Long Beach Blvd Safety Debated at Freeholders Meeting
As promised, Harvey Cedars residents blanket the Ocean County Board of Freeholders meeting with orange t-shirts as they lobby in mass to get Long Beach Boulevard downsized from four lanes to three.
Harvey Cedars Mayor Jonathan Oldham told the crowd Wednesday that he believes the road reduction would work very well for Harvey Cedars and the north end of the island as well. He says at first, “I was not sure that the three lanes would work on the big busy weekends but actually when I looked at the study and studied it and looked at the simulation I came to become a believer in the fact that this would work and this would be very beneficial to our town.
However, Long Beach Township Mayor Joe Mancini isn’t convinced that lane reduction is the answer. “My suggestion is to really enforce the speed limits number one and number two, possibly lower the speed limits.” He also believes that the addition of more traffic signals may help improve safety.
Traffic study consultant, Louis Luglio of Stantec Consulting, the group hired by the county to conduct a study of Long Beach Boulevard, says “from a safety standpoint and travel time along the corridor they really have been achieved by adding three new signals, by adding intersections with pedestrian crossings.
Residents in favor of downsizing the roadway says the addition of signals and crosswalks has improved safety for folks crossing the boulevard but has done little to protect people who walk, jog and bike along the boulevard. Many are calling for the construction of robust sidewalks.
The Ocean County Freeholders say the construction of sidewalks is a municipal matter not a county matter.
It also seems that for every 200 for road reduction, there seems to be an equal number against it. The Freeholders received over 140 e-mails from The Loveladies Property Owners Association and Harbor Association opposed to reducing the boulevard to three lanes.
Freeholders say the other roadblock to reducing the size of Long Beach Boulevard has to do with federal funding. They say the four lane road configuration was paid for with money from Washington and if they reduce the boulevard’s size, they would have to pay the federal government back the money.