Hurricane Sandy’s devastation at the shore included significant damage to Rt. 35 on the Barnegat Peninsula in Ocean County. The need to repair the roadway has however created an opportunity to improve walking and bicycling conditions in that corridor. Fortunately, New Jersey’s strong support of Complete Streets should lead to better accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists along Rt. 35.
According to NJDOT’s Commissioner James Simpson numerous Complete Streets features have been designed into the plans for the reconstruction project, including a virtually continuous sidewalk along Route 35 northbound, 1,200 sidewalk ramps (compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act) and 200 pedestrian countdown beacons at signalized crosswalks.
NJDOT will not be purchasing land to widen the roadway, which makes incorporating bicycle accommodations more difficult. Addressing varying parking issues and ordinances in multiple municipalities increases the challenge of integrating accommodations for bicyclists. Despite these challenges NJDOT is creating plans to improve accommodations for bicyclists within the existing right-of-way and will be discussing these plans with the local communities in the coming months.
We encourage the communities and residents along Rt.35 to work with NJDOT to make the most of this repair project to improve and promote walking and bicycling along the Rt. 35 corridor. This is definitely an opportunity worth taking.