The Heat is On!

ar117877265593045It’s only May and the heat is on!  The quality of the air we breathe can have huge implications on our health and well being. Ground level ozone is most dangerous during the hot summer months when strong sunlight and hot weather combine and react with ground level pollution. According to the American Lung Association, 58% of the US population live in areas with unhealthy ozone levels.

Unhealthy ozone levels can make it difficult to breath deeply and damage the airwaves. Children, the elderly, and those with lung disease are most vulnerable during elevated ozone days. Therefore it is important we take necessary precautions on those particular days and try to avoid prolonged outdoor activities.

We can also do our part to reduce ground level ozone by following some simple steps:

  1. Don’t Idle. Not only is burning gas “fuelish”, but exhaust emitted from vehicles releases carbon      dioxide into the air and contributes to climate change.
  2. Refuel during the evening and don’t “top-off” your fuel tank.
  3. Postpone mowing the lawn and grilling until later in the day.
  4. Schedule strenuous activities for early morning or late evening.
  5. Register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership.

The New Jersey Ozone Action Partnership is comprised of hundreds of corporations, government agencies and individuals working to reduce ground-level ozone pollution and curtail its detrimental effects on our health and the environment. As a member of the Partnership, your organization will receive an email alert on days when ground level ozone pollution is in the unhealthy range along with “tips” to help reduce ground level ozone. To register for KMM’s Ozone Action Partnership, and learn more about the Anti-Idling program, visit

NJ Summer Shore – Get Ready, It’s Almost Here!

Android_NJ_playFor many New Jersey residents, driving down the shore is part of their very summer being.  It’s as natural as waking up and brushing their teeth.  This year, more than ever, returning to the Jersey Shore is a symbol of triumph and strength after suffering devastation at the hands of Super Storm Sandy.

In less than 10 days, the Jersey Shore will officially open its beaches on Memorial Day Weekend and kick off the 2013 Summer season.  Along with the smiles and splashes in the ocean waters, however, comes the traffic and delays on the roads.  And while I am sure it will be a welcome sight for many,  sitting is traffic can totally be avoided this year.

How you ask?

The NJ Turnpike Authority recently launched the SafeTripNJ application for all smartphones.  This hands free app offers you traffic advisories in real-time as you are traveling.  The app will remain on while you drive, automatically activating when you approach an area impacted by an  advisory. The app will broadcast  any travel alerts for reported conditions within a set mile-range (that you can set for yourself) of your current location.

So this summer, download the app and jump onto your route to the Jersey Shore.  Smile as you pass your favorite landmarks to your final shore town destination – all while avoiding sitting in summer traffic.  Because this year,  We are Jersey – Jersey Strong.

Let us Come to You This Spring

MH900439345No two companies are alike.  Employee make-up, company goals and geographic locations are just some of the markers that define a company.  At KMM, we understand this reality.  In fact, our approach in assisting companies with commuter benefits makes this a priority.

Interested in learning more about KMM’s programs? Wondering if a fellow employee commutes along the same road? Interested in learning about transit availability near your job? Why not host a transportation fair at your worksite?  A KMM transportation fair is easy to schedule and can be held in conjunction with an employer event, such as Earth Day, or a benefits fair.  KMM staff can also set up an informational table at a central location during lunch to address questions regarding transportation issues and offer informational brochures on a host of commuter programs. You can even schedule an information session for your club or civic group.

In addition, KMM offers a comprehensive package of services, incentives, information and recognition developed by KMM to help employers make it easier for their employees to get to work.
Here are some of the services KMM can provide:

  • On-site transportation fairs
  • On-site transit passes and tax benefit programs
  • Site-specific newsletters for employees

Start fresh this Spring and contact KMM today for a customized transportation fair.  Visit us online or call our offices at 732-745-4465.

THE Guide for Transit Users

traincommuterThe newly updated 2013 Middlesex County Transit Guide is now available for pre-order. The Guide maps local, regional, and interstate bus routes in Middlesex County and key adjacent points. It also shows the NJ Transit Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley rail lines, and Amtrak service.

The back of the map provides a description in both English and Spanish of information useful to transit riders. This includes bus boarding procedures and use of the rail system, fares, special programs, transfers, senior/disabled resident provisions, services to Newark International Airport and Atlantic City, and listings of the various service providers and their respective routes, bus ticket agents, and related websites and telephone numbers.

The map was revised by Keep Middlesex Moving and the Middlesex County Office of Planning with a grant from NJ Transit.   For a copy, email our office at 732-745-4465

How do YOU get to Work?

nj tmac, nj, tmaRegardless of where you live in New Jersey, there is a TMA that can help YOU get to work.  What is a TMA?  Don’t worry.  You are not alone in asking this question.

For starters, KMM is a TMA (yes, that is a mouth-full of acrynoms).  In a nutshell, our office helps commuters find ways to get work and communicate all things related to commuting.

Officially, TMA’s are transportation management associations that serve specific counties throughout the state of New Jersey that work with businesses, commuters, county and local government and state agencies to implement programs that reduce traffic congestions and improve air quality.  No matter where you live in New Jersey, there is a TMA that can offer you travel options across the state.

So take a moment to find the TMA that serves your area.  Most of the programs and services they provide are free and are ready to help you with….

Train Schedules

Carpools & Vanpool

Bike Lockers and Maps

Commuter Reward Programs



Park & Ride

Traffic Alerts

….Because there is always more than one way to get to work!


Ignore the “Cat”-erwauling – Restrain Your Pets in the Car

IM000411.JPGLast week, I was stopped at a traffic light when I was rear ended.  The impact was strong enough to knock a package to floor and cause $1000 worth of damage. Fortunately, there were no injuries.  It did scare the living daylights out of my 18-year-old cat who was secured in his carrier with a seat belt.

We were coming back from a vet visit.  Cognac complains about vet visits but he really doesn’t mind being there because the staff dotes on him erasing all memory of the horrific trip he had to endure to get there.  And, he doesn’t mind riding in the car.  It’s being confined to his carrier that is most vexing.  The caterwauling begins the minute he’s placed in the carrier and doesn’t end until the moment he’s released.  Talking to him doesn’t help because he’s deaf.

This cacophony unnerves me and often I’m tempted to allow him to roam in the car.  After all, our vet is only 10 minutes away.  Yet, as I experienced, accidents do happen, even around the corner from home.  Many pet owners do allow their cats and dogs unfettered access to the back or front seats, dashboards and rear window ledges of their cars.  Yet, the American Kennel Club, the Humane Society, and even all advise securing pets before pulling out of the driveway.

The reason is safety.  In a collision, the vehicle stops but unrestrained drivers, passengers, packages, and pets keep moving, bouncing off the interior of the car or even being thrown from it.  Airbags don’t protect pets since the speed with which an airbag opens and the pressure it exerts can crush an animal.  California, Florida, and other states have laws that require the restraint of pets in cars.  A similar law was under consideration by the NJ Legislature.  I don’t know that we need a law but we sure need some common sense.

You wear a seatbelt.  Your passengers wear seatbelts.  Keep your pet safe by using a backseat hammock, a front seat booster seat for small dogs, a partition, or a vehicle restraint harness.   Or, place your pet in a carrier on the back seat, and secure it with a seatbelt.  When, like Cognac, your pet starts complaining, turn up the radio and sing along.


What’s So Special About Middlesex County?

WWWEYEfinal1Nearly six years ago I stumbled into a meeting with the Director of the Middlesex County Regional Chamber of Commerce (MCRCC).  The people at the meeting were discussing creating a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) within the chamber in order to promote tourism in MiddlesexCounty.  Although I thought tourism in this county was somewhat laughable, they were serving sandwiches so I decided to stay for the meeting.

Since that inaugural meeting, we have seen this idea develop and grow into a high functioning part of the MCRCC.  The mission to collaborate with the business community has been greatly enhanced by our efforts with the hospitality industry.  Thanks to the financial support from our charter members, state grants, and membership dues we have seen the CVB become a valuable resource for our county’s economy.

Travel and tourism is not something that is foreign to Middlesex County.  Our history for travelers goes back before colonial times.  Route 27, which dissects the county, was called the King’s Highway in the 18th century connecting New York and Philadelphia.  New Jersey is the crossroads of the American Revolution and Middlesex County is the crossroads of New Jersey.  No where else does the Turnpike and Parkway intersect.  Our commerce has something for everybody along Route 1, Route 9, Route 18, Route 34 or Route 35.  An employee at the gift ship I was at in Xian, China asked me where I was from in the United States, and when I said NJ he said , “Exit 8A?” (which is also located in Middlesex County).  There is no place else that can be called the home of Thomas Edison and Elsie the Cow.

Middlesex County is the definition of a great location with so much to offer.  We have first-rate theaters, diverse ethnic restaurant choices, a rich history, first class hotels and meeting rooms, and a nationally prominent university.  These are the reasons that these numbers make so much sense.

The state total is over $ 38 billion, and one tenth of our employment base is tied into travel and tourism.

In 2011,  Middlesex County  tourism generated $ 1.8 billion of revenue and provided for over 35,000 jobs.  Middlesex County has and will continue to be near the top in occupancy tax dollars collected, which directly assists municipalities with the ever-increasing burden of property taxes.

Understanding the financial value to this industry is how a regional CVB and MCRCC can help grow our economy.  As I said, our first few years with a volunteer board and a decreased amount of state aid, we were still able to develop a strategy and plan to promote travel and tourism.  In 2012, we began to see the implementation of this plan beginning to take hold.  Our sleek modern website, travel guide, search engine upgrades, and direct radio advertising has seen a significant increase in our visibility and viability.  Our website in 2012 had a 500% increase in hits, our RFP collaboration with hotels has generated some significant business opportunities, and our outreach to local municipal leaders has extended our capacity for local business.

We look at 2013 as a watershed opportunity to have the MCRCC and CVB play a vital role helping our local businesses recover from the doldrums we have seen over the past few years.  We see the Big Ten participation and the Superbowl Game as major boosts to the travel and tourism industries in MiddlesexCounty.  But I believe it would be too limiting to call tourism a sight specific business.  If our restaurants got more people to eat dinner out, there will probably be more work for local plumbers.  If more people visit Middlesex County, our gas stations will sell more gasoline and accountants will have more service station owners needing tax assistance.

Our Freeholder Director announced at his reorganization last week of how much additional collaboration he hopes to achieve with us in 2013.  Our partnership has always been extremely valuable, but having additional support will go a long way to a stronger economic development plan for our county.

We plan on using our business support for over 100 years as a stepping stone to advance the potential positive impact coming our way this year.  We will be promoting Superbowl and Rutgers packages.  We will be fine tuning our marketing research, we will be hosting Meet the Mayors meetings, and we will use our marketing tools to help you grow your business.  We want to help.  We know our value, and we want you to join us to work together for the greater good for Middlesex County residents and businesses.

~BN (Speech given at the Convention of Visitor’s Bureau 2.10.13 event)

Don’t Clown Around

MH900442373Earlier this year, I watched my youngest board the big yellow bus.  He kissed me goodbye without any reservation, hugged me tight and gleefully boarded the bus.  Having seen his older sibling board the bus each day for three years, this day was long coming for him.   As the bus pulled away, I waved and wiped a tear away.

Fast forward to present day.  While kisses and hugs are still shared, the novelty of the bus has worn off and I no longer shed tears.

“Mommy, please drive us to school today.  I want to be the first one in class so I can get the “cool” jobs.”

“Mommy, the bus is so boring.  I have to sit in my seat and not move.”

Needless to say, my Little Man is growing up fast.

However, last week while I waited for the afternoon bus,  I was witness to a crash at the intersection in our neighborhood.  And I was not the only one.  The afternoon bus, which was making its way to our stop, also was close enough to the crash to see what happened.  As the bus slowly made its way to our stop, I could see the shock in the eyes of the children on the bus – including my own children.

“Mommy, did you see that!  I am so glad I was sitting with my seatbelt.  We had to stop and I wasn’t paying attention because we were so busy talking about Santa and by the way I need to change my letter to Santa and………”

And so my friends, it never hurts to brush up on our skills.  I came across this video the team over at Middlesex County Traffic Safety Program created to help children learn the rules of bus safety.  I share this video with you and encourage you to share it with others – especially your little ones!  Please click on the link below.


Feisty Granny Gives Impatient Driver His Comeuppance

I am sure by now, you have seen the latest viral video, but let me share with you – my Mother would have loved the lady in this video!

Just case you haven’t seen the video….

“Good for her,” Mom would have said, adding, “old age ain’t for sissies, you know.”

MH900409517Of course, she stole that line from the late radio and television personality Art Linkletter.  But, he probably borrowed from Bette Davis or H.L. Mencken.  Whoever said it, was right.

Mom was active and sassy.  In her late 70s, she belonged to a community group, the Singing Seniors.  They would go to “the home” and entertain the “old people.”  She drove a mean scooter in the local grocery store.  But, even Mom had to slow down when she faced hip replacement surgery.

Just before the surgery, she and I were at an intersection in our town.  The light changed; the “Walk” signal appeared.  We started crossing the street very slowly.  The light counted down and we were still in the middle of the intersection.  Suddenly, we heard a loud, obnoxious, and prolonged car horn.  You know the sound –Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Mom froze in the middle of the intersection!  Froze!  A car horn will do that to a person.  After a moment, Mom commenced her sojourn across the street.   I walked over to the offensive driver.

In a huff, the driver asked, “What’s the hold up?”

“My Mom’s crossing the street.  She needs a little more time.”

“Oh,” replied the driver sheepishly.

Aging is rough enough without having a young, impatient whippersnapper, like the one my Mother encountered or the one in this video, honk as you try to cross the street.

What was the driver thinking?  Did he think about his own Mom or Grammy?  Did he wonder if the pedestrian was impeded by a medical problem – arthritis, a bad leg or hip?  Did it occur to him that the aging process just slowed her down?  Did his brain process that the horn may have startled her and caused her to fall?

I don’t think he thought about anything but his precious time.  He had places to go after all.  And now, he had to wait for this old lady to cross the street.  I can hear him sigh deeply “Life is so unfair.”

Like many of us, he didn’t relate to the challenges of aging or old age.  We all need a little patience, a little understanding, and a little sympathy because one day we may be crossing the street.

My Mom also used to say, “It’s no fun getting old.”

In reply, I would ask, “Mom, what’s the alternative?”


Hello world!

KMM-small-1KMM is proud to launch our very new Intersections blog!  Here we will share our thoughts, ideas and information to those who are interested in alternative modes of commuting, sustainable issues and community programing geared to safety.  We hope you enjoy our blog as much as we enjoy blogging!

Happy and Safe Commuting