NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—“Transportation is a factor of many major life decisions,” said Keep Middlesex Moving Director of Operations Roberta Karpinecz.
Keep Middlesex Moving, a non-profit focused on transportation and transit safety, helps make these major life decisions much easier.
Bill Neary, the Executive Director of Keep Middlesex Moving, says the organization strives to “reduce traffic congestion [and] improve air quality while helping people get around without having to individually drive.” KMM has been in existence for 25 years.
KMM is funded through a variety of programs including the Transportation Management Association, the North Jersey Planning Transportation Authority, and several government and business partners such as the City of New Brunswick, Johnson and Johnson, and several others.
One of Keep Middlesex Moving’s most successful programs is the ‘Ticket to Work’ program. This program gives any job seeker in Middlesex County 3 round trip bus tickets while he or she is looking for work.
If the person is hired, he or she will receive two weeks worth of free bus tickets to allow the person to travel freely to and from work until their first paycheck. Any person, regardless of documentation status, can register for the ‘Ticket to Work’ program. 70 or more people use this service every quarter.
This program is for many of Middlesex County’s residents for whom “a car isn’t an economic reality,” said Bill Neary.
Keep Middlesex Moving provides a variety of program and information assistance for residents who cannot afford a car, or do not have a valid license, as well as for any commuters who are looking to decrease their environmental footprint.
For example, the Information Notification Network, soon to become a mobile phone application, sends out traffic alerts and road closure information in real time to over tens of thousands of subscribers.
Keep Middlesex Moving also offers a carpool rider match-up service (matching potential carpoolers to one another) which includes three emergency rides a year from a car service. These free rides can be used when a carpool partner has a family emergency, doctor’s appointment, or other obligation where they can’t fulfill the carpool duties.
In addition to Keep Middlesex Moving’s mission to encourage mass transit use and a decrease in automobile reliance, KMM also focuses on the safety of bike riders and pedestrians.
According to the KMM 2014 Annual Report, “NJ’s pedestrian fatality rate was nearly twice that of the entire country.” To lower this alarming statistic, Keep Middlesex Moving has initiated a variety of programs to educate both car drivers and pedestrians.
Specific populations such as the elderly and school children are educated on what it means to be a good pedestrian. They are encouraged to walk on only on designated crosswalks, to use the traffic signal buttons, and to look both ways before crossing.
Recently, at the Paterson street intersection near Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, Keep Middlesex Moving advocated to add a blinking yellow light to slow down drivers and to give pedestrians a safer and more direct place to cross. “It really is much safer.” Karpinecz says. This type of concrete improvement is changing the city to a more walkable place.
“How many children will look left right left when crossing the street because of our programs?” Roberta Karpinecz asks when inquired for specific numbers on KMM’s outreach. She elaborates that it’s hard to know the specifics, but she can see the results all around her in the increased level of safety people are taking every day.
If you are interested in any services that Keep Middlesex Moving provides, you can call the office at 732-745-4465 or go on kmm.org.