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Voice of the People, March 31, 2021

Voice of the People, March 31, 2021

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$1.9T aid worth rushing

People are hurting. Even before the pandemic, the 2nd Congressional District had four of the 10 poorest cities in New Jersey. The pandemic hit the poorest people hardest. This district also includes a lot of businesses in the hospitality industry. They were ordered to close. Employees and business owners alike are in trouble and it’s not their fault.

Charitable organizations and local communities have stepped up. It’s time for the government to step up. It should be the government’s highest priority right now. None of us caused the pandemic but all of us are affected by it.

The American Rescue Plan provides funding for food stamps, schools, child care, elder care, testing, treatment, prevention and vaccination. It also provides funding for mental health services, rental and homeowner assistance, small business assistance including specific programs for restaurants and live venues, programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans and other targeted populations. Also included are much needed payments to state, local, tribal and territorial governments and funding for international and humanitarian relief.

The bill has a hefty price tag. But think about some of the foolish things on which the government spends tax dollars: $930 million to print a bunch of documents that nobody reads anyway, $175 million to maintain hundreds of government buildings that have been vacant for years, $862,000 to store unused government furniture.

The 2nd Congressional District is hurting. Some politicians said a bill this large should not have been rushed. Those who can’t feed their children or have lost their home can’t wait around for politicians to talk about it.

Carolyn Rush

Sea Isle City

One-way Atlantic, Pacific

Atlantic City plans to spend $8 million to reduce Atlantic Avenue to two lanes, add two bike lanes, modify traffic lights and create a median. What were the architects thinking? Atlantic City traffic dramatically increases for conventions and special events clogging all four lanes, so two lanes on Atlantic Avenue for traffic makes this proposal ill-advised.

What happened to the A.C. proposal that both Pacific Avenue and Atlantic Avenue should be one-way? Now is the time to create both one-way avenues to improve pedestrian safety, traffic flow, add bike lanes and eliminate all left turn lanes and signals. Jitneys will travel on Atlantic and Pacific.

Chelsea and Ventnor have bike lanes on Atlantic Avenue barely utilized because their Boardwalk is clogged by riders on illegal Boardwalk transportation modes: racing bikes, electric-powered scooters, e-skateboards, and e-bikes that look and sound like motorcycles. Boardwalk pedestrians walk in fear of these unlicensed, uninsured, speeding electric-powered transports zooming past. Without aggressive policing of the illegal riders on the Boardwalk, $8 million will be wasted. Riders seem to prefer the Boardwalk.

Proposal: Atlantic Avenue is changed to one-way going toward Albany Avenue with one bike lane and three traffic lanes. Remove all left turn lanes and signals. Angled parking spaces can increase parking, so paint these spaces on the side without a bike lane. Leave parallel parking alone on the bike lane side of Atlantic. Pacific Avenue is painted for a bike lane and three traffic lanes that comfortably fit a jitney.

Optional: Atlantic and Pacific intersections can sense when vehicles or pedestrians are waiting and then activate their traffic light. Empty cross streets have red traffic lights allowing main avenue traffic to flow uninterrupted. Another traffic light option is to force selected traffic lights to change to red when excess speed is detected, stopping speeders. Also, left turn on red could be allowed on one-way avenues.

Arthur Lampert

Atlantic City

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