EZ Ride decided to focus its efforts on the City’s 12 elementary and middle schools with a total of more than 5,500 students. The goal was to reach students at a young age to encourage safe walking and biking to school.
EZ Ride established a two year action plan with the following goals:
- Reduce the number of crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists by at least 50 percent
- Increase the number of students who walk and bike to school by 35 percent.
- Help secure federal grants of $200,000 for infrastructure improvements to improve safety
- Incorporate policies that encourage walking and biking in the city’s Master plan.
Forging a Partnership
To help accomplish these goals, EZ Ride forged a partnership with various stakeholders and helped to convene multiple meetings to increase awareness about bike & pedestrian safety.
- Summer of 2015: EZ Ride partnered with numerous organizations including Plainfield Salvation Army, Union County Police Department, Union County Police’s Traffic Safety Education Program, NJ Ambassadors in Motion, AAA Northeast NJ Division, Boys and Girls Club of Plainfield and the Voorhees Transportation Center to provide bicycle safety education to 64 local children at Salvation Army’s “Christmas in July” bike giveaway event.
- September 15, 2015: EZ Ride met with the Board of Education in the Plainfield Public School District to present a proposal to conduct a walkability audit for each school in conjunction with VTC and Rutgers Bloustein School of Planning.
- November 4, 2015: The Safe Routes to School (SRTS) team from the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Voorhees Transportation Center and EZ Ride received approval from the Plainfield Public Schools and the City of Plainfield to move forward with developing a District Walkability Assessment and School Travel Plan.
- March 2016: EZ Ride was awarded a two year $20,000 Healthy Communities Network Grant to implement SRTS activities and to assist with the District Wide walkability audit which could be used by township planners and civil engineers to improve the streetscape and environmental conditions to support walking and bicycling in the community and also work with community corner stores to provide healthier snacks and drinks to customers. The Bloustein School at Rutgers’ University volunteered to develop the school travel plan (STP) as part of a Planning Studio class in the fall of 2016.
- January 2017: EZ Ride was awarded an additional $5,000 Healthy Corner Store Initiative mini grant to continue our work promoting healthier food access for residents and students in local Plainfield corner stores.
- March 2017: Plainfield was one of 11 communities selected to receive $304,000 in federal funds for infrastructure improvements.