Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association

Keeping Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Informed!

SANDPAPER letter from Mayor and Commissioners

March 31, 2011     –  To the Sandpaper

Why change Long Beach Boulevard in Harvey Cedars?  Let’s start with the “best practices” of

the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT).  In late 2009, the DOT created the

Complete Streets program, requiring engineers and planners to consider all users of a road

(drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians) when designing new roadways or making significant changes

to existing streets. A repaving is the opportunity to comply with this program.

The idea of changing the narrow, shoulderless four lane “Parkway” through Harvey Cedars to

three lanes was actually proposed by the Ocean County Engineer as a result of a safety study,

paid for by the County, in response to our plea for changes that would make the Boulevard easier

to cross, easier to merge from the side streets, and more conducive to activities desired by our

residents and tourists alike.  Once the simulation prepared by the professional traffic study firm

of Stantec was reviewed, this change was touted by the County Engineer as being the safest

design with little impact on moving traffic.

After community meetings and a survey of the wishes of our taxpayers, which showed a large

majority favoring the change to three lanes, the HC Board of Commissioners asked the County

Freeholder to initiate this change at the next Boulevard repaving.

Did everyone agree?  Of course not.  Everyone has their own perspective how the impact of the

change will affect them.  Some emergency services personnel have expressed skepticism about

their ability to get through to complete their calls. Fire trucks and ambulances manage to get

through on much busier two lane roads all over our area, roads through Ocean Acres and Route 9

for example.  Having a wide shoulder to move onto would actually allow drivers to get out of the

way of responders.  Again some question the impact on evacuation, but movement through

Harvey Cedars from the north end would not be restricted by this change as the turning lane

would become a southbound lane and logic and experience tells us the bottleneck will actually be

in Ship Bottom with both ends of the Island merging onto one bridge.

The Stantec study and the professional opinion of the County Engineer demonstrated that the

change would slow transit the two miles of HC by maximum 30 seconds and the road would be

safer for east/west beach access, pulling out of side roads, and north/south movement of bikes

and pedestrians through town.  We have even heard, privately, from several traffic safety officers

from outside our town that this would be a great improvement.

It isn’t as if this type of change hasn’t been done before on Long Beach Island.  The County

changed the road configuration in Beach Haven a number of years ago to provide more parking

along the Boulevard in the most commercial part of town.  Here is an example of how the very

configuration we have asked for works in a much more travelled community.  Drivers adjust,

emergency vehicles get through, and the governing body of the town was given what they asked

for without input from contiguous towns.

One might ask why isn’t the County Freeholder listening to his own expert’s professional

opinion?   Why can’t the governing body of HC, appropriately representing the desire of the

majority of our taxpayers, determine what is best for our own town?  Why should neighboring

towns hold the welfare of our population hostage with concerns that it will take too long to get

through Harvey Cedars?  The citizens of Harvey Cedars don’t just want to “get through” our

town, we want to live, work, and play safely here.

Again, we ask County Freeholder Kelly to consider our request to change the Boulevard to three

lanes with adequate safety shoulders.  This road diet would meet the NJDOT standards cited

previously.  We have even suggested the opportunity to “try” this configuration for the period of

time before the road is due to be repaved, 2013 or 2014 most likely.  If it causes the doomsday

scenarios put forth by opponents of change it can be returned to its present “Parkway” like

design.  This seems like a fair compromise for all concerned.

Harvey Cedars Board of Commissioners

Jonathan Oldham, Judith Gerkens, Michael Garofalo


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