Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association

Keeping Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Informed!

BLVD Traffic Report

View BLVD Traffic Report

BLVD Safety Survey

2/20/10- This letter was e-mail to all members with accurate email addresses in file:

Dear Fellow Taxpayer/HCTA Member:

Boulevard safety has long been one of the paramount issues facing Harvey Cedars. You have recently received in the mail a survey put together by the Borough of Harvey Cedars. We feel that it is important that you answer this survey; however we also feel that this survey is biased and contains question language formatted to illicit specific responses that will allow the politicians to do nothing as opposed to taking recommended steps to create a safer Boulevard. The commissioners asked for Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association (HCTA) input on both the letter and survey you have received and incorporated none of our suggestions. Therefore we feel it necessary to give you additional background here as well as providing the complete revised traffic study report conducted by Stantec, the independent engineering firm hired by the County. The original report did not include weekend traffic data and therefore was revised to reflect traffic data that was collected during multiple summer weekends.

Please share this correspondence with your friends and neighbors in Harvey Cedars who might not be a part of our membership, yet for whom driver and pedestrian safety is an important concern.

The Cover Letter You Received from Harvey Cedars
The letter says: “the County and the engineering firm confirmed that a three lane alternative to the current four lane configuration could feasibly be implemented.”
The report clearly states that the three lane configuration would be safer¸ “Overall, the results of the analysis show that the proposed change in cross-section would not detrimentally impact traffic along the Long Beach Boulevard corridor, and, in fact, would improve operations for several locations”.

We take specific issue with two survey questions:

1. ) “Do you walk or ride with or against traffic?” Quite obviously, the root issue here is not the direction you face when you’re using the Blvd for recreational purposes; the issue is that when you have an 18” to 24” wide shoulder as we do in some places, you will always have people in — or dangerously close to — the roadway.

2.) “Some members of our fire and first aid emergency services have expressed concern that traffic will not yield to first responders” What they haven’t said is that other emergency personnel have said that this plan makes perfect sense and is significantly SAFER. Two key components here:
First is the claim that there would be no place for traffic to pull over. Given that the overall width of the paved area is not changing, only the stripes on the pavement designating lanes, this concern barely holds water. The cars would pull off in the 3-lane configuration to the same place that they go now: to the side of the paved area.
Second is that it would take too long for them to get to the firehouse or to the emergency. The engineering firm calculates that under the new plan to transit the entire length of Harvey Cedars would take just 22.3 seconds longer going north and 28 seconds longer going south – this is for normal vehicles traveling at the posted speed limit, not vehicles with flashing lights and/or sirens.

Although we have attached the final report from Stantec for your review, we thought some background, highlights and notes from presentations would be helpful.

* The county hired Stantec Consulting Services, an engineering consulting firm for the County, to do traffic counts, propose a solution and generate a computer simulation model based on that solution. Multi-day traffic data was collected on two separate occasions, this computer simulation was presented to the public on two occasions by Frank Scarantino, the head of the Ocean County Engineers Office, and Jeff Smithline of Stantec.

* The borough’s cover letter accurately describes what the engineering firm proposes for the new lane configurations: “This new plan would consist of a center turning lane (similar to what is in place south of the causeway), two traffic lanes (one in each direction), and both shoulders widened to accommodate a dedicated bike and pedestrian.”

* The computer simulation reflects the increase in travel time from one end of town to the other is 22.3 seconds northbound, 28 seconds southbound. The county engineer and the Stantec engineer felt that the minor trade-off in travel time (level of service) was far outweighed by the significant increase in overall safety.

* The engineer was able to explain, through the computer model, why the 3 lane configuration was SAFER and almost 95% as efficient as the 4 lane configuration. The report specifically states lane configurations such as this “tend to reduce vehicular speeds and improve safety for pedestrians (less travel lanes to cross) and bicycles (wider shoulders).” Additionally, both gentlemen said the plan was “considerably safer,” offered a “big safety benefit,” and “greatly enhances the level of service from side streets.”

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU RESPOND TO THE SURVEY. The Commissioners state in their cover letter that “Your opinion will be an important part of our decision-making process whether to seek this change from the County.” The HCTA membership and other taxpayers have made it clear to us that you believe something needs to be done to improve the Blvd safety problem. Your response to this survey will make it clear to the Borough Commissioners as well.

We feel that politics are at play now, and our safety will be the victim. Towns north of us worried that it may take them 22 seconds longer to get to their houses should not be able to strong arm the county or our three elected Commissioners into not doing what is right.

In addition to responding to the survey, we urge you to contact each of the Harvey Cedars Commissioners with your concerns regarding Blvd safety for both driving and recreational activities.

Jonathan S. Oldham,
Dept. of Public Safety and Public mayor@harveycedars.org

Judith E. Gerkens
Dept. of Revenue and Finance
commissioner.finance@harveycedars.org

Michael A. Garofalo
Dept. of Public Works and Public Property
commissioner.dpw@harveycedars.org

Further, we encourage you to reach out with your correspondence to our Ocean County Freeholders listed below. Follow this link to contact Ocean County Freeholders by email: ocinfo@co.ocean.nj.us.

Gerry P. Little
James F. Lacey
John P. Kelly
John C. Bartlett, Jr.
Joseph H. Vicari

Or an alternative is www.co.ocean.nj.us/ContactFreeholdersPage.aspx

Thank you for your assistance and for passing this on to your Harvey Cedars friends and neighbors. This important issue needs your immediate input.

Sincerely,

The Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association Trustees

BLVD Safety Info

Borough ‘Open House’ Held on Aug 27:
The borough held a town wide ‘open house’ to review the results of the County’s Traffic Study of the Blvd. At the Borough’s request, the County did 2 additional traffic counts on the Blvd over two July weekends to make sure the Blvd Safety Study accounted for peak time traffic volumes. In reality, the actual weekend numbers were less than used in the previous model presented to the town. The County engineer presented the computer simulation of traffic with the actual peak numbers under the proposed changes, so property owners could see the actual roadway in action.

It is the intention of the Borough this fall, to ask the homeowners their opinion of the model and if you are in favor of the changes. As we have stated, the HCTA board is agreement with both the County and the engineering firm – this change is a much safer alternative to the current configuration, and only increases transit time through the entire length of town by 30 seconds, a trade-off we think well worth it. We don’t think someone needs to be killed in an accident to affect change. We believe that after you see the model in action, you will agree as well. When your survey arrives from the Borough, please respond to it and let them know how you feel.

BLVD Traffic Study

The County has informed the HCTA that their contractor has entered the traffic count study information they collected the past two weekends in HC into their Traffic Simulation model. The traffic increase was around 20% each weekend. This is LESS than the maximum increase the County had programed in when they ran their original simulation. We are awaiting word from the Commissioners on how they will proceed and when they will present this information to the public. For more in depth information on this topic please click on the “Issues-Replenishment/Blvd Safety” page on our site.
On a happy note, we are glad to hear the 12 year old boy who was hit on the Blvd the weekend of July 18th weekend is fine