Traffic Woes Spur Committeeman To Prod State
Failing intersections on Route 34 getting the attention of Township Committee
Committeeman Clinton Hoffman is a man on a mission.
Hoffman has got his sights set on jug handles — clogged, inefficient and potentially dangerous jug handles. Specifically, the log-jammed and often failing jug handles off southbound Route 34.
Hoffman, at Wednesday’s Township Committee workshop meeting, attacked the jug handle at the intersection of the state highway and Belmar Boulevard for failing to accommodate the amount of traffic that flows through it, calling it “nearly impossible.’’
The problem, Hoffman said, is that the jug handle coming off Route 34 is too short, too close to the intersection and forces drivers to cross a lane of oncoming traffic to travel East on Belmar Boulevard. Frequently, Hoffman said, drivers will queue across that lane of westbound Belmar Boulevard traffic in order to proceed across Route 34 in a timely fashion.
“The situation we have is nearly impossible,’’ Hoffman said. “I think it’s dangerous.’’
The trouble is, Route 34 is a state highway — over which the township has no control.
So Hoffman has asked Township Administrator Jeffry Bertrand to put together a proposal that the town can take to the state Department of Transportation to remedy the oft-clogged intersection.
But hold on there, said Deputy Mayor Todd Luttman. Belmar Boulevard is not the only intersection along Route 34 that’s a problem. It’s all of them.
Hurley Pond. Allenwood. Paynters — they’re all bad, Luttman said.
“On the Planning Board we’ve had lots of discussions about all these intersections up and down Route 34, “ said Luttman, who also sits on the Planning Board. “They’re all designed back in the ‘40s.”
Hoffman agreed they all need some kind of attention, but added that he thought Belmar Boulevard was the worst.
And Bertrand said he had spoken to Chief of Police Robert Brice and together the pair concluded that the least expensive remedy to long jug handle queues was to add a left turn lane in the center median of Route 34 that separates north and southbound traffic.
“It may mean moving these lanes, shifting these lanes, about 3 feet we think is about the number, to put that center turning lane in,” Bertrand said.
There’s a hitch in that plan, however.
“The state, according to the chief, is vehemently opposed to those center isle turning lanes. They feel they’re going to lead to accidents,” Bertrand said.
Luttman said this issue has come up numerous times at the Planning Board, but they have been stymied by the state.
“The state has no plans, from what we’re told, for anything other than Wyckoff Road, to make any changes,’’ he said.
Hoffman was undeterred.
“Something needs to be done,’’ Hoffman said. “I think our mission here is to try to get them to address it.’’
Betrand said the administration would put together some kind of proposal for the committee to look at. No deadline was set Wednesday.