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As first reported here on FAA News, meaningful traffic-congestion relief to Lakewood's Route 9 corridor is finally "nearby", as the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) recently began their long-awaited Route 9 intersection widening project in Toms River and they are expected to begin road work in Lakewood later this coming winter.

The project includes installation of brand new traffic signals at the Route 9 intersections with Oak Street and Chateau Drive which will be realigned to meet up with Broadway Avenue. No traffic signal will be installed at the Route 9 intersection with Finchley Blvd / Ford Avenue, which has existed for many years before the Oak and Vine neighborhood was developed.

According to records obtained by FAA News, Lakewood Township officials asked for traffic signals at both intersections, Finchley and Broadway, however NJDOT officials said that due to the close proximity of the two intersections they would only install a signal at one signal and Township officials would need to choose which intersection should receive a traffic signal, and the Township officials chose Broadway.

In the fall of 2017, DOT provided to the Township a draft of the Route 9 project plans. The Township responded with a number of questions and comments.

Comment #23 notes that "it is anticipated that a traffic signal at Route 9 with Finchley Blvd will be required and that said intersection would be widened in the future."

DOT responded, "This intersection is located within 1,000 feet of Broadway/Chateau that is also being considered for signalization and does not meet minimum spacing for new traffic signals."

Email dated September 6, 2018 1:09pm

From DOT to Township engineers

"We can not approve a traffic signal at both Finchley and Chateau because of the spacing requirements. The Township needs to consider which of these two intersections will provide a greater service to the municipality to install a second traffic signal. The Township needs to choose either Finchley or Chateau."

Email dated September 18, 2018 12:53pm

From Township Engineer Jeff Staiger to Township Manager Patrick Donnelly

"NJDOT has made it very clear that Lakewood needs to decide which is more desired, a signal at Finchley or at Broadway, as the other will be denied due to the close proximity to the other... We need to know how the Township wants to proceed. Finchley or Broadway???"

Email response dated September 18, 2018 2:01pm

From Township Manager Patrick Donnelly to Township Engineer Jeff Staiger

"We want to do Broadway"

Email dated October 9, 2018 10:18am from Township Engineer Jeff Staiger to NJDOT

"The Township is desirous of a traffic signal at Broadway... and Oak Street... While the Township is desirous of a traffic signal at Finchley the Township is aware that NJDOT has indicated a traffic signal will not be approved at Finchley if a signal is installed at Broadway..."

On October 23, 2018, NJDOT Bureau of Traffic Engineering Project Engineer Robert Klinger sent a formal letter to Lakewood Township officials solidifying that they notified the Township that they will only install a signal at one of the two intersections and that they requested that the Township review both intersections and choose the one that would provide the greater benefit to the Township if signalized, and at a recent meeting regarding the Route 9 project, the Township Engineer conveyed to DOT that a traffic signal at Chateau / Broadway will provide the greater benefit. "With the decision made to signal Chateau, the Bureau of Traffic Engineering will deny any requests to signal the Finchley intersection at this time", the letter concludes.

Do you think that Lakewood Township officials chose the intersection which "would would provide the greater benefit to the Township if signalized"?

Broadway Avenue provides access to two adjacent shopping centers (which just so happen to be managed by Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein). Finchley/ Ford was developed many years before the Oak and Vine neighborhood was.

In the comments section below, let us know if you think the Township fairly chose the correct intersection to be signalized!

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Anonymous said...

Yes, finchley/ford affects a limited number of local residents (who moved there knowing there was no light) and chateau/broadway affects countless residents from all over town who want to shop in those stores. Additionally, the light at broadway/chateau will likely help alleviate any issues those few residents have with getting in & out of their developments.

Shmiel Chaim said...

Finchley has been around for way longer, plus many homes in Hearthstone were redeveloped from singles to duplexes, which added many families to the area. Everyone in Oak and Vine also moved there fair and square "knowing there was no light".
Maybe the Township Committee likes the chasidim and is hoping to keep their votes.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems like Lakewood's officials are bending over backwards in so many ways to accommodate the newcomer Brooklyn chassidim (including the latest bus liaison position to bring them to CHEMED) and they seem to place the old-timers in town on the back burner.

Anonymous said...

Once again this will be used to bash chasidim, when the facts are very different. Chasidim did not cause the traffic in Lakewood, and most of the new developments over the last few years were not marketed to chasidim. The fact is that currently, Broadway is a busier intersection than Finchley, and serves more people. Some of the issues are also that YTT on the other side causes major traffic, and people leaving Oak/Vine can't go out that way.