Pier Village road closure a safety issue

By Neil Schulman

Long Branch – City officials say the reason that one of the roads by the Wave Resort in Pier Village is closed isn’t a construction problem; it’s a safety issue.

At the April 28 City Council meeting, city resident Susan Ring wanted to know when part of Morris Avenue by the Wave Resort would be unblocked, saying it’s been this way for a long time. “It’s a public road and it’s blocked off,” she said.

Ring also was worried about planters that had been put on a nearby road by the boardwalk, making it tricky for pedestrians. She said that when she walks her dogs, she needs to use the roadways since the boardwalk is closed to dogs.

But City Administrator George Jackson said that the road closure isn’t a decision by the hotel. They’d like to see the road open. But police don’t think this is a good idea, since the road is used to access the boardwalk.

“That roadway is, quite frankly in our opinion, a pedestrian nightmare,” Jackson said. “To allow vehicles to travel through … would be an absolute nightmare.”

Jackson said they keep the southbound road closed because of concerns for safety. The northbound road is still open to traffic, though Jackson said he is worried if it will become dangerous too when the new batch of shops planned for the next part of Pier Village open.

Ring wanted to know why they had been allowed to build the road “knowing it was a safety issue,” City officials said that this was allowed by the previous administration, when they were approving plans for Pier Village Phase III.

“Some of use were on council at the time and you actually voiced it exactly,” said mayor John Pallone. Some people thought that the plans looked good and elegant on paper, but when constructed it was clear there were issues.

As for the planters, that’s part of the city’s initiative this summer to permit more outdoor dining. Restaurants around the city are being given extra outdoor dining space this summer. The pandemic and closures have been an issue for all restaurants, and the Wave offers dining options.

“The Wave, just like other restaurants… is trying to survive,” Jackson said.