August 30th is National Beach Day!

Everyone loves a trip to the beach, right? Watching the waves crashing, children playing in the sand, and feeling the warmth of the sun makes for the perfect beach day!

It’s such a great experience that we should always ensure the enjoyment it brings to everyone headed down the shore.

Every year, millions of aquatic/shore animals die from trash and debris left behind by beachgoers. It is important that everyone enjoying their day at the beach take the time to leave no trace of their fun once it’s over. Simply cleaning up after yourself and picking up waste reduces the risk of animals being trapped or tangled in trash. This also lessens the chance that their homes will be destroyed by garbage, allowing them to swim freely and live a longer healthier life.

Not only does cleaning up help protect the animals; it keeps the waters cleaner and safer for you to be in. Whether you swim, dive, or surf, being in the water with garbage floating around doesn’t make the experience a pleasant one. If you see trash laying in the sand, plastic bottles in the water or anything that could be dangerous, throw it out properly. You can do this by using a garbage can or recycle bin to dispose of the trash. Having cleaner waters doesn’t allow as many toxins to spread which overall makes swimming safer for everyone.

Celebrate your love for the shore this Thursday, August 30 on National Beach Day! This national holiday is meant to not only celebrate the beauty of the beach but also call attention to keeping the waters clean and safe for everyone. Be sure you do your part by keeping the beaches clean for the animals that live there and for all the generations of beachgoers to come!

August is National Family Fun Month

August is National Family Fun Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to seize the remainder of summer by spending time with family. Here are some cool activities to help you and your family finish out the summer!

Take a family bike ride. Make sure everyone is wearing properly fitted helmets and all bikes are in good riding condition. Following our A B C Bicycle Safety Checklist is a great way to make sure your bikes are ready to ride.

Going on a last minute family beach trip is not only exciting, but it is the perfect way to spend a hot summer day. Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated and make sure you apply sunscreen to keep your skin protected from the suns UV rays.

Lace up your sneakers and take a walk with the family. Walking in the park, on the beach, or around your neighborhood is a great way to stay active together. Remember that cars do not always see pedestrians walking, so make sure you look both ways before crossing the street and always be aware of your surroundings.

After a long day at work, the thought of going out can be exhausting. To avoid this, consider having a family movie night.  Pick out your favorite family movie, get the popcorn ready, and enjoy the night together.

The month of August doesn’t have to mean back to school shopping and the thought of summer ending. Instead, spending time with your family is a great way to make the most of summer’s last days.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are safe and are having fun with your family!

Subway System – 25 Years in the Making

Recently, I visited my Mother in Isfahan, Iran.  Isfahan, my hometown, is a metropolitan city in the center of Iran with a regional population of 3.5 million.

The day before I was scheduled to return to the US, I decided to walk downtown and observe the changes that had occurred since I immigrated to the West 22 years ago.  I really wanted to check out the city’s subway system.

From 1982-1992, I was the Deputy Director of the State Transportation Department and Chairman of the Board of Isfahan Traffic Organization.  I was part of the team that worked on the feasibility study for the subway system.

It started with a group of volunteer professionals, including myself, willing to devote our personal time to the dream of a modern transportation system in our town.  We compiled data which documented the urgent need for a subway to supplement the existing but inadequate public transit system, the limited capacity of city streets, and increasing traffic congestion.  With enthusiastic community support, we believed it could happen.  In fact, the National Traffic Council and the Congress supported the project and allocated funding for its construction.

But then, the geopolitical landscape changed.  There was no money to move forward.

I had heard that the subway had finally been completed and opened in October 2015.  The subway system stretches along 7.5 miles of track with 10 stations.  Currently, there is a plan to add about 25 miles and 3 more lines.  Now, I was ready to see it for myself.

The train was on time, and the ride was so quiet and comfortable. The stations look clean and pleasant with beautiful designs of cultural artworks, escalators running to and from the street, good signage and guide maps, and other amenities for riders.  With a feeling of great accomplishment and a little pride, I bought a ticket and took a ride on the subway I never thought would be constructed.

As I rode, I thought of my colleagues, our work, our vision, and our determination all those years ago.  And, I remembered an old saying “Every Accomplishment Starts with the Decision to Try.”

 

Written by Morteza Ansari, KMM Transportation Planner

Ready, Set, Run!

Lace your sneakers. Check your watch. Stretch your legs.  But before taking a lap around your block, check out our running safety tips:

Do Not Run Alone. Having a friend or dog with you as a running partner will make you a less attractive target for potential attackers. This also helps inspire others to join you while being active and having fun.

Run Against Traffic. This helps prevent traffic related accidents, especially if you are someone who likes to run early in the morning or at dusk.

Look Both Ways. At any time during your run, be sure to look both ways before crossing the street. Staying aware of oncoming traffic and cars that may not see you.

Always Bring Your Cellphone. Having your cellphone handy while running is the best way to communicate with others in case of any accident or emergency.

Know Where You Are Going. Running confidently not only displays confidence but also allows you to enjoy your run without any confusion or disruptions.

It does not matter how fast you run or how far you may go. The most important thing is that you have fun and participate in safe ways. June 6th is National Running Day and the day promotes simply putting one foot in front of the other so you can get moving.

Put on your running shoes, grab your running partner and embrace the day!

Travel Green. Travel Clean.

Keeping our water, air, and land pollution-free is vital to everyday life.   It’s our job to keep our Earth green! We must conserve as much energy as we can at home, at school, and in our day-to-day activities. For example, using the bus to get to school, riding a bike to the park, or carpooling with friends to a practice or game are all ways that we can help reduce pollution.

Here at KMM, we are sponsoring a bookmark illustrating contest for all Middlesex County students in the 5th grade to create a bookmark that best embodies the theme Travel Green. Travel Clean.  Winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift card from Magyar Bank and the illustration will also be printed and distributed to schools across the County.

For more details and to enter, download this form and mail it back to our offices.  All entries must be postmarked by March 24, 2018.

 

 

The Best Commute in New Jersey

kmm guest post blogI boast to myself often, and sometimes to co-workers, that I have the best commute in New Jersey!   My name is Sam Gilbert, and I bicycle several days a week from Middlesex Borough to the Johnson and Johnson campus in New Brunswick.  Approximately 6 miles of my 9 mile commute is along the Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath. I enter the towpath at the Queen’s Bridge in South Bound Brook, and exit it at the Landing Lane Bridge.  And, it is a truly a pleasurable ride.

I average 70 or 80 bike commutes a year, excluding the winter.   Though I carry rain gear in my back pack when the weather is “iffy,” I tend to ride on days when the weather reports are favorable.  And, in case you’re wondering, I do have access to a shower at work!!

An added treat is the wildlife I enjoy along the canal.  A casual birder, I have seen herons, osprey, a great Horned Owl, a Bald Eagle and more!  Deer are a given.  But, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, muskrats are also to be seen.  And then, there are the beavers.

KMM guest post blogIn the past few years, there has been a population explosion of Beavers in NJ. I’ve seen few of them along the canal in the past.   But this year, beavers are swimming in the canal almost every day! There is beaver hut on the bank of the canal approximately 100 yards south of the footbridge near where Demott Lane meets the canal.  A beaver is often seen in this area, and I see another near the Landing Lane Bridge.  I suspect there is a beaver hut in this area.

“The best bicycle commute in NJ?  OK, maybe I exaggerate, but only slightly.   I REALLY do enjoy my ride.  Perhaps some other NJ Bike commuters will share their experiences of cycling to work.  If there is a better bicycle commute than mine, I’d sure like to read about it.

Post written by guest blogger, S. Gilbert.  Photos by guest blogger, S. Gilbert

O Tannenbaum, How Lovely Are Your Branches

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

In NJ and around the world, cutting down a Christmas tree has become a family tradition.  On a crisp December day, Mom and Dad bundle up the kids, pile into the car, and head out to a tree farm.  Hack saw in hand, they trek through the fields and over the hills inspecting, rejecting, and finally, finding the perfect tree.  Alternatively, the family stops at a nearby lot and selects a pre-cut tree.  Wherever the tree is purchased, it has to be brought home.  That’s when the trouble starts.

While this stately tree may fit perfectly in front of your picture window, it may be a bit oversized for your car.  How do you transport your Tannenbaum safely from field to foyer?

The folks at www.cars.com asked the experts at the National Christmas Tree Association for some tips on transporting your tree.

  • Get your Christmas tree netted before leaving the lot to make it more manageable. If it’s going on the roof, the trunk should be facing front.
  • Make sure to select a tree that will either fit inside your cargo area or on top of your roof. A roof rack is a good idea.
  • Have enough rope or cord to wrap around the tree and secure it to the roof rack or to cargo hooks.
  • Protect the cargo area or roof with a tarp or blanket.
  • Before leaving the lot, give the tree a good tug to make sure it’s secure.
  • Drive slowly and avoid the highway. Heavy objects affect your vehicle’s center of gravity and consequently emergency handling.

The NJ State Police emphasize that improperly secured trees can cause the tree to slide down the windshield and obstructing the driver’s view or falling off the roof and strike another vehicle.  They suggest planning ahead and arrive in a vehicle to support the size of tree you select.

Whether your holiday plans call for “rockin’ around the Christmas tree,” or sitting in quiet contemplation, make sure you and your tree arrive home safely.

New Brunswick Ciclovia Did it Again!

Our super nurse volunteers (courtesy Diana Starace, Safe Kids  Middlesex County)
Our super nurse volunteers                                                       (courtesy Diana Starace, Safe Kids Middlesex County)

KMM and Safe Kids Middlesex County (based at the Level 1 Trauma Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital) teamed up again to distribute free bicycle helmets and challenge kid’s bike safety skills at New Brunswick Ciclovia.

The third city-wide open streets event of this year took place on Sunday, October 12th. Four volunteers from the nursing program at New Jersey City University helped us fit helmets on heads, explain the importance of helmet use to kids and parents, and guide children through a short skill course.

Riding the course (courtesy Veronica Torres)
Riding the course (courtesy Veronica Torres)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to all the families that came out on this beautiful day!

The World Gathers to Demand Climate Change Action Plan

mombabyclimatemarchUN Secretary General Ban K-Moon was there.  So were NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Leonardo DeCaprio.  So was an unnamed baby resting on his Mother’s chest.   My wife and I were there, too.  We were among the 310,000 marchers who gathered in Central Park on Sunday for the People’s Climate March just 2 days before the UN Climate Conference on September 23.

New York City was not alone.  Hundreds of thousands like-minded people came together in cities around the world to support climate change action now.

The purpose of the UN Conference is to catalyze “action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society … for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions …that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.”  The Secretary General called for UN members to “innovate, scale-up, cooperate and deliver concrete action that will close the emissions gap.”

March organizers said it was time to “demand action not words.”  Yet, it was through the words in chants and on banners that participants got their message across.

“There is no planet B”

“Don’t nuke the climate”

“Don’t frack with us”

Fracking= Climate change

“Treat your mama (Earth) with respect.”

 climatemarchkmmMy wife and I were fascinated that people of all ages, nationalities, religions and political perspectives marched peacefully and energetically united in a common cause.  As concerned citizens who worry about the future of our planet for our grandchildren and yours, we were proud to be part of the Climate March and left NYC feeling hopeful about the “day after tomorrow. “

 

Take the Car Free Challenge!

Join hundreds of Middlesex County commuters and millions of commuters everywhere in going Car Free or Car Lite on September 22, 2014. KMM will host a week-long event from September 21st to September 26th where we challenge you to try going Car Free or Car Lite just once during the week-long celebration.

Register and pledge to take the challenge. Everyone who registers is entered to win a host of prizes, such as:

  • Travel Mug + $10 Dunkin Donuts Gift Cardcar_v6
  • Travel Ear buds and $20 iTunes gift card
  • Travel Water Bottle and $20 Amazon Gift Card
  • Amazon Kindle reader

 

What is Car Free? 

Car Free Week is a worldwide movement to raise awareness about the negative impacts motor vehicles have on our environment. Car Free Week encourages people to reduce dependence on automobiles by Going Car Free or Car Lite for one day.

 

When did the Car Free Movement Begin?

The first official Car Free Day occurred in Europe on September 22, 1999. By 2005, over 112 million people worldwide participated in Car Free Day.

 

Why go Car Free?

Our dependence on the automobile harms our planet, our communities, and our lives. Noise and air pollution, traffic congestion, safety concerns make our cities and towns less attractive and less desirable. Going Car Free or Car Lite saves on gas and reduces wear and tear on your car. Walking or bicycling promotes fitness and health. Car Free Month can reconnect neighbors and neighborhoods.

 

Can you live without your car for one day?

Not sure you can do it?  Here are some easy ways to start!

  • Take a train or bus
  • Ride a bike
  • Walk to lunch
  • Bring a brown bag lunch
  • Work from home
  • Carpool or Vanpool

Are you ready to take the Car Free Challenge?

 Register today and make a change!