MILLVILLE — Local officials are developing a new transportation plan that they say will, if eventually implemented, make it easier and safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to travel around the city.
A major part of the plan involves improving east-west traffic flow, primarily on Main Street, by creating alternate traveling routes and easing congestion at some downtown intersections.
Another proposal would reconfigure part of the interchange of Routes 55 and 47 near Union Lake Crossing and other shopping centers. The change would allow motorists to either bypass or directly enter some of the shopping centers without making what local officials say is a dangerous merge onto Route 47.
Still another proposal involves improving pedestrian safety by upgrading crosswalks. The proposal would also upgrade existing and create new bicycle paths and sidewalks to provide easier access to the downtown business district.
Local officials are waiting on a final draft of the plan, which City Engineer John Knoop called a mix of new and old ideas. The one thing Knoop said he wants is for as much of the plan as possible to be implemented.
“We don’t want this thing to collect dust,” he said.
There is no timetable yet for the transportation plan’s eventual adoption. The proposals might be incorporated into the city’s master plan.
One of the more ambitious proposals would create a sort of downtown traffic circle at the intersection of Brandriff and Columbia avenues and Dock and Vine streets.
Knoop said the circle would create another access to the downtown business area along High Street by funneling traffic along an underutilized Brandriff Avenue onto Vine Street. Getting motorists to use that route could reduce traffic problems along Main Street, which is a section of Route 49, at places such as Buck, High and Second streets, he said. Second Street is a section of Route 47.
The city also wants Cumberland County government to take control of Broad Street between Seventh Street and Columbia Avenue, Knoop said. That would allow for better synchronization of traffic signals, creating a smoother traffic flow between the east side of the city and Columbia Avenue and eventually Sharp Street, he said.
The city would take control of more lightly traveled thoroughfares, such as Hance Bridge and Newcombtown roads, in exchange for the county taking full control of Broad Street, he said.
Work at the Routes 47 and 55 interchange would create a road that would run behind Union Lake Crossing, Knoop said. The road would give motorists easier access to Sharp Street, he said. Sharp Street is a major connector route between Main Street and Route 47.
City Planning Trainee Samantha Fisher said local officials want to link as many bicycle paths and sidewalks as possible to create easier access to the business district. Those improvements could also reduce the number of motor vehicles that crowd High Street and nearby streets, she said.
Plans include possible new bicycle routes along Brandriff Avenue and sections of Main, Sharp and High streets. Crosswalk upgrades would occur at certain intersections along Main and Second streets.
Fisher said one prime area for a crosswalk upgrade would be on Main Street at Riverside Drive and the entrance to Waltman Park. That area has a convenience store on one side of Main Street and an NJ Transit bus stop on the other side, making it a busy area for pedestrians to cross, she said.
The plan also includes suggested transportation upgrades for a development project proposed in 2006 for an 18-acre parcel of land along the Maurice River. The riverfront project is a block away from High Street and would have commercial and residential development, a new city library and a hotel.
The plans are stalled because of poor economics, city officials said.
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