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Grantee Blog

Play Streets at Long Branch Day

Saturday, October 13, 2018 started out as a cold and rainy day, however the rain stopped and the sun came out just in time to dry up the streets so that the Long Branch Free Public Library could hold the first annual Long Branch Day from 1-5 pm.

As part of our HCN grant this year funded by the New Jersey Department of Health, EZ Ride proposed to hold a Play Streets event. When we found out the Library was sponsoring a closed streets event on Broadway with community vendors, food trucks, free health screening, and a touch a truck area, we knew it would be the perfect venue. We setup a safe skills bike course and coordinated a Play Streets area to promote physical activity for kids and families in an unconventional place. We were inspired by what we have seen at Shaping Elizabeth Play Streets events, which we have been part of for two years.

One of the things we enjoyed most was the partnership involved in creating our Play Streets area. We borrowed a brightly colored parachute from the Plainfield Department of Parks & Recreation to do parachute games. It turns out that shaking the parachute up and down was not only great exercise for the kids but it also helped to keep each of us warm whenever we felt cold! Monmouth Medical Center’s Safe Kids Coordinator gave us 53 helmets to distribute as well as the 70 helmets we brought with us. We fit and gave away a total of 67 bike helmets that day.

We are also very thankful that we had the help of six dedicated National Honor Society (NHS) students from Long Branch High school and their advisor, Mr. Nemeil Navarro, who assisted us to hold the Play Streets event at Long Branch Day. We taught several of them how to setup a bike skills course and how to properly fit bike helmets. The youth helped us make a hopscotch area, a chalk art area, and foursquare area.  We also set up an area for kids to jump rope with ropes donated from Hackensack Meridian Health, a play area with hula hoops, and the parachute area. In total, we gave away 67 helmets with bilingual bike safety info, 27 jump ropes, 60 sets of white and red bike lights, and 20 Scholastic smoking prevention books to children.

Below is a quote from the Long Branch Day Organizer:

“EZ Ride’s Bike & Pedestrian Team took part in our first “Long Branch Day” event on October 13th, 2018. As part of the Play Streets area, they had great activities for children. Not only did they offer a bike riding course, but they also included a chalk art area, hula hoops, jump ropes, and foursquare game area. As if that wasn’t enough, the EZ Ride and Long Branch High School team fitted our community’s children with their very own bike helmets. Every time I looked over at the Play Streets area, there were children playing, having fun and getting bike helmets to take home. The Long Branch Day event was wonderful as a whole but having the Play Streets area really rounded everything out and provided a great experience for our kids.”

-Kathryn Angelo, Community Engagement Librarian at the Long Branch Free Public Library

For more info, please contact EZ Ride at 201-939-4242 and ask for the Bike & Ped team or email Lisa Lee at llee@ezride.org.

About the Grantee

EZ Ride

EZ Ride is a non-profit, public-private partnership with a mission to implement transportation programs and services that enhance quality of life, regional mobility and economic opportunity while reducing traffic congestion & air pollution. The Bike & Ped team offers Safe Routes to School (SRTS) services and works to build safe and healthy communities.