OCEANPORT: While borough council members are glad that Monmouth Park has been busy this summer, the traffic issue created when the racetrack hosts large special events has been problematic.
Councilwoman Ellynn Kahle said at the June 4 council meeting that the park's Food Truck Wars event over Memorial Day weekend drew over 60,000 people over a 3-day period and that the traffic associated with it was difficult for visitors and locals.
"They are going to have another at the end of the summer and there was no extra police, there was no extra people there...literally everything was a standstill from the Parkway all the way down," Kahle said. "Kudos to them that they had so many people there but there has to be something done about the traffic."
Borough Administrator John Bennett said the issue has already been addressed with Monmouth Park staff.
"There is concern and our chief has had that conversation with the director of security directly over at the track and we're hopeful and requiring a much more comprehensive plan for the next big (event)," Bennett said. "It was wonderful, they had 60,000 people over the weekend, but we have to see to it that they can get in and out without everybody else in town suffering."
Councilman Joe Irace said the race track did not expect to have the increased amount of visitors this year for the event.
"Last year they had 10,000 people on the Saturday of Memorial Day, they expected that again this year, but they ended up having 23,000, so they had two and half times the amount they expected," Irace said.
Bennett said in the future he would rather see the race track overstaffed with people to direct traffic and parkers than understaffed as it was during Food Truck Wars.
Mayor Michael Mahon said that despite the traffic tie-up, having so many visitors at Monmouth Park is beneficial for the venue.
"Having a crowd and traffic related to the race track is actually a good conversation to be having," Mahon said with a laugh.