Margate Police Department Supports Proposed Road Diet

Margate Road Diet Chief Hankinson
Chief Hankinson & Commissioner Amodeo

Matt Hankinson, Margate’s Chief of Police, says an Atlantic Ave ‘road diet’ would provide greater pedestrian safety.

The plan is to reduce four Atlantic Ave lanes, down to two. A center turn lane is also featured. Wider bike lanes, too.

Mayor Becker, Commissioners Amodeo and Blumberg will cast their vote on Feb. 4.

Not everybody wants to reconfigure traffic patterns in Margate.

Full-time resident Amy Reale, lives on Monmouth Ave. She thinks a road diet will force drivers onto the side streets… like Monmouth Ave. Reale opposes wider bike lanes too. Says they scratch her cars. Listen >

Listen: Margate Commissioners ROAD DIET Meeting. Jan. 21, 2021.

Amy Reale.

This favors summer residents. Not locals. Who are we catering towards? These changes negatively affect year-round residents. Feels a bit on the insulting side.

Amy Reale

Vaughan Reale, former Mayor of Margate, is also against this public safety initiative. Wants City to prove some kind of ROI, return on investment. Reale also wants detail on costs involved with switching back to 4 lanes if not successful.

Vaughan Reale wants Margate to focus on other things, like traffic lights.

Listen >

Vaughan Reale & Commissioners

Margate Road Diet Decision

The following are excerpts from Hankinson’s letter to Mayor Becker, Commissioners Blumberg, Amodeo and other Margate city administrators:

As you are aware, April 1, 2010, “Casey’s Law,” the most recent Pedestrian-Crosswalk Law, went into effect. This law was inspired by the tragic, fatal pedestrian- motor vehicle accident in Ocean City, NJ on July 17, 2009.

On that day, 21 year old Casey Feldman was a pedestrian in a crosswalk governed by 4-way stop signs when she was struck and killed by a distracted driver.

The tragic event was the catalyst for the law that mandates the driver of a motor vehicle stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a marked crosswalk at an intersection and the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

The adoption of this law, has created what this agency has determined to be a potentially unsafe situation, for both pedestrians and motor vehicles, utilizing Atlantic Avenue, due to the current four (4) travel lane configuration.

More specifically, when a pedestrian traverses Atlantic Avenue, they make the assumption vehicles in all four (4) travel lanes will stop to allow the crossing, however, this is not always the case, as on (1) driver may stop to allow the pedestrian to cross, but a driver in any of the three (3) adjacent travel lanes may fail to do so, either striking the pedestrian or “trapping the pedestrian” on the roadway.

Additionally, it has been observed drivers who are situated directly behind vehicles which are stopped to allow for a pedestrian crossing, more often than not pass the stopped vehicle on the right, seemingly unaware a pedestrian is crossing, making it extremely unsafe for the pedestrian.

Unfortunately, this condition has been observed in increasing frequency, and no manner of enforcement or educational campaign seems to rectify this situation.

Although we have not experienced any fatal motor vehicle accidents on Atlantic Avenue, in the current configuration, we have many of the factors which have been shown contribute to fatal motor vehicle accidents.

As noted in the Road Diet Study prepared by Remington and Vernick, the benefits of a Road Diet have been well documented by both the New Jersey Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration, they include crash and speed reduction, improved mobility and access and enhanced safety for pedestrians and bicyclist.

The Federal Highway Administration has shown there is a 32% decrease in potential reduction in pedestrian crashes with the advent of just a “pedestrian refuge.”

We have also seen exponential growth with the issue of distracted driving. The prominence of “smart” phones in the hands of many drivers is increasing the amount of distracted driving occurring on a daily basis. We have all been witness to the “close calls” happening while a driver is distracted by a cellphone.

The City of Margate has also seen an increase in both pedestrian and bicycle traffic in recent years. A Road Diet would give both pedestrians and motorists greater vision for any hazardous situations.

Road Diets lead to greater safety by slowing down through movement and redistributing space.

Remington and Vernick Engineers

As recently as January 13, 2021, there was a fatal pedestrian motor vehicle accident on Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City. It was reported the pedestrian was in the crosswalk when the traffic signal for the opposite flow of traffic turned green and struck, killing the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

It’s the recommendation of this agency the current four (4) travel lane configuration of Atlantic Ave be revised and the City of Margate adopt a Road Diet to a two (2) lane with a center turn lane configuration.

This configuration would not only enhance pedestrian safety and allow for a wider and safer bicycle lane, but it would also create a roadway which is more efficient to those drivers who utilize it daily.

Respectfully,
Matthew A. Hankinson Chief of Police City of Margate
Cc: Mayor Becker, Commissioner John Amodeo Commissioner Maury Blumberg

21 thoughts on “Margate Police Department Supports Proposed Road Diet”

  1. Interesting topic for the commissioners to discuss and take public comment at the commissioners meeting. Maybe even a public referendum on the November 2021 general election ? To guage the wishes of the residents.

    1. John, in what world do Margate elected officials or police actually care about residents? Just shut up, pay your taxes and don’t ask too many questions.

  2. Another concern to pedestrians and police: new electric bikes. People riding them at VERY high speeds.

    It’s bad enough that people on regular bicycles don’t respect pedestrians on the streets.

  3. Concerned Citizen

    I like this idea. But what about impact to Winchester, Monmouth and Amherst Aves?

    Did their study show how much additional traffic will flow onto those streets which are already like drag strips!

    Thank you and stay safe!

  4. Concerned neighbor

    What about installing flashing crosswalk lights? Wouldn’t that be an easier, less expensive, more timely and more visible solution?

  5. I think the lane reductions on Atlantic Ave is a good idea. Helping to keep speeders from speeding! 40 MPH and faster is NOT unusual for sure.

    If I had a nickel for every time I wished I was a cop!💰 Or prayed a MPD car was lying in wait!

    I vote YES!

    And, while you’re at it, making Amherst Ave a one way going toward Longport also gets my yes vote.

  6. Glenn L. Silverstein

    Isnt Ventnor Avenue still four lanes? If the information is good enough for Atlantic, why not Ventnor, and if it is not good enough for both why is it good enough for just Atlantic?

  7. If the police would do their job, Margate would almost be safe. Whatever the commissioners tell you please don’t believe them. Especially Amodeo, You can’t trust him and anything he says.

    They all probably need a little extra cash so they drum up a project that they can get kickbacks! Our Police Chief, and I say that loosely, is as bad or worse than Wolfson. Whatever he is getting paid, if it’s more than 40,000.00 it’s WAY too much for what HE DOES.

    Time to replace the 3 Thieves and the Chief. If Margate defunded the police I don’t really think we would miss them.

    1. Karen (or should I say Coleen or RC),

      Completely absent in your string of allegations is any proof of the serious things you suggest. If you do have such proof, then bring it to the authorities and let them investigate (as they did successfully with other issues in Margate). And if they are guilty, the legal process will address it. Otherwise, it’s all message board innuendo and cowardly attacks.

      A couple of other thoughts:
      -since you clearly know more than any elected officials, and can do better, run against them to improve things
      – if it’s so awful here, then move. You can make a lot of money in this environment.

      Of course, you’ll do neither. You’ll just keep slinging accusations… and you’ll reply telling us all you’ve lived here for __ years and other irrelevancies to your serious, unsubstantiated claims, as if that makes it okay.

      You’re just lame.

    2. SAY HELLO TO BILL PHILLIPS USING THE PSEUDO NAME OF HIS NEIGHBOR KAREN – THE (FILL IN WHATEVER ADJECTIVE YOU FEEL) PERSON WHO USED TO LIVE AT HUNTINGTON & AMHERST – FORMER LOCAL CLOWN

  8. Let’s agree on two things. One: we live in a resort destination and; Two: automobiles kill people.

    The idea of calming the traffic on Atlantic Ave is both a sedative and a safety net. The words, “a safer bike lane” is not only going to save lives, but also give us a more tranquil destination.

    My wife and I were biking in the Atantic Ave bike lane, around Washington Ave, when a driver opened her car door in our face. It was only my screaming that froze her in mid opening and allowed us to survive.

    Imagine if that was your child that could have been killed or crippled.

  9. If approved, my hope is that pedestrians attempting to cross through slow moving traffic don’t dash to the safe spot (turning lane) in the middle.

  10. Stop trying to fix what’s not broken! Margate is a Great town and has operated fine since its inception. New residents should stop telling us to change to suit there tastes! Atlantic Ave work fine just the way it is!

  11. I agree with the comments above. I have lived here all my life and Atlantic Ave does not need to be “fixed”. Why don’t we focus our attention on the dunes and boardwalk.

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