red bank riverside avenue crossingPerhaps there was some logic to installing a pedestrian crossing switch in the middle of a sidewalk, in front of a senior-living complex no less. Because that’s just what the New Jersey Department Transportation did recently on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank as part of its Route 35 makeover project.

What’s Going On Here? Read on. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

The pole and activation button were installed on a short pole opposite Allen Place, just steps away from the Springpoint Atrium complex, at a crossing Atrium residents and others rely on to cross the busy highway. It’s also an obvious obstruction to pedestrians, let alone someone in a wheelchair.

So why on earthy was it put there? Here’s what DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said via email in response to a redbankgreen inquiry:

“There are stringent federal ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements related to the location of pedestrian push buttons, including the amount of slope the sidewalk may have. This push button was designed and placed where it is to meet those requirements.”

That said, the DOT has now requested and received an exemption from the requirement, Schapiro said. The button will be relocated to the pole with the traffic signal sometime this month, and the short new pole will be removed, he said.

Red Bank Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen the borough is also hoping for DOT action on a similar setup at Maple Avenue and Monmouth streets, in front of Buona Sera Ristorante.