Lavallette’s borough council has restored access to the borough’s boardwalk for limited hours each day, reversing a ban instituted during the early days of coronavirus closures and modifying the previous schedule.
The council voted 6-1 Monday night to allow bicycles to access the boardwalk daily from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Previously, bicycles were allowed on the boardwalk between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m., but an effort to promote social distancing led the council to dedicate mornings for walkers only. The total ban on bicycles had elicited some complaints, prompting officials to reconsider.
“You have an opportunity to walk, with social distancing, in the morning,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone. “We’ve all lost some freedoms and activities because of coronavirus, but we felt the council took it all out on the bike riders and the walkers didn’t sacrifice anything.”
Walking on the boardwalk will still be allowed during the bicycle hours, as it was previously during mornings, but it will be the responsibility of walkers to socially distance themselves, council members said.
The single dissenting vote came from Councilman Robert Lamb, who cited safety issues at dusk as the reason behind his disapproval of the new hours.
“I worked many years on the police department there and it is very crowded at night,” said Lamb. “There are a lot of people walking around at that time and I think it’s very dangerous.
Other council members cited safety reasons for their vote in favor of the new hours.
“West Point Island, Bay Boulevard, the highways, have been excessively busy since we banned them on the boardwalk,” Filippone added.
The decision will take effect immediately and can be changed if any issues arise, officials said.
“It may not have been what we’ve done in the past, but the possibility for change has to exist, and it might be time for us to accept a slight variation,” said Councilman James Borowski. “It speaks to our open-mindedness.”