Safe Streets JC is one of Jersey City’s most active and effective City-wide advocacy organizations. They have been vocal participants in local governance, with a clear policy agenda and an inclusive strategy that brings together lawmakers, local government administrators, and other local advocacy groups with the mission of improving safety for everyone. The Partnership was proud to award them one of the 2018 mini-grants, and asked them to answer the same five questions as the rest of our mini-grantees. Below are their answers:
What does building a Culture of Health in Jersey City mean to you?
Safe Streets JC is very focused on promoting a Culture of Health in Jersey City. For us, this means the City committing through priorities and actions to the concept that personal safety is a right for all people as they use all modes of transportation – walking, biking, driving & public transit. Injuries and death should never be an acceptable byproduct of mobility for anyone, and mobility should be safe and accessible for all abilities, ages, income levels and across all neighborhoods. We believe that encouraging and promoting walking, biking and mass transit use over driving whenever possible will encourage healthy mobility choices for residents’ individual health, and also improve our air quality by reducing the number of cars on our roads Lastly, we want to see the city greatly expand mass transit, and safe biking and walking infrastructure city-wide so that the many underserved areas of our city may benefit from better, safer, healthier, and cleaner mobility options and infrastructure over personal vehicles. This improved infrastructure will also support economic growth in these neighborhoods, safer environments which could reduce crime, as well as better access for all residents to opportunity in the way of jobs, education, and resources like healthy food. All of these reasons are why Safe Streets JC has improving public health via education on how to improve traffic safety as our main focus. We look forward to continuing to educate and support residents to build better and more accessible neighborhoods by improving traffic safety.
What would you identify as your most significant accomplishment so far towards building a greater culture of health? What have been some of your toughest barriers?
Our most significant accomplishment is bringing the issue of Traffic Safety problems citywide to the forefront of problems needing urgent attention citywide with both the public and the Administration which took consistent effort over many years. Traffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable if given the proper attention by our leaders, government, EMS and the community at large. We are proud to have advocated for the adoption of Vision Zero by Mayor Fulop and the Action plan now underway. Barriers continue to be a true sense of urgency on implementing the major design and systemic overhaul our streets need in order to save lives sooner rather than later.
How do you plan on using your Culture of Health Grant?
We want to build out Safe Streets JC’s resident outreach capabilities, strengthen our physical presence at community events, and continue to educate ourselves on international practices and innovations in the field of traffic safety within communities. We would use these funds to build out our booth for community events with items such as branded tent, banner, signage and printed literature. We would also use this funding for operational costs of our online community outreach efforts, such as funding our website, graphic services, email service provider, and online advertising which drives resident engagement with our organization and events.
In what ways does this initiative further the mission, vision, and impact model of the Partnership for a HealthierJC?
Safe Streets JC is already a partner with the City via the Vision Zero Task force, where we are serving as a community outreach arm with our partners at Bike JC to engage residents citywide in the Vision Zero planning process. Since our inception, we have consistently demonstrated the capacity to build coalitions and use best practices. We are part of the Vision Zero Network, the national organization committed to sharing best practices in this field, we attend conferences several times a year to expand our knowledge and we host events and have outreach presence at events all over the city. We are already actively working on Partnership for HealthierJC’s Action Item to make Jersey City “the most pedestrian and bike-friendly major city in New Jersey.” through our education workshops on “Complete Streets 101” and through advocating for location specific, data driven pedestrian and bike enhancements. Attending the Vision Zero Cities Conference in November will afford us not only educational, but also networking opportunities with professionals and advocates from other Vision Zero Cities, from whom we hope to learn new strategies for further engaging the public and building equity around the Vision Zero process that we can bring back to our work in Jersey City. Expanding our capabilities as outlined above will enable us to be an even more effective partner with the City in this Focus Area, and to reach more residents to engage them in improving bike and pedestrian safety citywide.
For more information about Safe Streets JC, please visit their partner page here.