Be Social for the Holidays by snapping a picture and sharing it with KMM. Each week, KMM will post a theme and encourage everyone to capture a picture that embodies the theme. And because it is the jolliest season of all, each week’s theme pertains to the Holiday Season.
This week’s theme is: Over the river and through the woods to…
It’s easy to participate. Take a picture using the selected theme and share it on either Google +Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and make sure to tag your photo #kmmwintercommuter.
A winning photo will be selected each week and receive a $5 gift card to Dunkin Donuts. All entries this week must be submitted by Friday at 4pm and a winner will be announced each Monday at 11am on KMM’s Facebook page.
Ah the holidays, “the most wonderful time of the year.” You’ve made your list. You’ve checked it twice. Sure, you’ve ordered some gifts online but it just not the same as shopping at a brick and mortar store. You love the carols and decorated windows. You enjoy sharing smiles and warm greetings with other shoppers, indulging in a hot cocoa and cookie, and carrying festive bags to your car. So, you’re off to the mall.
That’s when the dream begins to unravel. Before you can hear the jingle bells, see the glittery displays, and drink your hot cocoa, you have to park your car. Can there be a worse place than a retail parking lot in December?
It’s mayhem from the moment you enter the lot until the moment you leave. AAA Mid-Atlantic offers some great tips for navigating the mall parking lot:
Play the outfield. Everyone wants a space near the door and many will fight for the right to park upfront. Head to the back of the lot. Usually, the outlying area has more open spaces, lighter traffic, and a lower risk of collision. But, remote spaces may be less secure, so be mindful of the risks particularly returning to your car at night. If you’re shopping alone and have a number of packages, ask a mall security guard to accompany you to your car.
See and be seen. Use your headlights when searching for a space in a parking garage. Avoid parking between a pair of SUVs or minivans as it might be hard to back out of the space.
Remember where you’ve parked. Choose a well-lit area to park during early morning hours and at night. Pay attention to where you’ve parked, noting signs and markers. Take a picture with your smartphone. When returning to your car, have your keys in hand and check the car’s interior before entering the vehicle. Use a penlight at night.
Stay on track and be alert. When behind the wheel always watch for pedestrians, especially small children. Pedestrians should use walkways and crosswalks, if available. If pedestrians must walk in traffic lanes, they should watch for exhaust or reverse lights – a sure sign that the vehicle is about to pull out.
Put it down. Mobile devices distract pedestrians and can lead to unfortunate encounters with vehicles, other pedestrians, or even thieves. Drivers, too, should stow the mobile device and pay attention to the activity around them.
Use the trunk. It takes a thief only a few seconds to smash a car window. Lock you purchases in the trunk, away from prying eyes.
Take transit. Check out the bus schedules on njtransit.com. NJ Transit is offering extended service on many popular bus routes to major malls until December 27.
If your holiday experience includes a trip to the mall, be bright, be merry, and be safe.
Often, things don’t happen quickly in the field of transportation demand management. Projects can take years to go from conception to design to implementation. So, I was a little self-satisfied when I saw the new blinking yellow traffic signal and Stop for Pedestrians in Crosswalk signs on New Brunswick’s Paterson Street near Robert Wood Johnson (RWH) Medical Center.
My colleague drives the route everyday and noticed that the crosswalk traffic light was always green, indicating drivers had the right of way. Yet, pedestrians would cross the street boldly in front of oncoming cars.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” she exclaimed.
Late last year, I investigated. My field observations confirmed her concerns. The light remained green because pedestrians didn’t push the button for the pedestrian crossing signal. They didn’t use the button because it took 30 seconds for the light to change.
Sometimes the motorist would stop; sometimes not. Sometimes a pedestrian would look left-right-left, sometimes the pedestrian would step into the street without a glance. Lacking clear directions, pedestrians and motorists had established an uneasy truce.
My report contained a number of recommendations to improve the conditions. It was presented to various stakeholders. I thought it might end up on the shelf like other reports. But, I was wrong.
Recently, my colleague urged me to return to Paterson Street. I was happily surprised to see that the red and green phases of the traffic light have been replaced with a flashing yellow light. Two pedestrian crossing signs have been placed in the roadway. These economical, simple, quick fixes have reduced confusion and created a safer environment in which pedestrians and motorists can co-exist.
I congratulate the stakeholders who made this happen.
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.
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!
Our roads are intended to be shared by cyclists, motorist and pedestrians too! And yet, we may not be aware of “the rules” of sharing the road. KMM has put together a helpful list of the most important tips we should all review before we get behind handlebars or a wheel.
Communicate your intentions
Cyclists, use hand signals consistently. Motorists, use turn signals in advance of turning to let everyone know your intentions.
Everybody Follows the Same Rules
Cyclists are safer when riding in the same direction as motorists and follow all the same rules as motorists. Motorists come to a full stop when at a stop sign and do not speed through a yellow light to avoid the wait at a red light.
The Road Looks Different
Cyclists, scan the road ahead to have enough time to signal if you need to move out of the way. Motorists, sewer grates, broken glass, gravel and puddles are all hazards to cyclists. Always leave a three-foot buffer in the event a cyclist needs to move out of their lane.
Everybody Wins With Courtesy
Cyclists, the more courtesy you are with motorists, the more courtesy drivers will be. Motorists, giving cyclists extra respect and consideration creates a safer environment for everyone.
Cyclists, NJ law requires all bikes be equipped with a horn or bell so that your presence is greatly increased. Motorists, although the horn is used as a safety tool, it can be dangerous if used in extreme proximity to a cyclist. A light tap on the horn is sufficient.
Managing Electronic Devices
Both cyclists and motorist, leave the cell phones, iPods and blackberry in your bags and not in your hands as you are driving or riding. By doing so, you are keeping everyone safe.
And don’t forget, pedestrians have rights too! Both cyclists and motorists are required by law to yield for pedestrians in crosswalks. While pedestrians have the responsibility to be visible and predictable when using a crosswalk, cyclists and motorists can observe each others actions when approaching a crosswalk to anticipate a pedestrian using a crosswalk.
For more information, visit www.kmm.org for all your transportation needs.
Tomorrow, July 31, is National Heatstroke Prevention Day and we at KMM would like to share with you some safety tips everyone can use. Let’s prevent this ver terrible tragedy from occurring.
When outside temperatures are in the low 80s, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes, even with a window rolled down two inches. Children’s bodies overheat easily, and infants and children under four years old are at the greatest risk for heat-related illness.
KMM, along with NHTSA, Safe Kids and its safety partners, are urging parents and caregivers to take the following precautions to prevent heat stroke incidents from occurring:
Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle — even if the windows are partially open or the engine is running and the air conditioning is on;
Make a habit of looking in the vehicle — front and back — before locking the door and walking away;
Ask the childcare provider to call if the child does not show up for care as expected;
Do things that serve as a reminder that a child is in the vehicle, such as placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat to ensure no child is accidentally left in the vehicle, or writing a note or using a stuffed animal placed in the driver’s view to indicate a child is in the car seat; and,
Teach children that a vehicle is not a play area and store keys out of a child’s reach.
Summer brings long days, warm weather and more time spent enjoying the outdoors. However, the occasional (or more-like weekly, these days) thunderstorms also make their summer appearance as the skies open and deluge us with heavy, blinding rain.
While it’s safest to stay off the roads during these heavy storms, sometimes the rain comes quickly and fierce. KMM shares with you five important tips for driving in the rain.
First and foremost, drive slow and focused.
If driving on a highway, drive in the center lane since water tends to pool on the left and right lanes.
If your wipers are on, so should your lights. This keeps you visible to other drivers and helps you navigate the blinding rain too!
Never drive through moving water, especially if you can’t see the roadway.
Follow the tread marks of the car ahead of you and make sure to keep at least 5 seconds of driving distance between you and the car ahead of you.
It happens each year. You drive your normal commute route and find the traffic is slightly lighter than normal and the sun is shining. And then you realize, it’s that time of year – The Summer Commute. (Of course, this does NOT apply to the commuters who live by the NJ shore)
Along with the summer commute comes the summer heat. Play it cool and smart this year and be in the know of how to deal with the summer heat. Aside from keeping hydrated, think about your daily commute and activities. Here are six ways you can prepare.
1. “Trip Link”by doing all errands at one time, you avoid unnecessary cold starts. An engine that’s been sitting for an hour or more pollutes five TIMES as much as a warm one.
2. Refuel at the end of the day. Ozone levels are usually at their highest in the mid-to late afternoon and pumping gas emits tons of VOC’s into the air a day. So save your pumping until evening.
3. Don’t “top off” your fuel tank This is never a good idea, no matter what time of day, because it causes fumes to escape.
4. Postpone mowing the lawn until late in the day or use an electric mower instead.
5. Grill outdoors in the late afternoon and avoid using charcoal lighter fluid (Try using a fire-starter chimney.), or use an electric or propane grill.
6. Reschedule strenuous outdoor activates. Avoid exercising, gardening or spending time outside during prime hours of 11am to 5pm when the temperatures are at their peak. Try conducting your outdoor activies before activities or after 6pm.
Remember, whatever you can do to help DOES make a difference. Register for Ozone Alerts and stay cool this summer!
Not sure how to get to your destination by train or bus in Middlesex County?
Check out KMM’s interactive map on kmm.org. The map allows users to pinpoint their location and the mass transit available in the area. In addition, the map also provides direct access to scheduling and fare information.
The map is designed to direct users to mass transit and the many connections available to a commuter. For example, a commuter who may live in the southern area of Middlesex County and commutes to North Jersey can find that instead of driving the turnpike or parkway alone, can park at the Exit 8a park and ride lot and take one of the many buses that travels into Newark and then connect to the Northeast Corridor Train line in Secaucus Junction.
In addition to mass transit, the map also provides bike locker, bike baths, municipal centers and all libraries located in the county. The KMM interactive map is a commuter’s friend.
Visit the site today and get started on easier commute.