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Jersey Shore Route 35 Rebuild - Request Bike Lanes
Between 2009 and 2011, 49 reportable bike crashes occurred on the Jersey Shore's Route 35 with the majority of them resulting in injuries to the bicyclist. The road width of this state highway, which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is being rebuilt with over $200 million in Federal Emergency Relief funds, varies but for most of the central and southern sections, the width of the available shoulders is up to 24 feet in each direction (12 feet on each side of the road). Yet at the well attended public meeting held at the Lavallette Elementary school last week, engineering drawings show no bike lanes anywhere on the 12.5 mile road rebuild project.
In conversations with the various project team members, responses pertaining to the inclusion of bike lanes ranged from "they will probably go in some places" to "we're talking to the communities" to "there's not enough room", although no one ruled them out. However, time is running out! If bike lanes are not included in the construction drawings, then they won't be marked. NJDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian office has recommended bike lanes for sections of Route 35 with available right of way. However, this project is not subject to the DOT's Bicycle Pedestrian Office sign off, as it is considered an emergency repair, so the recommendation is just that.
The reconstruction of Route 35 is a litmus test for New Jersey's Complete Streets policy. There are few, if any, New Jersey state highways that have the same available right of way, volume of bicycle and pedestrian traffic, opportunity for economic impact and increase in bicyclist and pedestrian safety as Route 35 in Ocean County. If bike lanes are not included in this project, then we have to question the validity, ability and intention of the state to fully implement its Complete Streets policy.
If you have not written to the DOT then do it now! Your email will go straight to DOT Commissioner Simpson.
Actual design drawing of Herbert Road intersection
with Rt 35 in Mantoloking. No bike lanes are shown,
and the crosswalks are incomplete.
Complete Streets rendering of the same intersection; note bike lanes,
crosswalks at each crossing, safe handling of bicyclists through the
intersection. (John Boyle/Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia)
Thank you for speaking up for Complete Streets along this corridor!