Together North Jersey has announced the release of the final report for the “New Brunswick Ciclovia Evaluation” Local Government Capacity Grant, which documents and evaluates the overall success and effectiveness of the New Brunswick Ciclovia, first held on October 6, 2013.
An event where roads are closed to motorized vehicle to encourage participants of all ages and abilities to enjoy physical activity and recreation in a safe and inclusive environment, the objectives of the report are to understand changes in perception before and after the Ciclovia and to document lessons learned to make future Ciclovias in New Brunswick and elsewhere in New Jersey more effective. The report also examines whether Ciclovia functions as an effective tool for changing attitudes and perceptions surrounding New Brunswick and its neighborhoods, as well as how well the Ciclovia accomplished its goals of increasing physical activity, strengthening community engagement, encouraging active transportation, reducing environmental impacts, promoting public spaces and resources, and supporting local businesses.
“The New Brunswick Ciclovia put a smile on the faces of thousands of local residents,” stated Jaymie Santiago, Director of Program Operations of New Brunswick Tomorrow. “The report helps to show the other positive impacts of Ciclovia, which help justify future events in New Brunswick and around the state.”
The report was authored by Charles Brown MPA and Heather Martin of the New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers, in collaboration with New Brunswick Tomorrow and the City of New Brunswick.
The report made several key findings, including that the New Brunswick Ciclovia was an overall success.
Other findings included:
• The Ciclovia met that the goal of increasing the health and wellness of attendees on the day of the event;
• It successfully promoted active transportation, with 92% of survey respondents stating that they would consider walking or bicycling more after they experienced the event;
• The Ciclovia promoted social interaction and engagement to build a strong community by providing a safe and welcoming environment for people of diverse ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds;
• The event strengthened the appreciation of New Brunswick as a great place to live and work.
Recommendations in the report include increasing attendance with improved Spanish-language outreach, holding multiple Ciclovias each year, adding additional activity stations, and coordinating with more businesses and organizations in advance of the event.
Many of the recommendations have already been implemented, as the Ciclovia organizing committee was advised of the recommendations during the report writing process. In 2014, New Brunswick held three additional Ciclovias, which each event featuring many of the improvements highlighted in the report, ensuring that they ran smoothly. New Brunswick currently has plans to continue hosting Ciclovias into 2015 and beyond.
The Edward J. Bloustein School for Planning and Policy and several other agencies and organizations around the region provide the organizational capacity and expertise necessary to execute the day-to-day work of Together North Jersey. Together North Jersey membership is open to any public jurisdiction, agency or authority; non-governmental organization; neighborhood association; community and faith-based organization; private business or company; or educational institution located in the region or serving the region. Funding support for Together North Jersey is provided through a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development received by Rutgers University in January 2012.
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