ProWalkProBike: ProNewJersey

Laura TorchioNew Jersey’s Zealous Nuts: The 2012 ProWalkProBike: Pro Place conference brought together hundreds of “zealous nuts” who are dedicated to people walking and bicycling more often.  Fred Kent, founder of Project for Public Spaces, opened the conference by declaring,

“Leaders (zealous nuts) are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear...and make the impossible happen."

New Jersey's fearless leaders were “in the house” with six sessions directly related to the New Jersey Safe Routes to School state network project  - exemplifying vision, dedication and success.

Raw and Uncut: New Jersey Ambassadors in Motion (NJAIM) - Pedestrian safety is a concern in New Jersey. NJ AIM was created to strengthen a network of community organizations and leaders to advocate on behalf of safe bicycling and pedestrian activities in their communities.

Girls on Bikes - Women and girls are not equally represented in the growing number of cyclists. This session focused on bicycling education and encouragement programs to effectively reach young girls and influence them to become lifelong riders.

Using All of your E’s to Spell Success - Typically New Jersey’s Safe Routes to School grant solicitation receives an overwhelming number of proposals from communities that only mention one E - Engineering. To address this imbalance, NJDOT launched a pilot project focused providing free non-infrastructure and programmatic assistance directly to schools and communities throughout the state.

Complete Streets in New Jersey: Winning! - Since the adoption of its Complete Streets policy, NJDOT has been committed to making complete streets the standard for all roadway improvements. Despite recent honors from the National Complete Streets Coalition as the ‘Top State Internal P
olicy,’ the real wins have been its efforts beyond the policy.

Pedestrian Safety Action Plan Implementation - The Pedestrian Safety Action Plan (PSAP) program was initiated by FHWA about six years ago to identify ‘focus cities’ and ‘focus states’ (new Jersey being one) with a need for enhanced pedestrian safety efforts. This presentation described that program in terms of pedestrian crash trends.

Sh*t Parents Say and What Kids Want: Safe Routes to School - This session engaged participants in a collaborative discussion about parental risk perception and safety concerns, as well as motivating factors that entice children to walk and bicycle to school.  

The New Jersey Zealous Nuts included:

During the closing remarks, Mark Gorton, of The New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign said,

"We're not crazy, we happen to be right! We're a minority, but we have truth on our side."  

Can you handle the truth?  ;)

For more information, or to join the New Jersey network, please contact me.

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