TOMS RIVER – The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s (NJTPA) Board of Trustees recently doled out nearly $20 million to fund 27 transportation alternative projects throughout the state – one of which is the Ortley Beach Streetscape and Gateway Treatment Project.
The project, which is part of the ongoing recovery from Superstorm Sandy, awards Toms River Township $939,000 to continue making improvements to pedestrian and bicycle networks, installing new bike lanes along Route 35, reconstructing local roads and building new sidewalks and ADA curb ramps.
“This is welcome news to the residents of Ortley Beach. This project will both beautify and lend to the economic recovery of this major summer tourist destination on the Jersey Shore,” said Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher in a press release.
A project must include seven criteria in order to be considered for the NJTPA funding grant, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities, trails, improved access to transit, community enhancements and environmental and historic preservation.
The township also received funding from the NJDCA Post Sandy Planning Assistance Grant Program, which allowed them to form a Neighborhood Plan for Ortley Beach along Route 35. This project will allow for five gateway treatments at key entrances to Ortley Beach in the following locations:
- North and South ends of Bay Blvd.
- Two on the South end of Route 35 North
- North end of Route 35 South
The gateway treatments will feature welcome signage and landscaping, welcoming residents and visitors alike to the area and providing a unique sense of identity to Ortley Beach.
Toms River Councilwoman Maria Maruca, who represents Ortley Beach via Ward 1, noted that elements of the project will also enhance the aesthetics of the area’s business district.
“The streetscape treatments will include pedestrian street lighting with seasonal hanging baskets and banners, beachy landscaping, custom planters, street furniture, and bike racks,” she said in a press release.
The Transportation Alternatives Program receives funding from the Federal Highway Administration. The program is overseen by the New Jersey Department of Transportation in partnership with the NJTPA and the state’s other two Metropolitan Planning Organizations.