A new plan to do something to improve Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City - a repaving project set for the fall - is welcome news. It's also long overdue.
The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority plans to spend $3 million to $4 million to mill, pave and try to level out the bumps and holes in the neglected road - the main thoroughfare for tourist traffic in the city.
CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri said the authority, which controls the Tourism District, and the city, which owns Pacific Avenue, had been trying to secure state transportation funds for the project, but have decided that would take too long. CRDA officials had also talked about getting the job done before the summer, but that's no longer practical. And working on the street during the busy summer season wouldn't make sense.
We're glad the CRDA is willing to put up the money for this project. But, like many other obvious improvements the city needs, this one leaves us wondering what took so long.
After all, knowing Pacific Avenue will be repaved in six months is little consolation if you've just lost part of your exhaust system to one of the road's many potholes. And how many more visitors will get a bad impression of Atlantic City as they drive up and down Pacific in the next six months?
Also, the planned October start means that the thousands of visitors expected for the Miss America Pageant in September will experience Pacific Avenue in its current condition - more battleground than world's playground.
This repaving should have been done years ago. From the time the idea of the Tourism District was announced, it was clear that fixing Pacific Avenue - including upgraded landscaping and lighting - should be a priority. The condition of this main thoroughfare is embarrassing to anyone who cares about the resort.
But at least now there are concrete plans to get the work done on Pacific.
Some of the delay may be due to the fact that the relationship between the CRDA and the city has been less than ideal. The frustration over the city code enforcement office's slowness in addressing decrepit properties in the Tourism District is a case in point. And while the Pacific Avenue repaving will be funded and managed by the CRDA, it will require the cooperation of city officials.
Here's hoping this simple repaving project, accomplished in most cities with few problems and little controversy, goes smoothly.