West Avenue Now a Two-Lane Road at Ocean City South End

first_imgA county contractor spray-paints new lines that eliminate two lanes of traffic from West Avenue between 35th and 55th streets in Ocean City, NJ to make room for buffered bicycle lanes. A county contractor painted new lines on West Avenue south of 34th Street in Ocean City on Monday (April 27), and the four-lane road now has only two.The work is the final step in a plan to eliminate two lanes of traffic and replace them with two buffered bicycle lanes.Cape May County awarded the $164,334 restriping contract in March to Zone Striping Inc. of Glassboro.The new bicycle lanes on West Avenue in Ocean City are buffered on each side to separate bikes from traffic and from parked cars.The project changes the road from four lanes of traffic (two in each direction) to one in each direction with a center lane for left turns. That leaves room for five-foot bike lanes on each side of the road, separated from moving and parked cars by three-foot buffer zones.The new pattern is in effect between 35th and 55th streets.The reconfiguration marks a milestone in a years-long effort to create a safe bicycle route running the length of Ocean City. It also marks a major change for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians who travel the south end of the island.__________Get Ocean City headlines delivered to your inbox. Sign up for the OCNJ Daily newsletter. It’s free.__________Proponents of the plan say changing West Avenue to two lanes — in addition to providing safer bicycle lanes — will help improve a dangerous four-lane crossing for pedestrians on the busy thoroughfare, where drivers often flout the 35 mph speed limit and fail to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.Opponents have expressed concern that the change would slow summer traffic and possibly push through-traffic onto adjacent Asbury and Central avenues. Some say they fear the increased bicycle traffic more than the vehicle traffic — with summer bicycle traffic often disregarding the rules of the road.Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang said last month that the department foresees increased safety for cars, bicycles and pedestrians.He said the single lane of traffic in each direction would have a “calming effect,” slowing speeds down and providing a safer environment for the bicycle lanes.Ang also said a pedestrian crossing of only one lane in each direction would eliminate the risks involved when cars use a second lane to slingshot past other cars that are stopped at pedestrian crosswalks.He said the department doesn’t anticipate any major traffic delays in the summer and never saw issues when a stretch of West Avenue between 34th Street and 10th Street was similarly reconfigured.Cape May County Engineer Dale Foster said the county conducted a traffic study not only to plan the reconfiguration but to provide a baseline to measure against future studies of traffic patterns on the south end — if changes are necessary.He said the summer bottlenecks typically occur at the traffic light at 34th Street and not in the travel lanes farther south.The project will provide a missing link in a north-to-south bicycle route the length of Ocean City.An existing bicycle corridor runs along Haven Avenue from Ninth Street to 34th Street. The city recently installed a new user-activated traffic signal to help bicycles cross the busy Ninth Street gateway, and the city has plans in the works now for improvements on the north end of Ocean City.last_img

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