Pedestrian Safety Along Ocean Boulevard A Concern for Long Branch Council
City looking at adding speed deterrents at three intersections
The city is looking into upgrading three intersections on Ocean Boulevard to make it safer for pedestrians going to and from the beach to cross the busy county-owned road.
Long Branch Police Officer Caeser Simonelli said the upcoming addition of parking meters along the oceanfront will cause more people to park their cars on streets west of Ocean Boulevard so they don't have to pay for parking. They would then have to cross four lanes of traffic to reach the city's beaches.
At Tuesday night's Long Branch Council meeting, Officer Simonelli said the department's traffic bureau is looking at upgrading three of the city's intersections to make it safer for pedestrians to cross Ocean Boulevard.
"We are looking at Cottage Place, West End Avenue and South Bath Avenue," Officer Simonelli said. "They all lead to ticket booths at the beach."
Officer Simonelli said he looked into solar-powered, wireless, amber LED lights that could be installed at the three intersections. The lights are activated when a pedestrian wishing to cross Ocean Boulevard presses a button.
There are currently only white painted crosswalks at the three intersections, but Officer Simonelli said these would help make it easier for cars to know when the crosswalks are coming up.
The cost to upgrade one intersection with these lights is $14,000, according to Officer Simonelli. He added that the county would need to approve anything that goes on the road.
Councilwoman Joy Bastelli asked if lowering the speed limit on Ocean Boulevard to 35 miles per hour was an option.
City Business Administrator said the county has not liked the idea in the past, but that he would bring up the idea along with the lighted crosswalk the next time he meets with them.
"I think this is the time again to go to the county and ask them to make it safer on Ocean Boulevard," Councilwoman Bastelli said.
She said she feels that the third phase of Pier Village will attract even more people to the area and that Ocean Boulevard should be safer.
The council passed a resolution that supports sending an application to the New Jersey Department of Transportation's transportation enhancement program for improvements to the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Morris Avenue.
Morris Avenue is used by many pedestrians to access Pier Village and will be one of the main roads through the third phase of Pier Village.
The improvements could bring the intersection up to current ADA standards.
Councilwoman Bastelli said she hoped the city could "piggy-back" this application with a future one for crosswalk enhancements at the three intersections discussed by Officer Simonelli.