By Donald Wittkowski
Sea Isle City motorists should be on the lookout for some new one-way streets and handicapped parking spots starting this winter.
City Council approved the changes by a 4-0 vote Tuesday after listening to a brief overview of the traffic regulations by Solicitor Paul Baldini.
According to Baldini, the changes are more of a “housekeeping” type than a major overhaul of the traffic and parking rules. The changes were made at the recommendation of the police department.
Parking shortages and traffic flow are two major issues during the summer, when Sea Isle swells into a bustling vacation resort crowded with tens of thousands of tourists. City officials are looking for ways to improve traffic flow on narrow and congested streets during the peak summer vacation season.
Most significantly, three cross streets that currently handle traffic in both directions will become one-way routes. They include 40th Street between Central and Cini avenues, 51st Street between Central and Landis avenues and 52nd Street between Central and Landis avenues.
Baldini explained that people park on both sides of those streets, particularly during the summer, making them too narrow for traffic to get by in both directions.
The changes approved by Council also include adding new handicapped parking spots throughout town and eliminating some older ones that are no longer used.
In some cases, some of the older handicapped parking spaces were placed in front of or near homes whose owners were elderly or disabled. Over time, those spots were no longer used because the homeowners had either died or moved out, Baldini noted.
“So, the spots that are no longer usable, we will eliminate,” he said in an interview after the Council meeting.
Overall, the number of new handicapped parking spots will be about the same as the old spaces that are being eliminated.
The traffic regulations have also been tweaked by Council to add new 15-minute parking zones on parts of Landis Avenue and Park Road.
The new one-way streets and parking changes are contained in a traffic ordinance given Council’s final approval Tuesday. By law, the changes can take effect 20 days after the ordinance is passed. Baldini, however, said the city will first erect signs to help motorists get used to the changes before they are enforced.