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Loss Of Boardwalk Causing City to Look at New Traffic Pattern For Ocean Ave.

Long Branch may add barriers to separate traffic from pedestrians who are using roadway for recreational activities

City officials are worried that the loss of the boardwalk along Ocean Avenue due to Hurricane Sandy will impact the safety of pedestrians along the street, especially during the busier summer months.

Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said people who normally ran or walked on the boardwalk are now using the roadway, and that safety is an issue.

"They have chosen to walk in the roadway, and we think this is a very unsafe condition, and we have started to look at it," Woolley said

Long Branch Police Lt. Craig Spencer gave a presentation on a proposed, temporary change to the traffic pattern on Ocean Avenue and the installation of Jersey barriers to separate pedestrians and drivers.

"The mayor can by his direction, if he feels there is a dangerous situation, order a portion of the roadway closed," Woolley said. "We felt the easiest thing to do would be to close the easterly portion of the roadway to vehicular traffic and make the westerly portion of the road through Morris and South Bath one way southbound and make South Bath one way westbound."

Woolley said the decision to go southbound only for vehicular traffic and close off the northbound side would eliminate some parking spaces. However, he said the southbound lane is needed as an access point for residents who live in apartments on Ocean Avenue.

Spencer said the Jersey barriers are usually made of concrete, but Spencer said the hollow polyethylene barriers would be more appropriate because they are used for temporary parking patterns and are more portable and can be stored and used again.

Spencer said when they are unfilled they weigh 60 pounds and can be filled with water or sand. They are 36 inches high and its comes in 5-foot sections that can be connected to create a barrier between traffic and pedestrians.

Woolley said the city is looking to get shorter barriers as well.

Spencer said the barriers would start at the south end of Pier Village at Melrose Terrace and go down to South Bath Avenue. He said gaps would be left in the barriers so people could enter the east side of the road.

The barriers would cost the city $144,000, Spencer said.

Long Branch Sgt. Charles Shirley said the cost of the barriers will be submitted to FEMA as an emergency protective measure so the city can be reimbursed 75 percent of their cost.

Woolley said the city can also look into renting the barriers, as it could be cheaper. FEMA would also reimburse the city if it rented the barriers.

Vincent Truglia January 24, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Making South Bath one going west produces a dangerous situation because South Bath across from Ocean Blvd is one way going east. Two one ways for the same street, but going in opposite directions is dangerous. Perhaps Ocean Avenue traffic could simply go one way, but going north.
Thenews January 24, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Ocean Avenue traffic going north will not work. That would require the pedestrians to continually walk across the street. Also the vehicles could have to cut into the pedestrian lane to access morris, bath, and pavilion. Keeping the cars going south allows the pedestrians to walk on the beach side and minimize the risk of an accident when some one crosses the street.
Simon Skove January 24, 2013 at 04:29 PM
How about leaving everything as is and issue a summons to everyone in the street. Great revenue and safe! There is a side walk on the west side of the road, USE IT!!!
g nap January 30, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Finally, a voice of reason and logic. Makes you wonder what some of the walker / runners are thinking when they're traversing the temporary fences that are on the ROADWAY, when the vehicle traffic is coming right at them?!?
Joy March 25, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Although I agree with the closing of Ocean Ave. and making it a one way, why on earth are they not replacing the boardwalk???? All the other towns are rebuilding but Long Branch. They received funding for the boardwalk rebuilding but they not rebuilding. Does anyone know why?

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