In Asbury Park: State Wants to Reduce Main Street to 2 Lanes


coaster-news-200-newBy COLEEN BURNETT

The Asbury Park City Council was expected to pass a resolution at press time objecting to a proposal by the state Department of Transportation to cut down Main Street (Rt. 71) from two lanes on either side to just one lane.

Mayor John Moor also did not rule out the possibility of taking the matter to court if the idea ever moves forward.

The project has been kicking around between the city and the state for eight years and discussions intensified over the summer. The state would like the roadway to look something like what Main Street in Avon looks like now – – with bike lanes, new traffic signals and various improvements designed to make the area more pedestrian –friendly. The state also has plans for a turning lane on Deal Lake Drive.

At the council’s workshop meeting this week Moor said while he would love to see improvements along the roadway, Asbury Park is not Avon.

“I may lay down in the middle of the road {to halt construction}. This is so irresponsible,” he said.

City Planner Michele Alonzo explained to the governing body that the state is in the process of making a final decision on the project.

“It was quite a surprise,” she said.

She also noted that the city did not have all the information they needed even if they wanted to sign off on the project – -including seeing the minutes of critical meetings.

“None of us have seen a final design,” she told the council.

Moor said it looked like the DOT was bullying the city into accepting the project

“‘We’re gonna do it anyway, so go to hell’ – that’s what they’re saying,” he said.

The mayor said businesses have indicated to him they don’t want the project either – – although they were never brought in on the discussion in the first place.

“In eight years they {the state} have not reached out to the businesses,” he complained. “They are putting a gun to our head.”

Alonzo said that apparently the state is holding the city to a seemingly tentative approval of the plan – -that was buried in minutes of a council session in 2013.

The mayor said he wants answers as to who gave their OK.

“I want to know who the local officials were who approved this plan. It ain’t gonna work,” he said.

And, in his last thoughts on the subject, he took a last shot at the DOT.

“Go back to your ivory tower…we’ll see you in court,” he said.

Posted in Asbury Park City Desk and tagged .