BELMAR, NJ —State transportation officials have presented Belmar with a plan to move the designated crosswalk on Eighth Avenue closer to Main Street in an effort to improve pedestrian safety.

The proposal comes nearly three months after a resident of the Belmar senior building was critically injured when she was struck by a vehicle while walking in the crosswalk, currently located directly in front of that building, adjacent to the NJ Transit railroad tracks.

Belmar Police Chief Andrew Huisman told the borough council at its September 17 meeting that he and Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum met with N.J. Department of Transportation and NJ Transit officials, who unveiled plans for addressing pedestrian safety concerns in this heavily traveled block that is part of state Route 71.

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The “best option” calls for installing an improved signal-controlled crosswalk a short distance eastward of its current location so that it does not interfere with the railroad crossing, according to Huisman.

Although state transportation officials could not be reached for comment on details of the plan, the device under consideration appears to allow pedestrians to push buttons installed at the crosswalk to activate a set of flashing beacons that would alert motorists when they are crossing.

To help alleviate traffic congestion into Belmar at the intersection of Eighth Avenue and Main Street, the plan also calls for delineating the roadway’s eastbound lanes with a left-hand turn-only lane and another lane for traffic proceeding through the intersection and turning right, Huisman said.

While the plan is in its preliminary stage and undergoing revisions, Huisman is hopeful the finalization of the project will move along quickly. In addition, a meeting with residents of the senior building to discuss the plan went well, he added.

Several weeks after the near-fatal crash in front of the building on July 1, the council was presented with a petition signed by 63 Belmar residents — most from the senior building — calling for the installation of speed bumps at the Eighth Avenue crosswalk.

However, because this portion of Eighth Avenue is owned by the state, borough officials said that plan would not be feasible since the state doesn’t allow speed bumps on its roadways.

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Monmouth County Repaints Crosswalks along Main Street

In other pedestrian safety-related news, Councilman Thomas Carvelli reported at this week’s meeting that Monmouth County road crews are repainting the Main Street crosswalks from Eighth Avenue to 16th Avenue. The new lines in bright white, reflective paint in front of Belmar Elementary School — at 11th and 12th Avenues — particularly garnered positive feedback from the school crossing guards, he said.

In addition, Carvelli said the state DOT plans to make similar improvements along Main Street from Fifth through Seventh Avenues, in addition to making adjustments to the signalization and timing of the traffic lights at those intersections.

“Pedestrian safety is something I’ve taken on as a focus,” he said.  “We want to walk the town safely and not have to worry about vehicle incidents, at least on Main Street where we’ve been proactive.”

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