Ocean Avenue Streetscape Plan

first_imgBy Liz SheehanSEA BRIGHT – A new look is coming to the borough’s downtown, with back-in angled parking on Ocean Avenue. It’s part of a New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) project and a streetscape plan featuring landscaped bump outs at marked pedestrian crosswalks that are designed to shorten the distance to cross Ocean Avenue.The parking changes will include eliminating all parking on the east side of Ocean Avenue and making all parking on the west side back-in angled spaces, from the location of the former gas station just south of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge to Center Street, where Borough Hall is located.At a Borough Council meeting last week, Borough Engineer Jaclyn Flor, T&M Associates, outlined the streetscape plan. She said the landscaped bump outs would extend approximately 25 feet into the street, thus shortening the distance a pedestrian must cover to cross Ocean Avenue. There will be additional pedestrian crosswalks added, Flor said, and more trees. Another change will be decorative street lights, she said.In addition, Flor said that sidewalks will be replaced in the streetscape area, which extends from the bridge to Center Street, except in front of Tommy’s Tavern + Tap where new sidewalks were just installed.Bicycle paths will be added on both sides of the road.Flor said that the streetscape project would be finished before the end of June.Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said Wednesday that the streetscape project was being funded by a $1.3 million grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The grant requires that work be completed by July 2016, he said.The work to be done by the DOT extends from curb to curb on Ocean Avenue and is not part of the streetscape project, Verruni said. He said that work is expected to be completed by the Spring.Asked about the public’s possible response to the introduction of back-in angled parking spaces to replace more traditional parking in the business area of the town, Verruni said the new parking would be safer for the bicycle lanes which border it and for motorists and passengers who would enter and exit cars without having to step out on the street, which is a state highway.“Is (the new parking configuration) it right for everywhere?” Verruni asked, adding that time would tell when asked about questions raised about the new type of parking.Earlier Verruni said, “There is going to be a learning curve,” in getting used to the new parking spaces. “It’s new, not all that common. Something just coming out,” he said.A question about the proposed parking change was raised at the meeting by one person who said he made trips to Bethlehem Pennsylvania, where the angled back-in parking was in place and then later removed, but he did not know the reason.An article on the website LehighValleyLive on August 25, 2014, reported that Bethlehem’s mayor, Bob Donchez, decided to eliminate back-in-angle parking, which was put in place in 2009, because merchants had been asking him to do so.“It was clear that back-in angle parking was a negative to bringing people to lower Main Street,” Donchez said. “It’s the right thing to do to help the merchants.”last_img

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