Ship Bottom Parking Changes Address Traffic Safety Concerns

Nov 01, 2017

Two months after a resident expressed concern for pedestrians in a three-block area west of Central Avenue, borough police finalized their line-of-sight recommendations to improve safety when traveling east toward ocean beaches.

The area in question runs along the west side of Central Avenue, and encompasses 15th, 16th and 17th streets. A Bank of America branch and the municipal complex, along with a U.S. post office are located on the opposite side of Central Avenue. There is one traffic signal at 17th Street.

“All yellow curbs are currently painted to approximately 17 feet from the intersection of the roadway,” Councilman Tom Tallon, chairman of the public safety committee, said, noting police are suggesting the curbs be painted yellow up to 25 feet or even 30 feet, depending on the intersection, so pedestrians have a better view of the traffic traveling on Central Avenue.

“It is also suggested that pedestrians use the southernmost crosswalk when traveling east toward the beach while crossing Central Avenue, and the northernmost crosswalk when traveling west toward the bay,” Tallon said.

Both recommendations, according to Tallon, will provide pedestrians with a safer view of oncoming traffic while attempting to cross Central Avenue.

“It’s a good idea,” Councilman Richard Butkus said. “It will alleviate the problem.”

Councilman Dave Hartman agreed, noting the recommendations were “top-notch.”

The issue was first brought to light in July by resident Joanne Carroll, who lives on 16th Street, arguably one of the most congested roads during the summer in a borough that’s just 1 square mile and regularly makes the trek across Central Avenue to Long Beach Boulevard on foot on her way to the beach.

Carroll told the council she and her family were forced to walk in the middle of the street because there is no alternate side parking, and because motorists are allowed to park within 15 feet of the stop signs. The borough approved the change from 25 feet to gain additional parking spaces several years ago. She noted even if the area is cleared of cars, walkers are still in the direct path of bicyclists.

Her initial comments came after the council held a lengthy debate before settling the borough police department’s summer parking woes. Early in the season, police were shut out of the parking lot behind town hall after beachgoers nabbed their spots while officers were on the road. The municipal parking lot, where police and other borough employees park, has always been open to the public for free parking, particularly during the summer.

The borough earmarked parking spots for police and the department’s emergency vehicles in the municipal parking lot on Central Avenue between 16th and 17th streets. The spots increased in size from 9 to 10 feet to accommodate the size of the doors of a police vehicle. In addition, the spots were striped out and marked to designate areas for police-only parking.

Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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