Freehold is on the Road to Safe Routes around Town

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Neighborhood Connections to Health

Neighborhood Connections to Health (NCTH) is committed to advocating on behalf of Freehold residents. Our combined Walkability/Bikability Committee focuses on providing safe walking and biking routes to school and around town. The committee wanted to get outside and feel what our residents experience, so we set aside a day to conduct a “walking audit.” Our partner, EZ Ride, helped coordinate the day for residents and community members to walk with us and inspect the conditions and safety of the sidewalks and bike lanes. During the walk, we asked ourselves, “Is this path safe to walk to school every day?” We documented the need to rebuild many broken sidewalks and unpaved paths. We took pictures, drew maps and envisioned a safer future.

Walk Audit at Park Ave Elementary School, May 2019

We believe in the power of partnerships, so we invited partners, residents and school administrators to support us in our Walkability/Bikability efforts. Through these partnerships, we learned the New Jersey Safe Routes to Schools program bestows Bronze-, Silver- and Gold-level awards to municipalities and schools for their work to support safe routes. Each award level requires a stricter adherence to safety standards, future planning and community partnerships. We embarked on a mission to earn these awards on behalf of the Freehold community. Through the commitment, perseverance and hard work from so many partners, our community has earned the Safe Routes to Schools Gold Award for both Freehold Borough and for Park Avenue Elementary School.

Gold Recognition Award

It took a lot of work, but the partnership and community support we received were vital in making this happen. We want to thank Freehold Borough, the Park Avenue Elementary School administration and other community groups and residents for joining forces with NCTH and making this a reality. We are now in the best possible position to receive additional funding, which will help to continue to move from planning to action, making our town safer. Working one step at a time will lead us to our dream of a safe and active town.

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Raquel Murphy
Neighborhood Connections to Health