Several local schools fare well in NJDOT’s Safe Routes program

The New Jersey Department of Transportation, in coordination with the New Jersey Safe Routes Resource Center at Rutgers University, and the eight Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) in New Jersey, announced the 2023 New Jersey Safe Routes to School Recognition Program winners — and Belleville Middle School was the only in the area to take home top honors.

The Safe Routes to School program is a nationwide initiative supported by NJDOT and DOTs across the country that empower schools and communities through projects, programs and events to create safer environments for people to walk, bike or travel by other wheeled devices.

“NJDOT’s Safe Routes to School program focuses on improvements to enable and encourage students to walk and bike to school, where it is safe to do so, to promote healthy, active lifestyles,” Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “This program, which expanded to high schools this year, improves safety for everyone, especially our children, helping fulfill NJDOT’s commitment to provide an equitable transportation system throughout the state.”

The Jersey SRTS program focuses on infrastructure improvements and educational campaigns that promote the benefits of active lifestyles. The New Jersey Safe Routes Resource Center recognizes select municipalities and schools (public, private and charter) with one of four award levels for their commitment to the Safe Routes to School program. The recognition levels are First Step, Bronze, Silver or Gold, based upon their achievements.

Belleville Middle School was the sole school in The Observer’s readership are to achieve Gold status.

Belleville School No. 8, the towns of North Arlington and Lyndhurst and Nutley’s Spring Garden Elementary School all took home Silver.

Belleville’s School Nos. 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 and the High School as well as the Township of Belleville, and Lyndhurst’s Jefferson Elementary School took home Bronze honors.

First Step awardees included St. Peter’s School, Belleville; Lyndhurst High School, NAHS and Roosevelt School, of North Arlington.

Regional SRTS Coordinators from the TMAs recognize the achievements of the 2023 winners at events within their service areas. This year’s award recipients advanced their SRTS programs with hard work and commitment to expand walking and biking opportunities in their communities.

Communities that participate in SRTS programs often benefit from less traffic congestion, better air quality, fewer traffic conflicts near schools and most importantly, safer, healthier and more active children, according to the New Jersey Safe Routes Resource Center.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.