit in December 2015 and then develop plans to improve safety.Paterson, Passaic County
Meadowlink worked with the Community School Coordinator at Napier Academy 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 walk cross streets safely. In 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. The school earned a First Steps level SRTS Recognition award in 2015.
Plainfield, Union County
Meadowlink began promoting the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) initiative in Plainfield in June 2014. The SRTS team conducted presentations on Pedestrian Safety at Cedarbrook and Charles Stillman Elementary schools and we've built strong relationships.
During Summer 2015, Meadowlink partnered with the Salvation Army, Union County Police Department, the Police Traffic Safety Education Program, NJ Ambassadors in Motion, AAA Northeast NJ Division, Boys & Girls Club, and the Voorhees Transportation Center to provide bicycle safety education to 64 children at the Salvation Army’s “Christmas in July” and Bike Giveaway event.
Plans are now underway with the Board of Education, the city, community members, and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning to conduct several Walkability Assessments in Spring 2016 to develop a District Wide School Travel Plan. Our joint goal is to implement a Complete Streets policy in Plainfield to improve the streetscape surrounding the schools. Plainfield earned a First Step level SRTS Recognition Award in 2015.Red Bank, Monmouth County
Red Bank Charter School (RBCS) has been conducting a monthly walking school bus, weather permitting, for several years. They participated in the 2011 and 2012 International Walk to School Day. Meadowlink helped to initiate and support those efforts.
In 2012, RBCS asked Meadowlink for help with bicycle skills training. A skills event was 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 Physical Education teacher and some dedicated parents. Red Bank earned a First Step level SRTS Recognition Award in 2015.
- Safe Routes Partnership
- NJ Bike & Pedestrian Resource Center
- Walk/Bike to School
- NJ Safe Routes to School
- National Center for Safe Routes to School
For more information, contact us:
Manager, Bike & Pedestrian Programs
SRTS Assistant Coordinator