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Planned Route 35 Bike Lane Raises Safety Concerns

Controversial plan to reverse diagonal head-in parking has been scrapped, however

Cars lined up along Route 35 North in Lavallette on an October afternoon. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Cars lined up along Route 35 North in Lavallette on an October afternoon. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Safety concerns are being raised over proposed bike lanes for Route 35 north in Lavallette, though a controversial plan that generated the most ire from local residents has been scrapped.

As part of a $265 million plan to reconstruct the state highway along Ocean County's northern barrier island, bike lanes will be designated on both Route 35's northbound and southbound lanes. The lane running along the northbound side, however, has led to safety concerns since vehicles in Lavallette's busy downtown area would be pulling into and backing out of spaces by crossing the lane itself.

Some residents have raised concerns that a designated lane could lead to heavier bicycle traffic, and also to those on bicycles being less cautious of vehicles pulling in and out of parking spaces, leading to more accidents.

"We're not sure putting bike paths on Route 35 is the best thing to do," said Paul Jeffrey, president of the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association, in nearby Ortley Beach.

Jeffrey said a better option would be to include a bike lane along Bay Boulevard, which runs between Lavallette and Ortley Beach along Barnegat Bay. That route would be safer, he said, and still provide a north-sound corridor for bicycle riders.

A large portion of Bay Boulevard is currently being reconstructed following damage from Superstorm Sandy.

As local residents' concerns linger, the most controversial aspect of the originally proposed bike lane plan has been scrapped by officials with the state Department of Transportation, according to Lavallette Mayor Walter LaCicero.

The plan as originally proposed included a rarely-used tactic to force vehicles to back into parking spaces on a diagonal by reversing the direction of the lines on all of the parking spaces along the state highway. Vehicles would have had to pass their desired space, then line up their vehicle on a diagonal and back in.

The governing bodies of both Lavallette and Toms River rejected resolutions supporting the plan.

"They proposed that to us, and it was rejected by the council," said LaCicero.

Current plans from the state, LaCicero said, include a "well-marked, well-striped" bike lane in between the existing parking and the existing roadway edge.

The lane will run along the easternmost side of the northbound roadway. Another bike lane will run along the right side of the southbound roadway.
SB Girl October 16, 2013 at 07:34 AM
Could the bike lane be placed between the front of the parking spaces and the curb with bumpers so the cars can't enter the bike lane? This would satisfy both needs and keep bikers safe.
Jeff 6th Ave Ortley October 16, 2013 at 08:04 AM
Second what SB said. The bike lanes on the NBC side should go between the parked cars (head in) and the sidewalk. Having safe bike lanes will increase the value of our homes (more people will fall in love with the town) If not built then bikers will still ride On northbound - this is a BEACH community afterall - but it will go back to the unsafe situation as before. Shame on the town- blood on your hands when the first kid gets hit by a car. You had a chance to fix this.
ortley19 October 16, 2013 at 09:34 AM
There is a major problem on the island with bike riders, most summer people come down and think they can bike in the middle of the road, go the wrong way etc. Its a real problem, as a resident of the island. This summer Bay Blvd was supposed to be closed to bikes (signs were put up), people ignored them. Years ago in Lavalette if you a child and were caught not following basic rules you had your bike taken away from the police , does anyone remember that ? Also, as a child you registered your bike with the police also. I just wish the tourists would not be so studpid when they bike !
Betty Boop October 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM
The problem is many bike riders at any beach town do not follow the rules of biking. They are on the wrong side of the road, etc. Then add, some kids will talk on the phone and ride their bike at the same time. Police need to enforce the rules and issue tickets. However, a bike lane would make it safer. A bike lane is needed from SSP to PPB. The only way to do it is to eliminate parking on one side of Rte. 35 N.
Daniel Nee (Editor) October 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Jeff 6th Ave - The towns have nothing to do with this. It is a state project.
Daniel Nee (Editor) October 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Betty - One of the issues with a bike lane from PPB to SSP is the fact that there is not enough room for one along many portions of the highway, Mantoloking being one which sticks out in my head. The state has told me they will include them where possible.
JMC October 16, 2013 at 11:41 AM
I know that some people have expressed safety concerns about back in angled parking. Here are a few benefits to consider about back in angled parking that bring safety to the forefront: Back-in angled parking, especially down the shore: (1) Solves the issue of safety for people unloading the trunk or rear hatch of their vehicles; currently, they are forced to do this in the road or close to it. (2) Makes it far safer for children and their parents ; children can wait on the sidewalk, next to parents while they unload their vehicles (3) Allows drivers to see bikes and cars when leaving the parking space, so it’s safer for cyclists, motorist and pedestrians. (4) Requires less right of way: no maneuver space is required for backing out (5) Similar maneuvers to parallel parking (which also require backing into traffic to some degree since you pull ahead of the spot). New Jersey towns with back in angled parking (PA, NY and DE also have it): (1) Cape May City – approved (2) Sea Isle City – approved (3) Hoboken – proposed; planned implementation Fall 2013 (4) Newark – approved; planned implementation Fall 2013
JMC October 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM
Daniel, your comment about the town having "nothing to do with it [this project]" since RT35 is a state road is not exactly correct. Yes, RT35 is under the jurisdiction of the state. But NJDOT has been very clear from the beginning that input from each municipality is being sought and considered.
shorefriend October 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM
@ortley19 bite my ass, I know more locals who got hurt this year on bikes than summer folks; who may I add for the most part own property on the Island also, you uptight jerk!! And BTW I, live on Bay Blvd and will ride my bike every day, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, haters go away, we don’t need you out of touch curmudgeon!!!!
Daniel Nee (Editor) October 16, 2013 at 01:30 PM
JMC - Frankly, my prime concern with back-in diagonal parking would be my car being smashed and dented every time someone didn't line up correctly. Or, I'll admit, my doing that to someone else. Also, we're talking about a busy state highway with constant traffic, not a local road in downtown Sea Isle City. Regarding DOT, I was mainly pointing out that it would not be fair to say that the "blood would be on the hands" of a municipality for the results of a state highway project, despite their seeking input locally.
grace October 16, 2013 at 02:42 PM
speed limit is 35 in the summer..let people ride a bike my god this is a shore town and why the heck wouldnt they put a bike lane in..stupid
JMC October 16, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Daniel, this section of RT35 is far from a "busy state highway." The speed limit in Lavallette and Toms River is only 35mph and neither pedestrians nor bicyclists are prohibited. It's about designing the roadway in a way that is safe for all users. Creating bike lanes and pedestrian amenities make the road safer for all users. Pedestrians and cyclists are prominent features of the Jersey Shore, especially this section. As to parking, no one is born knowing how to park. We all "learn" at some point. You once "learned" how to parallel park and you can learn how to back in angle park. It's a safer way to park as you don't have to back into traffic to get out of the spot and you can unload you car on the sidewalk, not in traffic. At least give it a chance. If you've never done it, how do you know you won't like it?
Jeff 6th Ave Ortley October 16, 2013 at 03:09 PM
Daniel Nee - I said "shame on the towns and blood on their hands" because your article indicated they lodged protests against the State's plan for a bike lane. This, a place where we all agree people bike a lot and will continue to do so regardless of the way the road is built. So we can all agree to disagree on the goodness of biking, or the relative merits of bikes vs. cars on that section of road, but no one who knows the towns shouldto debate that in the peak of summer, 1 block from the beach, there are going to be a ton of bikers and pedestrians as there always have been. So here we have the State funding a project that will make road safe for all that, and the towns are fighting it, because it means it will be harder to park a car. Sorry to say, but that's shameful. Have you seen what even a low speed collision does when car hits bike (or vice versa)?
john doe October 16, 2013 at 03:37 PM
riding safety in direction of traffic is the biggest myth going. If a bicyclist can not see what is coming they are leaving it to the discretion of the motorist. do not care what the government studies want to say; riding with traffic only favors the motorist.
grace October 16, 2013 at 04:35 PM
this is ridiculous! how can we get that bike lane? this is a seaside resort town..enough with the argument already!!!
grace October 16, 2013 at 04:36 PM
daniel i am so on your side!! lets get that bike lane! i will make the posters lol
TR Dude October 16, 2013 at 09:02 PM
Why couldn't they we switch them? Bike lane on the inside, along the curb and parking along the roadway. Put a second curb in and call it a day... Normal head in parking and a safe public bike lane. Everyone wins.
ortley19 October 17, 2013 at 08:33 AM
To Shorefriend, you must live on the side of Bay Blvd that wascompletely closed to traffice this summer, ( the west side of the street , formely southbound). If you live on the east side of the street (formely the northbound lane) you would know that in addition to 2-way traffic now, you have bike riders that are oblivious to cars trying to drive and there is NOT a shoulder so it is indeeed dangerous. Yeah, thats real safe ! but as long as you get to ride your bike ..thats all that matters ....right shorefriend ????

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