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Yes, the flashing sign shown above has a typo. But starting Friday, the eastbound lane of East Bergen Place from Broad Street to South Street in Red Bank will be closed for utility work, the borough announced Wednesday.

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saferoutes1Rolling out of the East Side: the ‘Mori Place Marauders’ want to make biking and walking to school in Red Bank safer.

On a typical morning during the school year, commuters in downtown Red Bank might encounter an unusual sight: a cluster of dozen or so children, accompanied by a parent or two, crossing town from east to west on bicycles.saferoutes2

Led usually by Mori Place resident Marc Dostie, the rolling parade of pedal-powered ducklings crosses heavily traveled Broad Street and Maple Avenue before arriving at its destination, the Red Bank Charter School on Oakland Street.

It’s a healthy, social and environmentally hospitable alternative to automobile travel. It’s also often faster than travel by car. But it’s also somewhat fraught, says Dostie.

“A lot of times I feel I have to choose between a safer ride and a legal ride,” he says, referring to a need sometimes to direct his charges up onto sidewalks to avoid close encounters with parked cars or moving vehicles that hug the right curb.

“We encounter a lot of motorists who don’t seem to understand the rights of way of pedestrians and bicyclists in crosswalks,” he says.

On Wednesday night, a newly formed organization of which Dostie is a member hopes to begin addressing ways not only to improve safety for riders and walkers, but to make Red Bank more conducive to car-free commuting for kids.

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