By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – The much maligned Atlantic Avenue road diet completed over the spring and summer months took top honors in a statewide engineering competition. The road diet, which drew criticism from some residents and visitors, has accomplished what municipal officials hoped for and has rendered the annual switch to yellow flashing signals unnecessary, officials said Thursday, Oct. 21.
The New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers Awards Committee selected Margate City engineer Edward Dennis Jr. of Remington & Vernick as the first place winner in the Municipal Project Management Population Under 20,000 C Category of its annual competition. Dennis will receive his award during the society’s annual luncheon being held at Atlantic City Convention Center during the NJ League of Municipalities Conference, Nov. 17.
Dennis will be required to prepare a story board with photographs and a brief narrative describing the project, which redesigned the four-lane roadway from two lanes in each direction to one travel lane in each direction with a center turn lane and widened bicycle lanes, increasing safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Dennis told commissioners the award “speaks to the outcome we were looking for” and that “it met our expectations for safety.”
The project was successful in calming traffic and improving safety, Police Chief Matthew Hankinson said.
“It did what we hoped it would do, and traffic is flowing smoothly,” he said.
Although there may still be naysayers, residents were mostly positive about the outcome.
Therefore, there will be no need to implement the city’s annual ritual of turning traffic lights to flashing yellow for the off-season.
“As part of the traffic calming aspects of the project, flashing the lights yellow would negate the effects of this award-winning project,” he said.
Hankinson said the Police Department has in the past received complaints about speeding when the lights flashed yellow and from motorists trying to pull out of the side streets, he said.
“If it’s not broken, you don’t fix it,” he said.
A contractor will be out next week to complete the timing of the clock mechanism in the traffic lights, which will be maintained in the event of a power outage, Dennis said.
Hankinson said that he drove the entire length of Atlantic Avenue doing the speed limit – 25-miles-per-hour – and it added exactly one minute to the commute.
“No one will notice the one extra minute in their day,” he said.
Copyright Mediawize, LLC 2021