UPDATE at 9:25 pm: The council voted unanimously to withdraw the ordinance at tonight’s meeting after hearing from several citizens opposed to the proposed parking plan.
ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – The Atlantic Highlands Mayor and Council will decide tonight whether to allow parking along Ocean Boulevard between 1st Avenue and 4th Avenue. The move comes after a recommendation from the borough’s advisory Parking Committee and despite complaints about the plan from residents.
The ordinance 13-2001 was introduced at the May 13 meeting by Councilman Jon Crowley and Seconded by Councilman James Murphy
The mayor and council held a workshop meeting on April 8, to entertain discussion of parking along Ocean Boulevard. Currently there is no parking permitted on either side of the street, known as Scenic Drive, from First Avenue to Hill Road. The road is owned by the County which plans to mill and pave the road in an upcoming project. During a slideshow presentation, Parking Committee Chairman Mark Fisher said 1500’ of Ocean Boulevard will be milled and paved by the County at a cost of $100,000.00. The paving will go from First Avenue to Seventh Avenue.
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Once repaved, the roadway would be re-striped, and the shoulder on the south curb line between First and Fourth avenues would be widened to eight feet to allow for parallel parking of vehicles.
Most residents expressed an objection to the plan at recent Zoom meetings. Critics claim bicycle and pedestrian traffic would be endangered by the narrower street lines. Snow removal on sidewalks there have always been a problem, causing pedestrian to walk in the street they say. Emergency responders may have difficulty reaching apartment buildings in the area in the case of a fire. There would be obstructed views for vehicles entering Ocean Boulevard from Second and Fourth avenues.
Photo: Parking is proposed along the south side of Ocean Avenue.
The county road is designated a Scenic Drive and is part of the 2001 Scenic Road Plan and the County’s Master Plan. The viewscape should not be changed according to Jen Marston. Marston also noted that, “taking the fog line and moving it over to the northside of the road one foot over feels uncomfortable (for bicyclists or strollers)”
Joe Caccamo, of Ocean Boulevard said there is no other road in the area that compares with Ocean Boulevard. He said there are many pedestrians and bicyclists in the area and noted the use by first responders of the road “especially during the summer.”
A review of meeting minutes and audio could find only two residents speaking in favor of the proposal, both residents of the high-rise apartment building at 10 Ocean Boulevard.
According to the minutes of the April 8 meeting, Carolyn Northrope “thanked Mr. Fisher and the Parking Committee for all their work with this project. She said that the parking committee has always been transparent and that she supports this parking plan. Ms. Northrope suggested that the Borough waive the overnight parkingrestriction in the Harbor and thanked Chief Rossbach for all he has done for parking and traffic.”
Richard Stryker recommended that the parking begin at Second Avenue, because of the difficulties getting out of First and Ocean during the summer and weekends.
See Atlantic Highlands Borough Website for Zoom Link to Meeting which begins at 7:00 pm.