SEA BRIGHT TO PUT COP ON CROSSWALK BEAT

sb ocean ave 011614The tiny borough plans to deploy a police officer devoted to enforcement of pedestrian safety laws. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long admits it: she has wigged out on motorists who don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks on the town’s main drag.

“I’ve been known to yell at cars on Ocean Avenue,” she tells redbankgreen. “When I see somebody blow through a crosswalk, especially if there’s a child waiting to cross, I’ll be like, ‘what is wrong with you? Do you not see the kid standing in the crosswalk?’ I have been known to do that.”

Now, the tiny oceanfront borough, though it is starved for cash as it continues to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, is taking action.

Earlier this week, the borough council approved the hiring of a part-time police officer, or “special” in law enforcement lingo, to work one day a week targeting pedestrian safety violations. The job will pay $100 a day.

Action was needed, said Long, because from the Monmouth Beach border to Sandy Hook, “it doesn’t matter if you’re standing in the crosswalk,” said Long. “Cars just will not stop. Sometimes, our residents are literally putting their lives at risk trying to get across Ocean Avenue.”

State Highway 36 “is also the main street of our town, with literally hundreds of people living along it,” she said. Those residents, as well as beachgoers, shoppers and others regularly encounter motorist indifference, she added.

Long insisted to the council that it cut the $5,200 yearly cost from elsewhere in the budget so as not to increase put any additional strain on taxpayers.

“Not to be a cynic, but I think it will pay for itself within the year,” said Councilman Read Murphy in ticket revenue. “It’s a continually violated law.”

The cop will be in place by the time the weather turns warm, Long said. At a recent meeting, police Chief John Cosentino said the town would put up signs warning drivers to slow down or face a citation.

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