By JOHN T. WARD
Hoping to nudge the New Jersey Department of Transportation to act, the Red Bank council adopted a resolution Wednesday night calling for a traffic light on a curving part of a road that Mayor Pasquale Menna says motorists “zoom” down.
The traffic signal would be installed at Riverside Avenue/Route 35 and Bodman Place, a bending stretch of roadway between the Molly Pitcher Inn and Cooper’s Bridge.
It’s needed, in part, because heavy traffic makes it difficult for motorists to emerge from Bodman Place, a dead-end that serves the Oyster Point Hotel, multi-family housing complexes and several office buildings, including one in which Menna maintains his law practice.
“The traffic counts there are crazy there to get out safely, and the DOT has acknowledged that,” he told redbankgreen. “But they haven’t taken action, probably because of funding issues.”
The light would also help slow traffic flow along Riverside, which is lined with high- and low-rise homes, including the Atrium senior citizens building. It’s also needed for pedestrian safety, he said.
It’s not the first time the subject has come up at a borough council meeting, nor been the subject of a resolution. At the urging of elected officials, including state Senator Jen Beck, the DOT has been looking at the issue for a decade, Menna said.
“They keep on sending more and more engineers to study, and we still don’t get a response,” he told the audience at the semimonthly council meeting. “Classic state action.”
A DOT spokesperson could not be reached for immediate comment Thursday.
Menna told redbankgreen the matter has added urgency now that the town has adopted a new Area in Need of Rehabilitation overlay zone in the area. The designation encourages property owners to redevelop housing that’s more than 50 years old in the zone, which abuts Riverside Avenue.
“Now’s the time to do it, rather than later,” he said.
The resolution says the town would be willing to pick up 25 percent of the cost. Menna estimates the project price tag would come in at between $250,000 and $300,000.
“Traffic lights aren’t cheap,” he said.
Here’s the resolution as introduced. It passed on a unanimous voice vote after Menna amended it by adding additional reference to the new zone and calling DOT action “essential” to its successful implementation.