Mayor Steven Fulop joined the New Jersey Bike and Walking Coalition (NJBWC) this week to accept the honor of the 2021 Marty Epstein Advocate of the Year Award.
According to a press release, Fulop was selected for this year’s award based on his work to make Jersey City more accessible and equitable for biking and walking through a variety of studies, projects, and initiatives based on community input.
“I’m incredibly honored for this recognition and I am thankful for NJBWC’s efforts to promote pedestrian safety,” said Fulop. “In urban areas with dense population and limited street space, like Jersey City, bicycling and innovative mobility options are essential. That’s why we’re making the important investments to expand our transportation infrastructure and really open the door to countless opportunities for our residents by addressing the tough transit issues that traditionally affect urban areas most, such as closing transit gaps, affordability, access to jobs and education, and improving connectivity.”
The Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Mayor Fulop during the kickoff to this year’s 12th Annual New Jersey Bike and Walk Summit.
Under Fulop, Jersey City established the first bikeshare program in the state and integrated it into NYC’s CitiBike that expanded this year through a partnership with Hoboken to create a unified system and increase connectivity between the cities.
The city also offers free membership for city employees and reduced rates for more vulnerable resident to incentivize the program.
Fulop was also the first mayor in New Jersey to commit to “Vision Zero” with the goal of eliminating traffic-related fatalities by 2026.
He signed an Executive Order at the start of 2018 committing Jersey City to “Vision Zero” which also stipulated the creation of the city’s first-ever Bicycle Master Plan.
Adopted in 2019, the Bicycle Master Plan sets goals to transform how residents move with the intent of quadrupling cycling levels in the city by 2025.
To that end, the city started implementing a network of protected bike lanes and so far, the city has created more than 10 miles of bikes lanes, with a goal of doubling the amount by the end of 2022.
“In less than two years, we’ve seen what building a bicycle infrastructure can accomplish – with 10 miles of protected bike lanes citywide reducing traffic while improving environmental and public health,” said Fulop. “My goal is to continue to build upon our success and encourage other municipalities to incorporate similar initiatives, ultimately making New Jersey a safer, healthier, and more livable state.”
The Marty Epstein Advocate of the Year Award honors Marty’s 41 years of advocacy to make New Jersey a more livable place through bicycling and is given to individuals and organizations, in recognition of excellence in the bicycle and pedestrian advocacy movement.
“We are excited to recognize Mayor Fulop’s leadership in making the City of Jersey City a safer and more bikeable and walkable place to live,” said Debra Kagan, executive director NJBWC. “By incorporating a Vision Zero policy with a quick, phased roll-out of biking infrastructure across the City, Jersey City has provided a successful model for other municipalities in New Jersey looking to make their streets safer for all users.”
Three other recipients were also awarded for their efforts to enhance cycling and walking throughout their respective communities include NJBWC Board Member Cyndi Steiner, Princeton Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC), and Trenton Cycling Revolution (TCR).