Dear Editor:

Streets are the great connectors of any community.  They don’t just take us from one place to another in our cars, they bring us together on bike rides, jogs and walks.  At least, that’s what they’re supposed to do.  But the opposite is true in many NJ neighborhoods:  streets are unsafe for people who walk, bike or run because there are so few bike lanes, sidewalks or crosswalks.  This not only limits our choices for how to travel, but also discourages exercise.

According to the American Heart Association, physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for developing cardiovascular diseases. And in today’s world, it can be difficult to lead an active lifestyle.  Sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950 while physically active jobs now make up less than 20% of our workforce. Nearly 70% of American adults and one in three children are considered overweight or obese.  That’s why we must work together to make it easy and safe to go out and get active.

Complete Streets policies ensure that future road construction build an environment meant to be shared by all travelers—whether it’s bikers, walkers or drivers. Unfortunately for the Garden State, only seven out of 21 counties and 130 out of more than 500 municipalities have Complete Streets policies.

The American Heart Association is seeking individuals, community groups and organizations who are interested in serving on a volunteer committee to raise awareness and urge action around this issue.  Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 609.223.3734 if you are interested in making New Jersey a healthier and safer place to live.

Respectfully,

Courtney Nelson

Senior Director of Community Health

American Heart Association | American Stroke Association

Robbinsville, NJ