Central Avenue in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Central Avenue in Seaside Heights, Feb. 2019. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Seaside Heights officials are envisioning an improvement and beautification plan for its business district and some areas beyond, and members of the public could play a role in whether the borough receives the funding to make it happen.

The borough council last week authorized a resolution to apply for state funding under the Transportation Alternatives Set-Aside program (TA Set-Aside) administered by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. If the state selects Seaside Heights to receive the grant, there could be significant work performed around town. The projects entails:

  • Creating new and improve existing crosswalks in east/west direction.
  • New pedestrian signage at every intersection.
  • Enhance parking barricades as pedestrian refuge islands.
  • Reposition street signage so all signs are visible and readable.
  • Created a dedicated bike lane in north/south direction. This would connect the bike lanes between Seaside Park and Ortley Beach.
  • Increase the number of street trees and improve existing street tree pits.
  • Replace lighting and banner poles.
  • Reconfigure intersection with Bay Terrace and Porter Ave to remove wasteful street layout and create parking.

According to the borough’s application, about half of the intersections do not have crosswalk striping across Central Avenue and do not meet the current striping regulations. To enhance pedestrian safety, the borough has proposed crosswalks at every intersection of a color and material that will stand out to drivers.

In an aesthetically-pleasing way, Seaside Heights would be able to protect pedestrian refuge islands” to improve safety.

“A few of the intersections along Central Avenue were recently improved to include recessed pedestrian refuge islands at the crosswalks,” the application states. “Recessed and/or protected pedestrian refuge islands are proposed to be installed at every crosswalk. The entire lengths of the parking barricades are also in disrepair with trip hazards from holes and uneven asphalt. The ground surfaces of the parking barricades are proposed to be improved to provide a safe walking and standing area of a color and material that will differentiate the barriers from roadways and parking spaces.”

One of the most important aspects of the plan is a proposal to build a new bike path that would connect Seaside Heights with Ortley Beach.

As it currently stands, dedicated bike lines are established and painted on Central Avenue in the towns immediately to the north and south of the borough, but the bike lanes do not connect through the town itself. Since Central Avenue is wider than the required 12 feet, a dedicated bike lane is being proposed along the eastern side of Central to align with the existing bike lane in neighboring towns. In the locations where parallel parking is currently along Central Avenue, the bike lane is proposed between the travel lane and the parallel parking.

The plan also calls for a number of aesthetic improvements around town. For example, the application states, the existing street tree pits are filled with gravel. The street tree pits are proposed to be improved for aesthetics and infiltration of stormwater. New street trees would also be planted for beautification, shade, and air quality.

“Dated” light poles would also be replaced.

“New, attractive and functional lighting and banner poles are proposed to be purchased to replace all the lighting and banner poles along Central Avenue,” the application states.

Officials are seeking help from members of the public to convince the state to award the grant to Seaside Heights.

Letters of support (emails are sufficient, officials say) be sent to vcoppola@seaside-heightsnj.org.