The following is a letter to the editor from Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider:
At the City Council meeting of May 10th, I presented the possibility of an expansion of the linear park in a northerly direction, and an opening of the section of Ocean Avenue between Brighton Avenue and West End Avenue for passenger drop off at the public beach. This was a continuation of the discussion that began at the April 26th meeting and took into account the public comment that night. NO vote was taken at either the April or May meeting.
My goals are public safety, beach access, and expansion of the linear park. The balancing of all those interests is a complex task.
My proposal would open Ocean Avenue from Brighton to West End Avenue, and close the road all the way to North Bath Avenue. The opening of the road from Brighton Ave to West End provides safe public access with the least amount of disruption. The closed portion of the road to the north would be larger than ever before and would provide for a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Along with the new boardwalk, the closed road would create a beautiful landscape without any vehicular traffic. There is some support on Council that a small portion of Ocean Avenue will be open to provide access to Vine Court.
At the moment, these are just ideas, and that is how it was presented at the Council meeting. A multitude of variables must be taken into consideration and Green Acres approval is necessary. The plan, if implemented, would be reviewed at the end of the summer. If successful, then landscaping issues and the ends of the side streets would be addressed on a permanent basis. If the plan doesn't work or can't be implemented, we will work to find another solution to address the various issues.
For reasons someone else will have to explain, the group "Save Ocean Avenue" sent out a factually inaccurate email to its members. Whether the misrepresentations and exaggerations were intentional or careless, I don't know. However, this isn't the first time SOA has misrepresented City actions.
I anticipate that with the completion of the boardwalk, the City will have its most successful summer ever. We are working diligently to make that happen.