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Sea Bright Council To Vote On Downtown Parking Plan Soon

SEA BRIGHT: The borough council appears to be ready to give New Jersey Department of Transportation the OK on its plan to restripe Ocean Avenue.

The plan would include a bike lane on the northbound and southbound sides of the street as well as back-in angled parking, also known as head-out parking, in the downtown area.

Sea Bright Recovery Manager Steve Nelson and Sea Bright Police Chief John Sorrentino recently met with local businesses to get their feedback on the restriping plan and the result was positive with the businesses agreeing they were in favor of the plan.

However, there were some concerns as some on-street parking spaces would be lost as a result of the restriping plan.

"According to DOT there would be about 16 spaces that would be lost in total, although there would be more spaces on the west side," Nelson said.

Nelson said he was able to do an analysis where the borough could create parking in other areas to make up for the loss of parking

"The bottom line is that I think we can find enough spaces to replaces that (would be) lost and we can also increase turnover," Nelson said.

He said the additions would come from fully striping out Ocean Avenue between River Street and Peninsula Avenue and looking at "currently unused properties that are either vacant or parking lots adjoining currently vacant building as a short-term peak demand type of off street parking."

Nelson said the main problem in the borough is that all the businesses, with exception of Andy K's Dairy and Deli, as well as several houses do not have their own parking and rely on public spaces. The new parking plan should help alleviate the problem.

"I think (the plan) will not only address the merchants' current concerns about the loss of parking, it may also help generally with allowing more retail parkers to find parking during the peak hours," Nelson said.

Long said she agreed and that the creation of more spaces should be beneficial for all.

"Without making significant changes, it is possible to make up the net loss of 16 spots that was discussed by the DOT consultant by striping additional areas that were not reflected in the plan," Long said.

Long said the borough is required to maintain 550 public spaces and that this plan would keep the borough well above the requirement.

Councilman William Keeler said he had some safety concerns with the addition of a bike lane along Ocean Avenue, but the other members of council and Nelson felt it would only make the road safer for bikers and motorists.

"The bike lane is the way to make it safer," Nelson said. "The state engineers have OK'd the plan."

Councilman Marc Leckstein and the other council members agreed to vote on the plan so it can be submitted to DOT at the Feb. 17 council meeting.

"There are growing pains with any plan, but I think we have to start somewhere," Leckstein said. "This is important and I think it will be good for the town."

The striping plan is contingent on when the New Jersey American Water water main replacement project is completed.

Borough Administrator Joseph Verruni said that project is scheduled to begin on Feb. 23 and that the work is expected to last about 30 days. That would likely result in the striping taking place during the late spring and summer months. All work would likely have to take place during the evening hours.

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