WEST ORANGE, NJ — Following on the heels of Kelly Elementary School, Liberty Middle School, and West Orange Township, Redwood and Washington Elementary Schools have received Gold and Bronze recognition in the Safe Routes to School Recognition program. The recognition is given in partnership with EZRide, the Transportation Management Agency, and in cooperation with West Orange Township.
According to the Safe Streets for Schools website:
"Safe Routes to School is a movement that aims to make it safer and easier for students to walk and bike to school. The first federally funded Safe Routes to School program was created in 2005, and has since undergone several legislative and policy transformations. In 2012, Congress created the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) by merging together three previous programs that funded active transportation. In 2015, Congress authorized TAP for an additional five years, through 2020. Click here for the complete funding and legislative history of Safe Routes to School.
At the state level, state departments of transportation receive Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) federal funds and select projects through a competitive process open to local governments and school systems. At the local level, Safe Routes to School practitioners run education and encouragement programs with families and schools and push for strong municipal and district policies to support safe walking and bicycling.
The most successful Safe Routes to School programs incorporate the Six E’s: evaluation, education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement, and equity. At the regional and state level, Safe Routes to School practitioners work to find new funding and ensure proper spending of existing funding for Safe Routes to School. And at the federal level, the Safe Routes Partnership and its allies maintain a steady voice for policy and funding support in Washington and provide a source of expert help, ideas, and resources for leaders at all levels.
Since 2005, Safe Routes to School programs have benefited more than 14,000 schools in all 50 states. And the demand continues to grow, especially low-income communities, communities of color, and rural communities, where it is hard for anyone to safely and conveniently walk, bicycle, or get physical activity. These are the communities where the next generation of supportive policies and programs are needed most."
"Following the Walking Safety Assessment conducted in May, 2019, Redwood Elementary has received a Gold-Level NJ Safe Routes to School Recognition Award," said Redwood Principal Tim Beaumont.
"Our fellow West Orange school, Washington Elementary, also won a Bronze-Level Award. Many congratulations to Principal DeMaio and her team," he explained.
"These recognitions are valid for three years and acknowledge the work that we have done in partnership with the Township of West Orange to ensure that routes to our schools are safe for students, families, and staff," Beaumont noted.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott Cascone added, "This is great news! Congratulations to these two outstanding schools and staff and our amazing partners in the township."
Deputy Director, Bike & Pedestrian Programs and Regional Safe Routes to School Coordinator Lisa Lee stated, "EZ Ride has developed several online resources on biking and walking safety. If you are having Online Summer School or wish to use our materials please see the links below. We have a Ride to Work campaign, a new library of Online Bike and Ped Resources, a Travel Guide for Back to School safety and Online Bike Presentations your students can use to learn on their own."
The resources for schools and families are:
"Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen, especially to our Redwood Staff Facilities Team, Redwood's PTA, the District's Buildings and Grounds Department, West Orange's Pedestrian Safety and Public Works Departments, WOPD, West Essex YMCA, and our many staff and student volunteers. Thanks especially to Lisa Lee of EZ Ride, who coordinated our Walking Safety Assessment and our award application process," concluded Beaumont.
Read about the West Orange township and Kelly Gold Level recognition and Washington Elementary and Liberty Middle School Bronze Level recognition here.