JESPY client named to committee that is studying public safety

JESPY client Michael J. is shown here speaking at a South Orange Township Board of Trustees meeting. He has been appointed to a public safety committee.

SOUTH ORANGE — For the first time, a client of JESPY has been named to a South Orange Village committee.
A JESPY client, identified as Michael J., has been named to the Walk Bike Ride South Orange Committee created by the township’s Board of Trustees and tasked with advocating for public safety throughout the township.
Michael, who regularly participates in monthly Trustee meetings, hopes to provide a voice about mobility challenges, particularly related to sidewalks, lighting, and street crossings in South Orange
“It’s a great honor to be on the Pedestrian Safety committee,” said Michael, who has advocated for housing and other social issues in the past. “I’m happy to help out the disabled community. I really want to bring insight through the eyes of someone who is disabled.”
JESPY is currently celebrating its 45th anniversary of providing programs and services to adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities age 18 and older.
The South Orange-based nonprofit supports 260 adults along their journey to
independence in the areas of clinical services, athletics and fitness, case management, work readiness and employment, recreational and Day Habilitation programming.
The Walk Bike Ride Committee is led by chair and South Orange resident Julia Plath. The committee’s goal is to advocate for safe, improved pedestrian, cycling and public transportation infrastructure and experiences; provide input into the design and operation of crossings, roadways, sidewalks, and multi-use paths; serve as a forum for community input; and promote traffic safety enforcement and education.
“Walk Bike Ride South Orange has formed in order to advise the Board of Trustees on community mobility issues by advocating for improved pedestrian, bicycling, and public transit experiences,” Plath said.
As part of his role on the Public Safety Committee, Michael hopes to learn more about pedestrian traffic and how the use of other means of transportation, such as cycling, affect residents’ daily lives.
“I want to expand my knowledge while I’m on the committee and become a bigger voice for those who are struggling when it comes to limitations and maneuvering traffic,” Michael says.
Upcoming Walk Bike Ride projects include creating a traffic-calming policy, implementing mobility suggestions, surveying needed sidewalk improvements, and adding new bike lanes.