In the fall of 2012 parts of the Jersey shore suffered severe damage to their infrastructure from Hurricane Sandy, this was especially true for the barrier beaches along the Barnegat Peninsula of Northern Ocean County.
The State DOT fast-tracked a rebuild 12 miles of Route 35 the main North-South road. Transportation advocates (including the BCGP), emboldened by NJDOT’s complete streets policy, engaged project engineers, municipal governments and local residents. The result was the inclusion of the longest urban stretch bike facilities on a NJ state highway. The project also added new sidewalks and crosswalks in Lavallette and Ortley Beach.
Not everyone was jazzed with the plans for new infrastructure.
At the north end of Route 35 the Borough Council of Bay Head initially voted down the inclusion of sharrows but in the end they reversed their decision and the sharrows went in. Now in 2017, the borough is rolling out a brand new contraflow bike lane on East Ave, one-way street parallel to Route 35 that runs along the beachfront.
Farther south changes are also coming to Atlantic City. Last fall a new two-way buffered bike lane on Maryland Ave was installed between Brigantine Boulevard and Adriatic Ave.
This road diet project removed lightly used parking on one side of Maryland Ave. This is the first project implemented in the Atlantic City Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
The Middle Township Bike Path, which begins at the Cape May County Zoo, has been extended south to Satt Boulevard and is now nearly seven miles long. Construction is now taking place to connect with the Cold Spring Bike Path in Lower Township. When this connection is completed later this summer, the trail will be 11 miles long and will become the longest paved multi-use path in South Jersey.
At the south end of the trail, bike lanes connect to Cape May City and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
Last fall the State of Delaware opened a 1.1 mile section of the Lewes to Georgetown Trail in the City of Lewes. It connects with the bike loop between Lewes – Cape Henlopen State Park and Rehoboth Beach passing through pine barrens, salt marshes and sand dunes. The network is easily accessible via the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.
In the Pipeline:
- On June 8th Atlantic City opened a section of boardwalk that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the second section to Gardiners Basin will be completed in 2018, when finished the City will make the new boardwalk segment and connecting streets a bike loop exempt from time restrictions.
- Garden State Parkway over the Great Egg Harbor River. This bridge will include a bicycle and pedestrian path along with a pavilion for fishing. The path is expected to be open in 2019. A study is being conducted in Somers Point to determine the best way to connect the path with the Ocean City-Somers Point Bridge Path and the Pleasantville-Somers Point Bikeway.
- The Cities of Wildwood and Wildwood Crest are proposing beach bike paths, similar to this facility in North Wildwood. The goal is to create a beach path along the entire island from Ocean Ave in North Wildwood to the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge nature trail in Diamond Beach. The streets Wildwood City are particularly unfriendly towards bicycles. Unfortunately, the Cape May County Open Space Board found that the applications for both projects were incomplete and were not selected for funding this year. With the limited hours that you can bike on the boardwalk, these project cannot happen soon enough.
- The borough of Stone Harbor has received Cape May County Open Space funds to “enhance” (buffer) the existing bike lanes and to install a bike corral and repair station at the 94th St parking lot. One big negative for Stone Harbor is a ban on bicycles from riding in the Business District (96th St) after 6PM.
- Construction will begin on two sections of the Barnegat Branch Trail will begin later this year in South Toms River and Lacey Township respectively. When these segments are completed in 2018 12 miles of the 15 mile trail will be completed.
- In Delaware Phase 2 of the Lewes to Georgetown Trail is in design and will include a much-needed underpass of Route 1 in the Nassau community west of Lewes.
Bike on Trains, Buses and Ferries
- Atlantic City Line – Bikes allowed at all times, there is a 2 bikes per car limit (6-8 bikes per train). Up to 12 bikes are allowed on weekend trains if space is available. If you are heading to Atlantic City on a summer weekend morning your best chance of finding a space for your bike is boarding at any of the stations before Lindenwold (Philadelphia, Pennsauken or Cherry Hill Stations).
- NJ Transit Buses – The 316 Wildwood-Cape May Express Bus departs from 30th St Station with limited stops 7 days a week between June 24th and September 3rd. If you leave from the Walter Rand Transportation in Camden (PATCO Broadway Station) instead of Philadelphia you will save about 40% on your fare. Other bus routes to the shore that depart year round from the Greyhound Terminal and Walter Rand include Bus 551 Atlantic City Express, 317 Asbury Park and the 313/315 local to Wildwood and Cape May. NJ TRANSIT motorcoach buses have luggage bays which can accommodate up to two or three bikes if space is available.
- Dart First State – Express Beach Bus service from the Wilmington SEPTA/Amtrak Station to Rehoboth Beach Friday-Sunday. 2 to 3 Bikes are allowed in the luggage compartment of the express bus if space is available. DART also runs seasonal bus service between all the beach communities in the summer. All local buses have bike racks.
- Cape May-Lewes Ferry – Bicycles are free! Just pay the foot passenger fare ($18 Round Trip). Bike rentals are available at both terminals.