Maplewood Enhances Biking Throughout the Community
Towns across America are enjoying biking not just as exercise, but as a way of life, as more and more bike lanes are sharing the roadways. And, of course, plans are being made in Maplewood to join this national effort to enhance the lifestyle and health of all residents.
New Bike Sign
“Within the last three years, the Maplewood Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) received two grants from the NJ Department of Health & Senior Services to purchase 40 bike racks,” said Mr. Charlie Bibbins, chair of TAC. “Our goal was to encourage bicycling and thereby promote healthy lifestyle choices, exercise and fitness.”
With the help of New Jersey Transit and the Board of Education, bike racks are available throughout the town with many commuters and students enjoying their new forms of transportation explained Bibbins. For the list of bike rack locations, click here. To view the online map for the rack locations in Maplewood, click here.
Bibbins explained that encouraging biking in Maplwood also would reduce the use of cars for short trips, ease the demand for parking and help reduce air pollution. Bike lanes are being designed ultimately, to provide connections straight through Maplewood to bike lanes in Millburn and South Orange.
Recently Bibbins encouraged The South Orange/Maplewood Bicycle Coalition (SOMbike), a community organization, to partner with TAC to promote and expand biking in Maplewood.
“We have been very involved in outreach and advocacy to encourage biking in South Orange and Maplewood,” said Kate Cahill, a member of SOMbike’s Planning Group. For more information on SOMbike’s efforts, click here.
Strongly advocating for bike safety led SOMbike also to partner with the Adult School to offer courses in caring for bikes to both adults and children. Organizing family rides, bike clinics, bike registration, Bike to Work Week, and supporting Maplewood Township’s efforts to create its own policies are just a few of SOMbike’s accomplishments. For a few safety tips, click here.
One of the policies SOMbike encouraged Maplewood to adopt was the Complete Streets policy, which ensures that roadways are designed with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transit vehicles and their riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.
SOMbike has also partnered with the Board of Education by educating fifth graders and middle school students during physical education classes on bike safety and care. District Supervisor of PE, Health and Nursing Services Judy LoBianco was pleased with the partnership. “Collaborating with SOMbike encourages children to engage in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day,” said LoBianco. “This partnership with the community promotes physical activity through biking both before and after school and will hopefully encourage families to bike together as well.”
The community is invited to learn more about the biking efforts in Maplewood by biking to the Maplewood Green Day Fair in Memorial Park, on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 11 AM to 4 PM.