BLOOMFIELD, NJ - Maya Lordo, Health Education Coordinator, Bloomfield Dept of Health and Human Services attended the Multi-town Pedestrian Safety Meeting at Turtle Back Zoo. Elected and appointed officials, township representatives and citizens activists from Bloomfield, Nutley, W. Orange, Verona, Milburn and Montclair participated in the meeting.
“It is so important to meet with different communities in our area and collaborate since these towns meld into one large area. Knowing about the initiatives in surrounding towns allows us to support and promote each other’s endeavors.” Maya Lordo
Update reports were given for each participating town and included traffic calming initiatives, street light installations, street painting projects, work completed with consultant Charles Brown, and walkability audits.
During her report on Bloomfield, Lordo acknowledged Mayor, Mike Venezia, Police Director, Sam Demaio and Administrator, Mathew Watkins for getting behind the Pedestrian Safety initiative. She said the Street Smart Bloomfield Ave Kick-Off Campaign was extremely successful because of their support and the support of Karen Lore, Bloomfield Director of Health and Humans Services. County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo was among the numerous state and Essex County officials attending the kick off campaign
The Bloomfield Initiatives:
- Charles Brown, consultant was funded by NJ Healthy Communities and Partners for Health Grant starting in 2016. Brown collected crash and pedestrian data with a crime data overlay. Data presented showed that Bloomfield ranked 3rd with 420 total number of crashes, while neighboring Nutley ranked 8th with a crash frequency of 192.
Streets for the walkability audit were chosen from the data. Audit streets were Glenwood Ave (Bloomfield to Prospect), Conger St (Bloomfield to Glenwood), Watchung Ave (Broad to E. Passaic), Grove St (to Watessing) Once Brown’s report on the audit is completed, the team of Lordo, Lore and Brown will be presenting the results to the Mayor and Council at an upcoming meeting.
- Lisa Lee, Easy Ride, is working on making sure all Bloomfield school routes are safe. Lee is conducting “Walk to School Days” for elementary schools and will be expanding to other schools. Funding allows the kids who walk to participate in poster contests and their parents complete a survey in order to be entered in a raffle for prizes like FitBits. Lee also worked with the Bloomfield School District to pass a “Safe Routes to School” resolution which made the Board and citizens more aware of the importance of safety for students. She is also creating “Travel Plans” with funding that Easy Ride has given to Bloomfield.
- Bloomfield Health Beat Radio Show: Lordo and Lindsay Prewitt, Health Educator is hosts for the live-streamed that airs the last Monday of every month. ‘Health Beat’ is a collaboration with Bloomfield College and the Bloomfield Dept of Radio and Broadcasting. Doug Doyle is the news director and Zach Brown is the intern/producer of the show on WBCR Radio. After the live stream, episodes are posted for on demand listing at http://bloomfield.edu/academics/special-programs/wbcr-radio
Lordo said the goal of the programming is to let everyone know about all initiatives offered by the Bloomfield Health Department. The next show July 31, features Lisa Gearhart and Terri Fucci who will be talking about the Bloomfield Nursing Dept offerings such as screenings, disease and lead investigations etc. http://www.bloomfieldtwpnj.com/health-human-services/
- Bloomfield is one of the six Essex County Municipalities participating in the Street Smart NJ Pedestrian Safety Education designed to get motorists and pedestrians involved in improving street safety. Other participating towns are: Verona, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Caldwell and West Caldwell.
Cyndi Steiner, NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, the meeting organizer, shared that one of the objectives of the meeting was to form an ad hoc ‘working committee’ with one representative for each municipality to ‘identify issues common to the participating municipalities and come up with a strategy to have Essex County effectively address these issues.’
Speaker Andy Anderson shared statistics, current realities and possible initiatives relating to pedestrian safety issues in NJ. Anderson advised the group that ‘Safe Streets’ educational literature and marketing materials were available for free to all municipalities.
Anderson is planning to work with towns in the fall to bring together local police officers and citizens to participate in ‘Diner and Bar Crawls’. During the crawls, local establishments are visited by volunteers to promote pedestrian safety awareness and distribute ‘coasters’ and information cards.
He also shared information on the ‘European Zebra Stripes’ traffic calming measure that is being considered for NJ and explained the difference between ‘traffic circles’ and ‘round-a-bouts’. Anderson said: “A round-a-bout is an effective replacement for a 4-way intersection vs. a circle which is larger and moves traffic around a central island.”
Kathleen Smith, Program Director of ‘Partners for Health’ provided information on grant opportunities for pedestrian safety work. One scholarship for each participating Essex municipality was awarded a scholarship to attend the America Walks conference in September 2017. Recipients will gather information and bring educational and other opportunities back to their towns. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also available are NJ Healthy Communities Network grants. Letters of Intent must be received by September 13, 2017. Municipalities were encouraged to look into funding available from foundations and insurance companies.
Steiner encouraged the creation of a Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee in each town. It was suggested that the towns’ committees work together to share data and create PSAs to be aired on local cable channels. Anderson applauded the idea to use high school students enrolled in media classes to create the educational videos and social media campaigns. Each town will select a member from the community to serve on the multi-town initiative “working committee.” She also informed attendees she would be emailing Bi-Laws for existing Safety Advisory Committees that could be used by municipalities in setting up their committees.
NJ Bike and Walk Coalition - http://njbwc.org/
Partners for Health - http://partnersfdn.org/ Partners for Health Foundation’s vision is focused on making our 15 communities healthier, better places to live. Our mission is to invest in programs and policies through collaborations that will lead to healthy communities and healthy lifestyles.
Charles Brown is a Senior Research Specialist with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. http://njbikeped.org/staff/charles-brown/