Bike&Walk Montclair advocates for bicycling and walker safety.
With an event coming up on Dec. 5, Bike&Walk Montclair is bringing the holiday spirit by organizing a group to walk to the Church Street Plaza Tree Lighting. The group will be meeting on Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in Porter Park, where they will then walk together to Church Street for the lighting.
Bike&Walk Montclair is a “small, dedicated and growing group of volunteers that envisions bicycling and walking as a safe, appealing and feasible choice for all users and all trips, building a strong community fabric on a more human scale.” They strive to improve the quality and the use of biking and walking as a means of transportation in Montclair.
“Our goal is to put more bikes and feet on every street through advocacy, education and fun events,” said Norma Tassy, Bike&Walk Montclair’s Executive Director. “We try and get more people to change the perception into reality that biking and walking is safe for all users of the road.”
According to Tassy, Bike&Walk has hosted events such as a bicycle education program that spanned from April to October, which instructed both adults and kids on how to ride their bikes. Additionally, they participated in a walk on the Lenape Trail in both the spring and fall in conjunction with their daily organized walking groups. There was also a bicycle scavenger hunt partnered with Diamond Cycle (located on Bloomfield Avenue); Bike&Walk is now planning a town-wide upcoming event.
Most recently, Bike&Walk hosted a “pop up” bike lane on Oct. 8, which was also International Bike and Walk to School Day and co-hosted with the Montclair Police Deptartment Traffic Bureau. “We put protective bike lanes separating bike traffic from vehicular traffic,” said Tassy. “We modeled a protected bike lane from Walnut Street to Park Street to North Fullerton Avenue, and northbound on North Fullerton from Walnut Street to Rand Place.”
Children and commuters were able to use the pop up bike lane marked out by police and traffic cones as if it was a permanent bike lane. According to Tassy, their main goal was to give rise to new advocates who would work with Bike&Walk in terms of working with the town to make a permanent bike lane a reality.
“We work with town officials to ensure that bicycles and pedestrians are part of the planning as changes are made to Montclair,” said Tassy. “As development goes forward, we try to make pedestrians top of mind for people overseeing the developments in town.”
Bike Montclair was founded in 2002 before taking the name-change of Bike&Walk Montclair in 2009 with the idea that “Montclair could one day become a safe haven for walking and bicycling,” according to the Bike&Walk website.
The mission of Bike&Walk is to advocate for a community that embraces safe biking and walking for all. According to the organization, their vision is to advocate for a community that is “healthy, safe, livable and embraces biking and walking as an essential part of its transportation system.”
Bike&Walk advocates for cycling and walking in order to “increase health, economic development, personal happiness and sense of community.” They also strive for an effective board, staff and partnership with the community. Their community partners include Eat. Play. Live… Better, Partners for Health Foundation, Montclair Township, Essex County Parks Department, YMCA of Montclair and the Montclair Public Schools Health and Wellness Partnership (HWP). According to Tassy, Bike&Walk is funded by Partners for Health and they are able to advocate for education and fun events through a generous grant by the organization.
The benefits of Bike&Walk Montclair are to: “increase health and fitness opportunities for children and adults through active recreation and human-powered transportation, increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and reduce dangerous driving, reduce traffic congestion and manage traffic better, improve the environment by reducing fossil fuel use and emitting fewer emissions, stimulate economic development and smart growth in business districts, improve quality of life with vibrant, livable public spaces connecting community and to have more fun.”
Bike&Walk Montclair is also a non-profit, non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization and all memberships and contributions are tax-deductible. They are located at PO Box 3387 in Montclair and can be reached either by email at email@example.com or by phone at 973-866-5028.