Vitale, Coughlin & Lopez Set Shore Traffic Plan With City Officials, Port Authority Heads
PERTH AMBOY – Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez yesterday adopted strategies with Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and City of Perth Amboy officials to mitigate Outerbridge Crossing traffic during the coming summer months. The four-pronged action plan includes operations for minimizing weekend construction, increasing police presence, optimizing traffic flow on the Goethals Bridge and maximizing fastest route communication coordinated through traditional means as well as through social media platforms and other applications.
“It’s a priority for us to take proactive measures now to spare residents of Perth Amboy from the hassle of weekend beach traffic snarling their waterfront neighborhoods,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex.) “Last summer, with construction on the Goethals Bridge, they endured serious public safety concerns as weekend beach goers wound their way through this historic city en route to Staten Island and New York. By coordinating with Port Authority and local public safety and government officials, we have put every available tool in place to avoid a repeat this summer.”
Last summer, Perth Amboy and neighboring towns were subject to unprecedented traffic backups as drivers found other routes around the Goethals Bridge construction closing. Yesterday’s summit confirmed that this year, not only will the Goethals be open, but it will be configured with clear shoulders and streamlined mergers to allow 50 percent more volume capacity. In addition, weekend construction on the Bayonne Bridge will be limited and prohibited after 3:00 p.m. on Sundays when return traffic from beaches begins to peak.
“I’m pleased that we are able to get out in front of the traffic problems that interfered with summertime enjoyment here last year,” said Assembly Speaker Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This community makes a vital contribution to our state and it is incumbent upon us as official representatives – and as neighbors – to prevent the kind of road congestion that delays first responders from keeping our constituents safe.”
The plan calls for Port Authority public safety patrol cars to be logistically stationed on the west side of the Outerbridge Crossing to cut response time to incidents on the bridge by half. The cars will remain in place from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays but will extend their tours as late into the night as traffic necessitates. Real-time ongoing communication between local and Port Authority police will facilitate remedial action.
“We all look forward to relaxation and outdoor enjoyment during warm weather – and the residents of Perth Amboy are as entitled to that as the rest of us,” said Assemblywoman Lopez (D-Middlesex). “I’m grateful for the expertise and input from traffic and law enforcement professionals and for the know-how and proficiency of the Port Authority officials. By working together, and staying vigilant this summer, we will avoid the congestion we saw last year.”
Key to the plan’s success will be comprehensive real-time communication and traveler outreach strategies. In addition to traditional news outlets and the already effective “511” advisory system, a new Port Authority bridge alert app will be launched and leveraged. These information channels will be bolstered by social media posts and roadside variable message signs showing up-to-the-minute travel times and best routes. The signs will be positioned at local shore points of entry and further out for the earliest notification of conditions ahead.
“Our goal is to continue to work closely with our host communities to ensure that we minimize any local impacts from travelers heading between New York and New Jersey on the Staten Island crossings during the summer months,” said Port Authority Tunnels, Bridges and Terminals Deputy Director Mark Muriello. “The extra capacity that the Goethals Bridge will provide will better distribute traffic, and other operational enhancements we will make will minimize delays, and we will greatly improve our communication with travelers.”
“With its captivating history, revitalized bayside and vibrant marina, our city may be one of New Jersey’s best kept secrets,” said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz. “We love for people to come explore our community – not just drive through it. With the support we’ve gained from our legislators and Port Authority, we’re working towards securing our neighborhoods for public safety access, while developing plans to create better accessibility for all – especially on Sundays.”