While traffic lights are in the off-season blinking mode along Long Beach Boulevard in Harvey Cedars, Surf City and Barnegat Light, signals for the rest of the Island will remain operational until Monday, Oct. 2, the day after Chowderfest Weekend.
“There’s a lot more traffic on the Island from Ship Bottom to Beach Haven than on the (Long Beach) Boulevard north of Ship Bottom,” said Ocean County Engineer John Ernst. “After Chowderfest, it should start to slow down a little.”
He said Barnegat Light traditionally has its signals blinking after Labor Day weekend.
“There’s little traffic after then, so it makes sense,” said Ernst. “But this year, Harvey Cedars and Surf City asked us if they could have the lights off before October since they also experience a significant drop in traffic. Studies indicated that was the case, so we agreed to put them in the flashing mode early. I would expect to have that happen again next year.”
Ernst said a change is also taking place with the traffic light on 28th Street in Ship Bottom, which traditionally has stayed operating in the off-season.
“We did a traffic count study and we believe that signal could go into blinking mode and not create a traffic safety problem,” he said. “We’ve sent a letter to Ship Bottom informing them of this decision.”
Councilman Tom Tallon, who is public safety committee chairman, disagrees.
“Since (Superstorm) Sandy, there has been a lot of construction and more vehicle traffic,” he said. “If you’re going to Brant Beach and the other (Long Beach) township communities and Beach Haven, you still have to go through Ship Bottom.”
He said 28th Street is also the last street on Central Avenue.
“It can be a busy intersection, and that light helps people making that left turn onto the Boulevard,” said Tallon.
The remaining year-round operating signals are in Ship Bottom at Eighth and Ninth streets, the outgoing and incoming Causeway roads. —E.E.