By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are? It’s Saturday out to dinner time. Do you know the new traffic patterns in the city?
These are just a few questions being addressed by the City of Margate as summertime visitors who may not be familiar with local laws and the changes made since last year arrive for their summer of fun.
Commissioner of Public Safety John Amodeo Friday sent a robo call to all those registered on the city’s emergency notification system, providing some information about the changes and asking parents to monitor their children’s activities.
The Margate City Police Department has also posted advisories on its Facebook page, stating that over the last several years, large crowds of teens gather at the Wawa store on Ventnor and Washington avenues during the evening hours. There has been an increase in underage drinking and drug use and property crimes, they said.
“We are unable to constantly and closely monitor the large groups that form near our business districts and along beaches,” Police Chief Matthew Hankinson posted. “Accordingly, if any of the juveniles we encounter are acting in any way that poses a threat to their safety, or the safety of others, we will secure that child until a parent is able to take responsibility for them.”
Residents who live in commercial areas and in the high rise buildings along the beachfront have complained about large groups gathering at beach entrances during the evening hours and using profanity, drinking alcohol and smoking pot.
Some believe these activities are a “right of passage” for teens, but the noise and profanity disturbs the residents’ rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes.
Amodeo said that after a five-year planning and engineering study, roadway improvements currently underway will be completed over the next several weeks.
Atlantic Avenue has changed from two lanes of traffic in each direction to one lane in each direction, with center turn lanes and widened bicycle lanes. The change will make it safer for all users of the roadway, including bicyclists and pedestrians, he said.
Additionally, the pedestrian promenade project along the bay in the Marina District has resulted in changes to the direction of traffic on Amherst Avenue. The road was changed from one lane in each direction to one lane traveling toward Longport from Washington to Coolidge Avenue. Also added to the roadway is angled parking, a bicycle path and clearly marked crosswalks.
The promenade was supposed to be completed by this weekend, but problems with the lumber supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed delivery of the Ipe wood decking. The lumber will be delivered in two batches, this week and in the middle of June. The new expected completion date is mid-July.
However, parking along Amherst Avenue has been restored.
Amodeo reminded all motorists that the speed limit on city streets throughout Margate is 25 miles per hour.
Hankinson also advised bicyclists that they are responsible for following the same rules of the road as motorists.
Additionally, motorists are reminded they are required to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks. Pedestrians are reminded to cross only at marked intersections and those controlled with traffic signals.
“In short, both drivers and pedestrians should use their heads and common sense,” Hankinson said, encouraging anyone who has questions to speak to a police officer about how to navigate safely.
Perhaps the most important message shared in Amodeo’s robo call is to swim in the ocean only at guarded beaches, and never before or after the lifeguards are on duty.
There were several drowning incidents on Atlantic and Cape May County beaches last year that claimed the lives of swimmers entering the ocean after lifeguard hours.
Lifeguards are on duty 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in all Downbeach towns at certain beaches until the Beach Patrols are in full swing by July 4. Additional beaches will be guarded as the summer progresses.
The Police Department advises Margate residents that dogs are not permitted on the beach at any time during the summer. All dogs should be on leashes, including service dogs and support animals.
According to NJ law, there is no smoking allowed on any beach in the state. That includes vaping and smoking cannabis products.
For more information, see the Margate City Police Department on Facebook.
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