By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONPGORT – Turning Amherst Avenue into a one-way street to improve safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians sounds like a great idea for Margate’s marina district. But officials and residents of Longport are concerned it will force more traffic into the borough.
After meeting with city officials, Solicitor Michael Affanato recommended the borough hire a traffic engineer to do a preliminary study on how the change in Margate will affect traffic in Longport.
Affanato said the borough has two options: do nothing and allow Margate’s plan to proceed without objection or hire a traffic engineer to study the impact of the changes on Longport’s traffic flow.
“That would allow us to open a dialog with Margate in regard to concerns we have,” he said.
Retiring engineer Richard Carter said the one-way plan is designed to enhance the promenade Margate is building along its bulkhead, which he said will become a destination that attracts visitors not familiar with the traffic configuration.
“You will be approached by residents, there will be more traffic,” he advised commissioners at their Dec. 16 meeting.
“We should do our due diligence,” Commissioner Dan Lawler said.
“Those streets were not meant for heavy traffic,” Mayor Nicholas Russo said.
Resident Fran Kenny expressed concern about the impact traffic will have not only on 33rd Avenue where Amherst Avenue turns and ends, but also on 36th Avenue where she lives.
“With the traffic coming from Margate into Longport, 36th Avenue will be the second opportunity for them to make a left-hand turn off of Amherst Avenue,” she said.
Russo said the study would encompass all the streets near Margate.
In other business, the board agreed to spend up to $3,500 to hire Bob Bishop of Jersey Title Company to investigate ownership of a strip of land along the bayfront where a gazebo is located.
City officials are concerned about the condition of the bulkhead along the “gazebo lot,” which may need to be replaced, but they have been unable to confirm ownership and title of the land. Bishop is familiar with title of properties in the Downbeach area, Affanato said.
Luciano Lamberti, who is in the process of rebuilding Sunset Harbor Marina and Restaurant, owns an adjacent lot in Longport between the gazebo lot and his Margate restaurant, but only replaced the portion of bulkhead that lies in Margate. The bulkhead along his Longport property may need to be replaced as well, borough officials said.
The board also agreed to a $5,000 increase in the municipal use of services fee the borough levies against the Longport Public Library. The new fee for 2021 will be $45,000. The fee includes cost of services the borough provides for the library, including payroll and accounting services, use of certain borough facilities and equipment, and storage space on the third floor of Longport Borough Hall.
The board also approved a new three-year contract with the Longport Lifeguard Association, which was negotiated over the last year. The contract provides a 2.5% increase in 2021 and 2.8% increase in 2022.
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