New Providence School Travel Plan 2019-2021

Safe routes to schools (SRTS), transportation, retail and recreation

Congratulations New Providence!  As of 5/16/2019  “Allen W. Roberts, Salt Brook, New Providence Middle School, and New Providence Borough all received Gold certification through the [K-8] SRTS Recognition Program.” The High School’s participation earns points for grants through Sustainable Jersey.  This helps us win $430,000 in grants, in addition to the $462,000 we won two years ago.

Making New Providence’s School Travel Plan interactive enhances its usefulness.  It also shows our kids how STEM can improve simple things like their walk to school.  We’ve written required elements as blog posts. This encourages community interaction while giving the government agencies what they need.

1. Working groups & partnerships

Our Safe Routes to School (SRTS) team stretches across years and schools

2. School descriptions & maps

Our K-12 schools descriptions are at the bottom of their Safe Route to School map pages below.  All K-12 students live within two miles of their school.

2.1 Maps of all New Providence neighborhoods

Safe Routes in New Providence Borough – schools, recreation, transportation and retail.

Safe Routes to Allen W Roberts School (AWR) –  detailed, school specific information, which we have shared on both this website and AWR’s PTA site.

Safe Routes to New Providence Middle School (NPMS) and High School (NPHS).  PTO info here.

Safe Routes to Salt Brook Elementary School.  More info from the PTAs DROP-n-GO’s and  Walk to School Days

2.2  Routes of Travel

3.  Barriers & Opportunities to Walk & Bike

In 2018 the borough requested walk and bike audits town-wide both on social media and the town website.  We received the following:

3.1 Walkability & Bikeability Assessments.

  1. Walkability – South Street to train, highlighting night visibility issues for commuters. Pictures.
  2. Walkability – Oakwood Dr. to Central Ave., via Livingston Path and South St. using South Street and Livingston Path to Central Avenue. From there kids would proceed to all 3 schools.  Pictures.
  3. Walkability – South Street to high / middle school. See Picture.

    Missing sidewalk Floral Ave Foley Place

    Section of sidewalk missing – Floral Ave and Foley Place

  4. South Street Walkability – Safety Committee – A composite document from 10 to 20 contributors
  5. Walkability – Glenside Avenue to AWR & NPMS
  6. Walkability – Livingston Path #2
  7. Walkability – Hawthorne Drive &  Balcolm Road
  8. Walkability – Crane Circle
  9. Bikeability – AWR

All of the Walkability Audits identified the stopping and starting of sidewalks and paths along walking routes.

Creating a Walk and Bike Master Plan of Safe Routes to schools, shopping, recreation, and transportation will be a great opportunity to identify and prioritize these missing links.  Now that our community is 6 years into our town-wide Safe Routes journey this is a logical next step.  We were able to dramatically improve AWR’s traffic issues with DROP-n-Go’s and parent education.  Similarly, Phase 1 of this master plan should focus on utilizing existing infrastructure, paint & digital assets.  

All 4 New Providence public schools also conducted 2018 Teacher Tallies of students walking and biking to schools.  We have not yet received the resulting reports. Previous tallies were in 2014.

3.2 Walk/Bike Opportunities

This information includes 2016 parent surveys and other resident feedback to create a list of Safe Routes Opportunities for Walking and Biking by neighborhood 2018. This community-driven list of opportunities is being evaluated by our police department’s Public Safety Officer.

4. Goals and Actions 2019 – 2021

High level goals and targets are summarized below.  Details can be found SRTS Goals & Targets 2019-2021 including goals, targets, action items, responsibilities, resources and timeline available

Goal 1  Provide all residents the opportunity to safely walk and bike to school and recreation

Target 1.1  Engineering – New development accommodates eventual sidewalks and paths

Target 1.2  Borough continues to support existing SRTS programs and enhancements

Target 1.3  Schools continue existing SRTS programs focusing on education & encouragement

Target 1.4  Grant ready Green Path – New Providence loop and link to neighboring towns. Try New Providence’s Walk and Bike Routes

Target 1.5  Utilize Senior Intern annually for documentation

Target 1.6  Prepare 2022 Update of School Travel Plan to renew gold level certification

Goal 2 – Develop a Walk and Bike Master plan for New Providence

Target 2.1  Utilize existing infrastructure, paint & digital assets as Phase 1. Plan for Phase 2.   Safe Routes Opportunities for Walking and Biking by neighborhood 2018.

5. Ongoing programs 2016 – 2018 in New Providence

Our School Travel Plan helped School Children Win $462,000 for New Providence for sidewalks.  Surprise! When we looked at routes of travel from each residence to school, we realized they probably hadn’t been updated since we closed 2 of 4 of our elementary schools.  This 2017 grant addressed some of the biggest gaps. Donna Zane explains in Creating a Route Home to Every New Providence Neighborhood.

Frankly, the roadmap laid out in the NJ Safe Routes to School Recognition program and School Travel Plan have been tremendously helpful in making our Safe Routes to School efforts so successful over the last 5+ years. we see the benefits of a town-wide strategic approach.    Community awareness and involvement have been very high based on the cornerstone of our PTA programs and enthusiastic support from our police, Department of Public Works, borough council and Board of Education.  

Our on-going programs are listed below.  This section addresses the 5 E’s, Engineering, education, enforcement, evaluation and encouragement.

5.1  Encouragement

New Providence School Travel Plan

Great turn out for our Walk to School Days

  • District-wide Walk to School days scheduled in fall and spring to kick off the warm weather walking seasons.
    • All K-8 schools since Fall 2014.  AWR since Spring 2014, Salt Brook since ~2007.  For example, Spring of 2018.
    • Elementary schools weekly or monthly through school year. (Year round program).  These are scheduled on days without early bird band and orchestra practice.  Since the schools share faculty their Walk to School days need to be different.
  • The New Providence police department holds annual Spring bike rodeos for 3rd graders for as long as anyone remembers (pre-2005). Afterwards kids are allowed to ride their bikes to school alone, per school policy. This is a highly anticipated right of passage.
  • TransOptions held Traffic Safety Towns in 2017 and 2018 at both elementary schools.
  • Our school principals also promote SRTS programs in back to school emails, on back to school night, during PTA meetings and new student orientations. They continue to be very responsive and generous regarding all SRTS related requests.  When we test new programs in winter and spring they have even promote them at music concerts, lunchtime and assemblies.  We also use Facebook to promote Safe Routes to School blog posts to parents. (See below.)
  • New Providence schools have a written policy supporting walking and bicycling to school. and a school wellness policy.
  • Our municipality has adopted a Complete Streets policy, on which these efforts build. All those ADA compliant ramps are also very popular with stroller pushing parents, kids on bikes and walkers as well!

2018

New Providence Safe Routes to School #WalkNP Gold patch

New Providence Safe Routes to School #WalkNP Gold patch

New Providence has ~1700 households with children under 18 (See 5.6 Demographics) The New Providence Parents Facebook Group has about ~2000 members, all of whom have been screened for geographic location.

Therefore having over 500+ users click-through and read our 8/27/18 Back to School post demonstrates excellent awareness of our Safe Routes to School program.  Especially since our DROP-n-GO’s and SRTS maps have been heavily promoted for the past 4 years.  For example, at AWR’s Back to School nights we set up a table to educate parents about a DROP-n-GO convenient to them.  Every household asked had at least 1 parent who had used a DROP-n-GO, walk or bike.

AWR’s daily front circle volunteers continue to generate tremendous good will for our Safe Routes to school program including our remote Drop-n-Go’s.   ‘Tis the season to count our blessings – especially school drop off volunteers and Mrs Hansen from 2016.

5.2  Education (starting with AWR)

Plan your AWR pick up and drop off – This is the “public” version of what’s on the AWR school website and only includes the Drop & Go’s on school grounds or next to a crossing guard.

  • Each elementary school holds poster contests to publicize and encourage our regular walk and roll events.
  • Once parents login to the elementary and middle/high school web sites they have access to detailed maps and information encouraging walking and biking.
  • TransOptions’ Traffic Safety Town, an interactive indoor safety program that gives 4th graders a fun and safe way to learn the rules of the road has been brought to Allen W Roberts  and we’re working on scheduling it at Salt Brook.

2018

Smarter Way to Carpool for all and Smart Carpools make it easier for UCVTS students to play sports with New Providence High School sports teams

5.3  Evaluation

2018 Efforts

In a parent survey about their respective Safe Routes to School programs, Allen W. Robert’s Net Promoter score was 39, while Salt Brook’s was only 9.  We believed that this was do to two differences.  First, Allen W. Roberts had school specific web site pages for its PTA and on STEMshoots.  Second, Roberts has more parent present every morning.  As a result of this information, we rolled out similar web pages for the other schools in 2018.  We have not yet re-surveyed parents to see how their answers have changed since 2016.

We’ve done teacher tallies in September of 2018 and 2014 as well as a 2016 parent survey.

We’ve counted traffic at problematic intersections and written blog posts for the 2016-2018 Travel Plan.  They are still relevant and informative.

5.4  Engineering

Major problem areas identified in the 2016 parent surveys addressed

  • As outlined in a 2018 TAP article, New Providence Plans Sidewalk Upgrades through Safe Routes to School Grant, our 2016 grant request included the following
    • Hawthorne Drive from Cameron Road to Central Avenue: New sidewalk; ADA (the Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant curb ramps; curb; cross walk; and two push-button, solar-powered pedestrian crossing aids and signs will be installed and will primarily serve the east side of the road.
    • Crane Circle from Jones Drive to Morris Avenue: New sidewalk, ADA-compliant curb ramps, curb, and cross walk will be installed on the north side of the road.
    • Central Avenue from Livingston Avenue to Verona Road: New sidewalk, ADA compliant curb ramps, curb, and cross walk will be installed on the south side of the road throughout this area.
    • Central Avenue from east of Salem Road to Maple Street: New sidewalk, ADA compliant curb ramps, curb, and cross walk will be installed on the south side of the road throughout this area. Two push button, solar-powered pedestrian crossing aids and signs will also be installed.
    • Willow Street from Springfield Avenue to the southern terminus: New sidewalk, ADA compliant curb ramps, curb, and cross walk will be installed on both sides of the road throughout this area.
  • From 2016 – 2018 the borough has made substantive additions to provide residents continuous sidewalks
    • St. Luke’s Daycare at the corner of South and Central (Route to NPMS/HS)
    • Floral Avenue’s South side (Route to AWR)
    • Repair existing sidewalks, e.g. along Sagamore Drive
  • In the Summer of 2016 our Department of Public Works added drainage then raised, widened and repaved the back path to Allen W. Roberts.  See above section.

5.5  Enforcement

Police patrol cars visit each school twice during arrival and dismissal times including every walk and bike event.  They prosecute speeders and dangerous drivers.

Safety Patrol Officer is deeply involved in all Safe Route to School efforts including visiting each proposed DROP-n-GO, and problem area during arrival and dismissal times.   If we are having an issue then the Safety Patrol Officer or other Patrolman will stand visibly at the appropriate spot, which is often a sufficient deterrent.

A small army of PTA volunteers assists with the introduction of new DROP-n-GO’s and at the beginning of each school year.   AWR also has volunteers assisting in their front circle.

5.6  Demographics

Our borough website summarizes New Providence demographics from the 2010 census.

At that time we had 4,408 households, of which 39.2% had children under 18 living with them.  That implies ~1700 households with children under 18.

According to Niche there are 2,360 students in the New Providence public school district.  As of September 2018, total enrollment at AWR for K-6th grades was 706, for SBS, it was 648, and for NPMS, it was 411, totaling 1,765.

New Providence has ~1700 households with children under 18 (See 5.6 Demographics) The New Providence Parents Facebook Group has about ~2000 members, all of whom have been screened for geographic location.

Therefore having over 500 users click through and read our 8/27/18 Back to School post demonstrates excellent awareness of our Safe Routes to School program.  Especially since our DROP-n-GO’s and SRTS maps have been heavily promoted for each of the past 4 years.  For example, at AWR’s Back to School nights we set up a table to educate parents about a DROP-n-GO convenient to them.  Every household asked had at least 1 parent who had used a DROP-n-GO, walked or biked.

6.0 Background on NJ Safe Routes to School

Popular project types for Safe Routes to School infrastructure grants include the following.

  • Bikeways – On-Street Bike Lanes, Off-Road Bike Paths, Bike Route, Bicycle Parking
  • Pedestrian Safety – Sidewalks, ADA Curb Ramps, Crosswalks, Pedestrian Crossing Signs, Pedestrian Push-buttons/Signal Heads
  • Pedestrian Safety/Bikeways – School Zone Delineation, Driver Feedback Signs, Traffic Calming, etc.

We have received tremendous assistance with this effort from TransOptions and Safe Routes to School NJ.  We thank them both!