As we neared the end of our ShapingNJ grant period, just one item remained unchecked on our project list. Two of our three target communities – Bound Brook and Manville – had adopted Complete Streets, and we were pleased to learn that Somerville, the last of our target communities, had placed it on the agenda for their September 8 council meeting. With Healthier Somerset representatives in the audience, the resolution passed and Somerville became the eighth municipality in Somerset County to adopt a Complete Streets resolution. Over one third of Somerset County municipalities are now on board with a commitment to make our roads safer for all those who use them.
When we started our project, we knew that we needed policy change to create an environment that would support healthier lifestyles. We learned that implementing change takes time, patience, perseverance, and collaboration.
We also learned that partnerships not only make the workload easier, they also improve the final product. All of the partners who participated contributed ideas and energy that changed our perspective and helped us meet our objectives in ways that we had not imagined almost a year ago, when we prepared our grant application.
Here’s what we all achieved by working together:
- “Complete Streets” policies passed in 3 targeted municipalities
- 16 bicycle racks purchased and distributed in targeted municipalities
- 300 vouchers distributed for purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables in local farmers markets
- 6 nutrition seminars presented; attended by 125 children and adults
- 140 bus tickets given out for free rides on Somerset County public buses
- Increased partnerships among county agencies
As we close the chapter on this grant, we would like to recognize all our partners and thank them for their support and contributions:
- EmPoWER Somerset
- Morris-Somerset Regional Chronic Disease Coalition
- NJ SNAP-Ed
- RideWise TMA
- RWJUH Somerset
- Sanofi US
- Somerset County Food Bank Network
- Somerset County Health Officers Association
- Zufall Health Center