Belleville recognized for work to make walking, cycling to school safer

BELLEVILLE, NJ — Belleville has been recognized by the New Jersey Department of Transportation for its efforts to encourage safer and more accessible walking and bicycling environments for school children.

The township has been awarded bronze-level certification from the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Program, funded by the Federal Highway Administration.

In order to receive the certification, municipalities must meet several criteria, ranging from participating in two Safe Routes to School Program events to creating an observation report on busy crossing guard locations to passing a municipal resolution of support.

Belleville has demonstrated that it remains committed to the ongoing mission of the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Program: encouraging a healthy and active lifestyle by walking and biking to school, building a safer environment for walking and bicycling, teaching safe walking and biking practices, and improving behavior of all road users.

“Our children are our most precious resource,” Mayor Michael Melham said. “Nobody knows this better than Dr. Richard Tomko, the superintendent of schools. Keeping them safe as they walk and bike to school is our priority. Participation in the Safe Routes to School Program is a natural extension.”

“If we are going to promote healthy activities, such as walking or biking to school, then we all share a responsibility to make sure the paths throughout town are as safe as possible,” police Chief Mark Minichini said, adding that a representative of the Belleville Police Department will be on hand to accept the award at a statewide event on Dec. 7.