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NJ Bike & Walk Coalition's 'Advocate of the Year' Awards Presented to BikeOCNJ at Annual Summit

New Jersey’s statewide bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization has designated Fair Haven Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli and Ocean City bike advocacy group BikeOCNJ as the 2016 recipients of its Advocate of the Year Award.  Selected by the Board of Directors of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition each year, individuals and organizations are given the award in recognition of their excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy movement.

"This year's recipients truly distinguished themselves through their highly effective advocacy efforts," said Brian Stolar, Chair of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition Board of Directors.  "Mayor Lucarelli and BikeOCNJ were instrumental in seeing Complete Streets realized not only as a policy and planning principle, but also as a fully implemented practice that is making their communities safer and more vibrant."

Mayor Lucarelli and Bike OCNJ, represented by Co-chairs Thomas Heist and Drew Fasy, were presented with their awards at last Saturday's NJ Bike & Walk Summit at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey.

The many accomplishments of Ocean City’s BikeOCNJ, under the leadership of Heist and Fasy, date back to 2000 when the group advocated for and successfully obtained the city’s first “Yield to Pedestrian” street signage. The victories continued from there, including the state’s first use of the sharrow, the first Bike Boulevard in a New Jersey town, a riding school bus program, street quilts/art design at four intersections, the city’s first bicycle map, one of the state’s first end-to-end bike ways, an ordinance allowing children to ride their bikes on the boardwalk to get to school, a Complete Streets policy, bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community designation, 40 on-street bike corrals throughout the city, bike racks at all three public schools, a HAWK/pedestrian crossing signal on busy 9th Avenue, bike lanes and rightsizing of West Avenue and West Atlantic Avenue, and a bicycle safety poster campaign for six bicycle rental companies and the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce public information centers.

The volunteers of BikeOCNJ have achieved these successes through collaborations forged with community partners, including the mayor’s office and the city council, the police department, the city engineer, Cape May County, the school district, the PTA, and the Chamber of Commerce. "When you're passionate, it's infectious," said Heist. "People want to jump in and do great things." 

"This year's recipients exemplify a role model for peers while inspiring teamwork among many and often disparate stakeholders," said Cyndi Steiner, Executive Director of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition.  "The proof of their efforts is the victories they have achieved for biking and walking in their communities and counties, ultimately making New Jersey a safer, healthier, and more livable state." 

About the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition

The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition is a statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians.  NJBWC is dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of New Jersey's bicyclists and walkers, promoting bicycling and walking for fun, fitness, and transportation, educating cyclists, walkers, and drivers about our rights and responsibilities, and connecting our communities with a smarter transportation system. NJBWC is a collective voice for everyone who believes that a safer, more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, sustainable New Jersey.

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