2023 is wrapping up, and what a busy year we’ve had! From transit workshops to Street Smart campaigns to EV shows, and everything in-between, we’ve enjoyed connecting with the community and sharing information on safe, sustainable transportation in Somerset County.
Please enjoy pictures from our programming this past year. We can’t wait to see what 2024 will bring!
RideWise continued teaching residents in the community how to use public transportation through our travel training program. Over 350 people received travel training over the course of 25 workshops and numerous individual sessions. Some of those who participated include residents at Somerville Senior Citizens Housing, students from North Plainfield High School and Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and 14 individual clients. Students in the STEP (School to Employment Program) class at Bridgewater-Raritan High School also took a travel training lesson to Turf, Surf & Earth in Somerville, where owner Mackenzie Salazar and the amazing staff provided a hands-on employment experience for the students on what it takes to run a successful restaurant. RideWise also provided transportation Q&A drop-in hours at the Somerville Senior Citizens Housing.
Safe Routes to School
In May, RideWise presented 16 bicycle and pedestrian safety events at Bridgewater, Raritan, North Plainfield, and Franklin Township schools for Bike and Walk to School Month. More than 650 students learned the importance of wearing a helmet, New Jersey bike laws, proper hand signaling, riding/walking without distractions, checking the air, brakes, and chain before riding, and safely crossing streets and intersections. In October, RideWise led Safety Town classes at these schools as part of Walk to School Month, and attended Stony Brook in North Plainfield’s Walk-a-Thon as part of Walk to School Month in October.
RideWise partnered with Bound Brook Police Department to hold a Street Smart campaign in October. Street Smart messages were shared with Bound Brook’s business community, HOPE Church, the Bound Brook branch of the Somerset County Library, and Middle Earth. RideWise also worked with the Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership on spreading the Street Smart message.
Somerville EV Car Show
On October 1, RideWise, NJ Electric Vehicle Association (NJEVA), and the Somerville Environmental Commission held an EV Car Show as part of the Somerville Street Fair. Nineteen volunteers from NJEVA showed off their EVs in the show, and Somerset County had two electric county vehicles on display.
Scarlett Receives her Gold Award
RideWise had the wonderful opportunity to partner with a local Girl Scout, Scarlett D’Aprile, on her Gold Award, the highest award available in Girl Scouts. For her project, Scarlett created activities and lesson plans for students, both in younger grades and in high school driver’s education classes, focusing on anti-idling and the effect of gas-powered vehicles on air quality.
RideWise and Pops Bike Shop’s continued to supply refurbished bikes to adults in need of transportation through BikeConnect. This year, RideWise celebrated our 50th BikeConnect client, and we received 19 bike donations from the community.
Let’s Go Electric Webinars
This summer saw the return of the Let’s Go Electric EV Coalition webinar series. Three webinars were presented: “Answering your EV Questions & Busting EV Myths,” which covered some of the myths around safety concerns with EVs, affordability of EVs, reliability of charging, and availability of public charging infrastructure; “The ‘Gas Station’ of the Future,” which covered the future of public EV charging infrastructure; and “The EV Car-Buying Experience,” which covered everything you need to know to purchase an EV, from incentives to tax breaks to in-home charging.
RideWise in the Community
RideWise was present at so many great community events this year, such as our Earth Day Bike Drive, the Eli Lilly Earth Day Fair, a Franklin Township Bike Rodeo, the Somerset County Disability Expo, the Hillsborough Green Fair, the Disability Transition Fair, the Somerville Community Resource Fair, and the North Plainfield Community Health Fair. Additionally, RideWise partnered with the Somerset Helps Mobile Outreach Van and Somerset Food Bank at several Red Rock Preserve Food Distribution events and the Somerset County Food Bank, to bring information on TransitConnect and BikeConnect to residents without transportation.