An experiment is underway on Simpson and Haven avenues near 34th Street to keep trucks and cars from using the neighborhood streets as a shortcut.
For vehicles backed up in traffic behind the light at 34th Street and West Avenue, the streets are easy temptations. But they are not designed for truck or high-speed traffic, and the issue has long been a source of complaints from residents.
"We were able to get some productive discussion started with residents on some of the concerns that they have regarding specific traffic safety issues in the areas of 29th to 34th Street between Haven and Simpson Avenue, including speeding, annoying truck traffic and pedestrian safety," Ocean City Police Sgt. Brian Hopely wrote in a letter to residents dated March 11.
Hopely, supervisor of the department's Traffic Safety Unit, had helped organize a March 6 neighborhood meeting at Holy Trinity Church. Despite a nor'easter bringing rain, wind and flooding to Ocean City that night, about 40 people met with Hopely and Ocean City Engineer Arthur Chew.
Out of the meeting came a plan to test temporary measures to limit through-traffic. The measures were implemented during the week of March 25 and will continue through May 3. They include:
- A diverter at the intersection of 31st Street and Simpson Avenue that forces vehicles approaching from any direction to take a right turn
- The closing of Simpson Avenue at 33rd Street to northbound traffic
- New "no outlet" and "no left turn" signs
A plan to close Haven Avenue on the 3300 block to northbound traffic was reconsidered due, in part, to concerns about providing access to homes when other streets are flooded, Hopely said. See attached PDF for a map of the temporary measures.
"We ask that you stay open-minded during this 'trial/test period' and take note of the changes you observe while devices are in place," Hopely wrote. "Some of these measures will be affecting your own travel routines to and from your homes, so please be patient during this phase. Again, understand that these installed devices are temporary and once they are removed, feedback from you as the resident experiencing the plan will be crucial."
Hopely asks residents to wait until the conclusion of the test period to submit both positive and negative feedback in an email or letter:
- Email: email@example.com
- Mail: Brian Hopely, Ocean City Police Department, 835 Central Avenue, Ocean City, NJ 08226
"We're trying to be as open as possible," Fourth Ward City Councilman Pete Guinosso said. "If we're finding areas that are unworkable, we'll change."
Trucks traveling between downtown and 34th Street should use Bay Avenue or West Avenue, Hopely said.