Commercial Vehicle Ban Considered for Some Ship Bottom Streets

Shortcuts Through 10th Street Annoy Neighbors
By Gina G. Scala | Oct 30, 2019

Ship Bottom — Ship Bottom officials are continuing to look for solutions to curb the overuse of residential streets by commercial vehicles in the area of Shore Avenue after residents and homeowners on 10th Street raised public safety concerns this summer.

In the latest installment, the borough council is looking to amend the town code book, chapter 10.16.020, Ordinance 71-12, to include 10th, 11th and 12th streets to “exclusion of trucks from certain streets.”

Earlier this year, borough officials agreed to put up signs prohibiting trucks from using the residential roadways and notifying motorists there is no access to the Causeway from 10th Street. Similar signs had already been installed south of 10th Street where streets intersect with Barnegat Avenue.

“Signs are OK,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said recently. “But they’re not enforceable without an ordinance.”

Currently, there are no restrictions, by ordinance, on the residential streets off Shore Avenue on the south side of the Causeway, where motorists, including larger delivery-type commercial trucks, attempt to bypass summer traffic by cutting through the residential zones.

Under borough code, all trucks in excess of four tons are excluded from accessing Barnegat Avenue, 19th Street and Shore Avenue. The only exception is for local services, defined by borough code as pickup or delivery of materials or goods, or the rendering of services on such streets.

Similarly, all commercial vehicles are banned from using Barnegat Avenue, 19th Street and Shore Avenue unless for local service reasons.

Officials are currently considering shutting access to trucks over four tons and commercial vehicles on 10th and 11th streets between Shore, Barnegat and Central avenues. Twelfth Street would prohibit access between Shore and Barnegat avenues only because it is a one-way street in the area of Central Avenue.

For years, the Shore Avenue area has been used as an alternate route for motorists heading south on the Island via Barnegat Avenue to Central Avenue to Long Beach Boulevard. Its proximity to the Causeway makes it an easy alternative to waiting for traffic lights where the Ninth Street intersects with Barnegat Avenue near CVS Pharmacy. There’s a second traffic signal where the roadway intersects with Central Avenue and a final signal at the intersection with the Boulevard.

The traffic snarls in that section of the borough are threefold. First, it’s the outbound traffic from the south end of the Island hoping to beat the lights and traffic on the Boulevard. Those motorists cut across Central Avenue, which is one way, before turning right onto Barnegat Avenue. Barnegat Avenue has two traffic signals where it intersects with Eighth and Ninth streets, known as the inbound and outbound Causeway. That’s where the traffic gets tricky as motorists coming onto the Island and turning left at Barnegat Avenue often block or nearly block the intersection so the motorists going straight are unable to get through. That, in turn, causes a snarl for motorists on the south side of Barnegat Avenue.

All of it is further complicated by the use of traffic apps that redirect motorists around highly traveled areas where there is traffic, Councilman Joe Valyo said.

“It takes them through residential areas because it’s eight minutes shorter,” he said during the recent discussion about banning commercial trucks on 10th, 11th, and 12th streets.

Councilman Robert Butkus wants to know how the borough plans to enforce the ban.

“It’s not easy to enforce,” the mayor said, noting officials would continue to work on the solution and put it on the agenda for the Nov. 26 council meeting.

The issue was first brought to the table in June by Ken Reuter, a 10th Street resident. He presented the governing body with a signed petition asking for speed bumps to be installed on the road as one solution to reduce speed and hopefully discourage the use of the residential street as a bypass to the south end of the Island.

Just before Labor Day, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office used new technology to observe motorists making the first right off the Causeway onto Shore Avenue before making a quick left on 10th Street. The data showed more than 6,500 motorists took the shortcut in an 11-day period ending Sept. 3. That’s more than 600 vehicles traveling the residential roads per day.

— Gina G. Scala

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