While Route 35 remains in limbo with no decision yet on bike lanes another shoreline state highway, Route 71 in Monmouth County is proposed to get a complete streets makeover by reconfiguring the roadway from 4 lanes to 3 lanes with the extra space allotted for bike lanes.
However at least one Councilman in Asbury Park objects to the lane reduction saying that it will hurt business. This is an old argument that gets recycled because some business owners see the addition of bike lanes as a major traffic disruption; a business killer.
But several studies that have been conducted find this not to be true. That extra lane that downtown businesses see as a way to keep traffic flowing faster actually just serves people who are driving through not to the business district. Lowering traffic speeds (without increasing congestion) and increasing local bike access has a neutral or opposite effect (depending on the mode share of bicyclists). Like Atlantic City beach towns that also have a substantial low income population get a fair amount of bike traffic as both recreation and transportation trips are being taken.
Other towns along Route 71 have already approved the complete streets changes, we hope that pro bike forces can prevail in the Dark City (Yeah, I don't know about that pseudonym either). Kudos to NJDOT for adhering to their complete streets policy. If you live in Asbury Park tell Council that you support bike lanes on Route 71.
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