Somers Point City Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the state to amend the Garden State Parkway’s Capital Plan to include funding for the stranded bike connection between the city’s bikeways and the new Parkway Bridge over the Great Egg Harbor River.
“The plans to provide a safe connection to the new Parkway Bridge were developed in 2016, but there has been no progress on engineering or construction,” City Council President Sean McGuigan said during the June 25 meeting.
He continued, “Now that the state has raised tolls to fund a Capital Plan, funding should be made available immediately to build this important connection.”
The state’s plan calls for the construction of an overpass across the Northbound Parkway Exit Ramp connecting to the east side of the Exit Ramp, continuing along the east side of Route 9 to the intersection of Route 9 and Somers Point-Mays Landing Road (CR 559) and then along CR 559 to connect with the Somers Point Bike Path.
The city has already secured funding for the Somers Point-Mays Landing Road portion of this connection.
A capacity crowd attended the state’s public hearing on this needed connection to show their support in January 2019, but the state has yet to start construction of this safety improvement.
“Somers Point is the hub of bicycling in South Jersey. This Parkway bridge connection expands our bike network,” Mayor Jack Glasser said. “I am disappointed that the plan to connect this bridge to the Somers Point bikeway has not been completed.”
The resolution further stated that City Council is opposed to the closing of Interchange 30 at Laurel Drive and the construction of a full interchange at Exit 29.
“The $15 million allocated for a full interchange at Exit 29 could be better spent building the bike connector and paving Laurel Drive on a regular basis,” McGuigan stated. “The MacArthur Boulevard gateway was built to provide an attractive entrance to the city and to benefit local businesses in that area.”
City Council also recommended that Interchange 30 be closed to truck traffic to reduce the impact on nearby homes.
The mayor and City Council have requested a meeting with Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, who also serves as the chair of the New Jersey Highway Authority.
McGuigan noted, “As the NJDOT Commissioner and Chair of the NJHA, Commissioner Gutierrez-Scaccetti can resolve these issues at no additional cost to the state.”