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Celebrating over 30 years of excellence and service in northern New Jersey.


Street Smart Returns to Morristown
 
After a successful Street Smart pedestrian safety campaign in Morristown last year, Street Smart will be returning to the Morris County town next month! Street Smart Morristown, which will begin March 13th, is an education and enforcement effort that reminds those walking and driving in town to slow down, stop for pedestrians, use crosswalks, cross at the “walk” signal, and most importantly, put the phone down when driving and walking! 

Street Smart Morristown is a collaborative effort with TransOptions, the Town of Morristown and the Morristown Police Department to continue the success of the town’s first campaign last spring. The spring 2016 campaign resulted in increased positive walking and driving behaviors as well as a 50% increase in awareness of pedestrian safety messages.

As an education and enforcement campaign, Street Smart Morristown included pedestrian safety law enforcement by the Morristown Police Department as well as multiple educational outreach events coordinated by TransOptions.

To read the complete Street Smart Morristown final report, please click here. For more information about Street Smart, contact our Project Manager, Laura Cerutti at lcerutti@transoptions.org or call 973.267.7600.


On-Demand Transportation at Seniors' Fingertips

Uber and Lyft are not just for the tech savvy, younger generations anymore. A new pilot program is being launched in the towns of Madison, Chatham Township and Chatham Borough to help those 65 and older get to where they want to go, when they want to go, without the need of a smartphone. 

TransOptions has been working very closely with the Tri-Town 55+ Coalition, a non-profit community-based organization that brings businesses, non-profit, public and quasi-public agencies together into partnership to address the quality of life and diverse needs of interest of older adults and their families in Madison, Chatham Borough and Chatham Township. The coalition was created in January 2016 with the help of a grant from the Grotta Fund for Senior Care. An extensive needs assessment survey conducted from January 2016 to July 2016 identified three main priorities in those towns with transportation topping the list. 

With the assistance of TransOptions, the Tri-Town 55+ Coalition, has contracted with GoGoGrandparent, an on-demand transportation service based in California, to offer "Rides for Seniors". The "Rides for Seniors" pilot program, which will run from April through June of this year, enables registered riders to access transportation services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through an 800 number. GoGoGrandparent processes the calls and contacts a specially trained, local Uber or Lyft driver for pick-up and drop-off, processes payment and monitors location to notify caregivers of riders' whereabouts. Rides can also be reserved ahead of time.

The goal of the pilot program is to serve seniors who no longer drive, either by choice or by necessity, to enable them to feel less isolated and more independent. Riders may use the service for medical appointments, to run errands or attend social/recreational activities in the area. The vehicles, however, are not wheelchair accessible and riders must be able to walk to the curb. 

The Tri-Town 55+ Coalition will subsidize each one-way trip, costing the rider only $5. Riders will be able to travel as fas as Morristown, Florham Park, Summit, Berkeley Heights, New Providence and Millburn. This geographical area includes three major local hospitals as well as entertainment venues such as the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The GoGoGrandparent "Rides for Seniors" pilot program is an initiative that will not only serve the residents, but also help the local organizations and businesses. 

TransOptions will assist with information sessions about Tri-Town's "Rides for Seniors" program at the Chatham Senior Center on March 10th at 12:30 p.m. and at the Madison Senior Center on March 14th at 2 p.m. TransOptions also plans to host pedestrian safety presentations for the community during the pilot program period. 

If you are a senior in Madison, Chatham Borough or Chatham Township and would like more information about the "Rides for Seniors" program, please contact our Community Outreach Coordinator, Jackeline Leon at jleon@transoptions.org or call 973.267.7600.

 
Safe Routes in Netcong and Madison
 
TransOptions is helping students at Netcong Elementary School gear up to walk and bike around town this spring. In March, TransOptions’ educators will be practicing the rules of the road with each student through a series of traffic safety workshops.

Classes in kindergarten through 2nd grade will collaborate to build a model neighborhood, explore safety infrastructure and develop a narrative about students safely walking and biking to school during “Ready to Walk & Roll.” Students between 3rd and 5th grade will take over the streets of “Traffic Safety Town,” TransOptions’ gym-sized streetscape. Students will travel around town as pedestrians, bike riders and drivers to practice sharing the road with other users.

Students between 6th and 8th grade will take on acting and engineering challenges in “Bike Driver’s Ed” to learn about vehicular cycling, communicating with other road users and helmet design. The school will then come together to celebrate active transportation with “March of the Penguins,” a Walk & Bike to School Day hosted by the Netcong Walk & Roll Club.    

Students at Central Avenue School in Madison are also taking to the sidewalks in full force. Students are racking up points through the school-wide Frequent Walker & Biker program by participating in the school’s weekly Walk & Bike to School Days.

TransOptions will be working with the Madison Police Department and Central Avenue School’s Parent Teacher Organization to get students rolling this June with a Bike Rodeo. Students between 3rd to 5th grade will take on traffic safety and bike handling challenges during this daylong, bike extravaganza.

For more information on TransOptions' Safe Routes to School programs, please contact our Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Jess Lubas at jlubas@transoptions.org or call 973. 276.7600. 

Up-Close with Jim Jones, TransOptions Board of Directors Member
 
Each month, we  highlight a member of our Board of Directors and this month we're interviewing Jim Jones, Managing Director at Penford Group.  

-Please tell Go Smart! readers a little bit about yourself/ what do you do for a living?
Our firm is a commercial real estate developer and builder.  We’ve been active in Northern and Central New Jersey since the late 1950’s.  Since 1990, we’ve concentrated on redeveloping troubled office and industrial sites including environmental “brownfields”.
 
-How did you first become involved with TransOptions?  
Our group had purchased what the New Jersey Press called “The Worst Eyesore in New Jersey”, an abandoned steel frame and sitework for an office building located at the intersection of I-80 and I-287.  Transportation access to the site was quite challenged and there was no direct link to mass transit.  We solicited TransOptions to provide a circulation survey and transportation program which we cited in our marketing and approval efforts, with substantial success.
 
-What do you enjoy most about being a part of this organization?
The interaction with its excellent leadership and personnel.  Everyone is so very talented and dedicated.  It is an inspiration!
 
-What do you think makes TransOptions special? 
The variety of its many programs and the wonderful response received from the constituents served, whether they be neighborhoods, municipalities or corporations. 
 
-What has been your favorite volunteer experience with this organization?  
Junior Solar Sprints and the Hydrogen Challenge.  Great fun with both the students, TransOptions staff and fellow volunteers!
 
-What do you wish other people knew about TransOptions? 
That the company’s capabilities go well beyond what is evidenced on the website and in printed material.  The staff has boundless enthusiasm and imagination.  And leadership has the capacity to address whatever a constituent might need.  It is my hope that TransOptions will become more visible to the Northern New Jersey market it serves and play an even bigger future role among the Transportation Management Associations of which it is a part.
 
What a Difference a Word Makes: “Crashes” Instead of "Accidents"
 
“12 fatal accidents in county last year is most since 2012,” was the grim headline in a NJ Herald article on January 22, 2017.  What type of accident caused 12 people to lose their lives?  Vehicle crashes, collisions and other incidents caused this alarming statistic.
 
Safety advocates, both grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the United States, are campaigning to change the lexicon and call these fatal traffic incidents “crashes” instead of accidents.  What’s the difference? How does one word matter?
 
In a recent New York Times article, Mark Rosekind, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that “language can be everything.”  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines accident as “an unexpected happening” that “is not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.” 

 
Crashes are not unexpected events. They can be prevented.  The word “accident” gives the impression of an unavoidable incident that just happens. Each time we use the word "accident", we drop accountability for our actions. 
 
Both motorists and pedestrians can help avoid crashes and save lives.  They share the responsibility to be alert, aware and not be distracted while driving and walking.
 
Motorists need to be alert, sober and not be distracted by using their cell phones.  Even hands free cell phone use is a distraction.  Pedestrians can help prevent crashes by being alert, crossing only at crosswalks and  being visible by wearing bright or reflective clothing, especially at night.  
 
Together motorists and pedestrians can reduce crashes and save lives. But that positive change will only occur when we recognize that crashes are not accidents and are all preventable when we make the right choices for ourselves and those around us. 

 Junior Solar Sprints Needs You!
 
It's that time of the year! We're on the lookout for volunteers like you for our upcoming Junior Solar Sprints (JSS) competition in May. JSS has been growing by leaps and bounds over the years and we could use all the help we can get! 

 Now going into our 16th year of offering JSS for New Jersey middle school students, our popular STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)-aligned program has been expanding to include Morris, Sussex, Warren, Passaic, Essex, Union, Hunterdon, Monmouth and Mercer counties. 

Let us know you would like to be a part of our exciting race days today! If you have any questions , please contact our Environmental Education Coordinator, Kristen Tomasicchio at ktomasicchio@transoptions.org or call 973.267.7600.
Join TransOptions at the The New Jersey Bike & Walk Summit this weekend! We will be presenting on conducting walkability audits! To learn more, click here
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