OCEANPORT: Area mayors are exploring the idea of a bike lane through 14 towns, such as Oceanport, Rumson, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright, that would snake along county and local roads and possibly dedicate space for bike traffic over bridges.
The viability of a bike lane was among the topics at the previous Two Rivers Council of Mayors meeting, said Oceanport Mayor Mike Mahon.
The group represents towns along the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers in eastern Monmouth County. It includes Little Silver, Tinton Falls, Shrewsbury, Red Bank, Fair Haven, Rumson, Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach, West Long Branch, Ocean Township and Oceanport.
The proposed lane would send bike traffic north from Oceanport through several towns and then over the bridge into Sea Bright, then head down Ocean Avenue and loop back over the bridge into Oceanport, Mahon said.
The Two Rivers council's idea was discussed at the last Oceanport Borough Council meeting, in Mahon's mayoral report. The route of the bike lane would create a loop between the towns, on roads that are primarily the county's, Mahon said. That means approval of traffic changes for a bike lane would require county approval, as well as approval from local officials regarding a bike lane on local roads.
“The county is being asked to consider the same program that the Two Rivers Council discussed,” said the mayor. “Each town along the route is being asked to sign off.”
Mahon said the project could be funded partially with grants, saying that the state has a bike lake improvement grant program, and the council towns and county could apply for it.
“The program was just announced,” Mahon said, “and it is there to help fund some of these things.”
Council members offered their thoughts on the project, wondering whether the lane would improve road safety or deter from it.
“It’s not as clean as it looks,” said the mayor in response to how traffic currently intermingles pedestrians, automobiles and bicycles.
However, the state Department of Transportation has a renewed interest in identifying good places for bike lanes.
While Mahon said that many towns, especially seaside ones, have bike traffic, the borough council members brought up safety concerns. The borough attorney also clarified traffic regulations, as far as permitting bicyclists to ride single file or side by side, and other legalities.
Fair Haven has adopted a resolution for bike lane improvements to its roads, Mahon said, and he suggested the Oceanport borough clerk draft a similar resolution for the council to consider at its next meeting.