LAKE COMO/BELMAR, NJ — With this year’s first charity run season under way, Lake Como has put in place measures aimed at making it easier for residents to get around town during these crowd-drawing events.
Based on a Belmar Police Department recommendation made last year, these weekend events will now start no later than 9 a.m., so that road closures in Lake Como and Belmar will have less of an impact on residents who find themselves “trapped” and unable to leave their homes when races are held later in the morning.
Many of these events, which attract hundreds of participants, begin and end at Bar Anticipation on 16th Avenue, with a typical route going east on 16th Avenue to B Street and continuing south on several other streets to the lakefront on North Boulevard, where the route leads back to Main Street and 16th Avenue.
As a result, these races have been a chronic problem for residents who live on or immediately off these streets — particularly during the peak season when they are packed with parked cars and congested with beach traffic.
In addition to the earlier start time, Lake Como is requiring event organizers to provide adult volunteers, wearing safety vests, to be stationed along the run/walk route. All streets will be cleared and opened as the race passes, and walkers will be moved off the streets to the sidewalks after a sufficient amount of time has passed to allow for the traffic flow to resume as soon as possible.
Officials also stressed that at all times during these events, westbound traffic on 17th and 18th Avenues will be allowed to turn north onto Main Street.
To alert residents of an upcoming run or walk, a “code red” message will be sent to residents before the race, with specific information on road closures. When information becomes available, TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como will also publish news alerts a day prior to a racing event.
After the council received a barrrage of complaints from residents last year, Lake Como Mayor Kevin Higgins, Councilwoman Virginia Kropac and a Belmar police representative met with a group of race organizers “to get everyone on the same page,” according to Kropac. The result of those discussions was the new set of regulations.
However, the borough council has granted several exceptions to the new 9 a.m. start time, which are noted below.
Here is a rundown of this season’s walks and races in Belmar and Lake Como to date:
- May 4: Jersey Shore 5K and Team Hope Walk, sponsored by the Huntington's Disease Society of America, 8 a.m. start at Bar Anticipation.
- May 18: Color Me Belmar Walk-Dash-Run, sponsored by Family Resource Associates, 7 a.m. start at Second and Ocean Avenues.
- May 25: Spring Lake Five Mile Run, 8:30 a.m. start on Ocean Avenue in Spring Lake and continuing into Belmar and Lake Como along the lakefront.
- July 13: Belmar Five Mile Run, 8:30 a.m. start at Silver Lake Park, Fifth Avenue and Ocean Avenue.
- September 7: Fallen Heroes 5K Memorial Run, sponsored by New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, 9 a.m. start at Bar Anticipation.
- September 14: Out of the Darkness Walk, sponsored by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 9 a.m. start at Bar Anticipation.
- October 6: Triathlon/Duathlon/Aquabike for Autism, 8 a.m. start at Silver Lake Park, Fifth Avenue and Ocean Avenue.
- December 7: Jingle Bell Run, sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, 6:30 a.m. start at Bar Anticipation.
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