While Governor Christie talks about the "new normal" for Ocean and Monmouth County beaches the old normal seems to the general condition of shore communities south of Little Egg Inlet. My brief visit to Atlantic City yesterday (away from the beach) confirmed that. I can also confirm that urban bicycling in AC is still a less than pleasant experience. I had plenty of company out there and the lack of accommodations has resulted in an improvised bike riding culture, with cyclists riding every way and place except on the street with the flow of traffic. On the pedestrian side the City is second to Newark in pedestrian crashes per capita.
But the City is doing something about it. NJ DOT in concert with the Casino Redevelopment Authority (CRDA) is wrapping up its bicycle and pedestrian plan and it will be making a final presentation to the public. The boldest proposal - a road diet and cycletracks on Atlantic Avenue, a heavy lift indeed. There is also a proposal for a two way cycletrack on wider and less busy Baltic Avenue which would hook in to a "24 Hour Loop" on the north end of the Boardwalk (which by chance happened to be the section that was conveniently wiped away by Sandy). Look for a public meeting to happen in late January, the plan will have to be approved by City Council although the City and the CRDA have already begun looking to fund some of the plans recommendations
Two of the City's neighbors are also taking advantage of NJ DOT's Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Assistance Program with bike ped plans. Tomorrow Pleasantville will be holding a final public meeting tomorrow December 6th at the Pleasantville Library between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. The Library is located at 33 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, next to Pleasantville City Hall.
Finally Brigantine is in the early stages of developing its bicycle and pedestrian plan. The first phase involves filling out this online survey. If you walk or bike in Brigantine and would like to see more improvements (the city already boasts some bike lanes) then please fill out this survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/brigantinebeach).
We cannot over emphasize the importance of the Local Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Assistance Program. It is one of NJ DOT's most cost effective tools and has helped them earn a top 10 position in the Bicycle Friendly States program. One of the most difficult things to do these days is to ask a municipality to find tens of thousands of dollars and a reputable consultant to develop a plan to make it easier to walk or bike. If you look at a map of bike lanes in New Jersey you will find that about 80% are in communities that have adopted a plan. You won't find an official NJDOT page, although Googling will give you some access to previous applications. Contact NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian Office for more information