You may be surprised to hear that the Jersey Shore is quickly becoming one of the premier spots in our region to ride your bike, either on a boardwalk or trail for fun, or on the street for transportation. On my recent trip to Avalon, New Jersey, I was somewhat shocked to find as many people in town riding bikes as driving cars to get around, and some pretty decent bicycle infrastructure to boot.
There are seven miles of bike lanes on Dune Drive, connecting Avalon to Stone Harbor. And on any given afternoon, families could be seen riding bicycles in packs between area restaurants, beaches and Wawa.
People in cars are shockingly accommodating to bicyclists and pedestrians, too; correctly yielding to people on foot and bicycle, whether or not there was a stop sign in their path, and always driving really slow.
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And while these factors have made the streets welcome to cyclists, Stone Harbor is actually about to go a bit further. The borough recently received Cape May County Open Space funds to add a painted buffer to its section of bike lanes and install new bike parking in the business district.
But Avalon and Stone Harbor are not outliers. From north to south, gigantic sections of New Jersey’s shore has, in more recent years, become reconstructed to better accommodate a growing bicycling population.
After Hurricane Sandy destroyed sections of the Jersey Shore in 2012, the state’s Department of Transportation fast-tracked 12 mies of Route 35 in Northern Ocean County, and built according to the state’s Complete Streets policy. The result: the longest-run stretch of bicycle facilities on a New Jersey urban highway along the Barnegat Peninsula, which will be completed in 2018. Residents took so well to the infrastructure that a new contraflow lane on East Avenue, in Bay Head, New Jersey, went in just this year.
In Atlantic City, a two-way buffered bike lane on Maryland Avenue now connects Brigantine Boulevard to Adriatic Avenue, a project in accordance with Atlantic City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
A gigantic, 11-mile route connecting Cape May County Zoo to the town of Cape May will be completed later this summer, consisting of a multi-use path with final connections to North Cape May and Cape May via a bike lane.
Egg Harbor, Wildwood, Toms River and Somers Point are all in the process of either constructing or completing bike trails that will take people to the beaches and connect people between towns.
Getting to the Shore with a bike is pretty easy, too. The Atlantic City Line, leaving from 30th Street Staton, allows bicycles on train cars at all times. And New Jersey Transit motor coach buses can accommodate up to three bikes, if space is available, too. All this information about getting your bike to the Shore is available on the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s bike maps page.
I promise the state of New Jersey has not commissioned me to write this bicycling column. I really am that impressed with the Garden State’s commitment to bicycling. And while I don’t think I have to convince Philadelphians to head down the Shore with their remaining summer, if you do plan on doing so, bring your bicycle.