Sea Bright to get Brighter

Sea Bright beach

Borough officials are moving forward with plans for diagonal parking spaces in the downtown area and bike lanes along Ocean Avenue.

The council voted to adopt the resolution allowing the diagonal parking spaces at its Feb. 17 meeting. According to Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni, the project, which is being undertaken by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT), should begin sometime in late March.

“New Jersey American Water called me and said they were beginning the water main project on Feb. 23. I didn’t call them this time; they called me,” he said.

The project will include the repaving of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright by the DOT, the painting of 4- to 5-footwide bike lanes along the newly paved road from Sandy Hook to Monmouth Beach, and head-out parking in the downtown area of the borough.

The new parking spaces and bike lane will come at no cost to the borough due to being a part of the DOT repaving project.

Councilman Charlie Rooney III advocated the addition of bike lanes to the borough, saying Sea Bright is a “doughnut hole” of surrounding towns.

“We need bike lanes in this town. We need to connect with the new bridge that is coming in 2018, we need to connect to Monmouth Beach, we need to encourage people to come in here and go to the beach,” he said.

Mayor Dina Long agreed, saying the lanes would be safe and would even deter drivers from speeding on the road.

“The DOT came in and studied it, and they hired a consultant on their dime to produce the plan that we are now talking about,” she said. “I think the bike lanes are more for drivers of cars than bikers. They remind the driver that the cyclist has as much of a right to be here as the car does, and allows them to make way.”

Councilman Jack Keeler opposed the bike lane plan, saying he felt as though the borough needed to take more time to properly investigate its pros and cons.

The resolution adopted by council for the spaces and bike lane states that the parking spaces will have a twohour time limit between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. seven days per week, May 1 to Oct. 1 each year.

The head-out parking spaces will be just south of Rumson Road and will extend to Beach Street. All the diagonal spaces will be on the southbound side of Ocean Avenue.

Steve Nelson, recovery manager for the borough, addressed concerns by the council regarding the new spaces eliminating more spaces overall within the borough.

“We can find enough spaces to replace spaces that were initially lost on different side streets, and I think we can also increase turnover of people parking, which is vital for retail downtown,” he said.

“That would be done by revising the existing time limits and fully striping out the block between River Street and Peninsula Avenue.”

He also suggested increasing enforcement of those time limits and using vacant properties or parking lots during peak-demand hours for off-street parking.