Shore Lawmaker, Mayors Push Solar Signals To Remedy Outage Traffic Woes
Of all the darkness that swept over the Jersey shore while Sandy was barreling through, perhaps none of it was as problematic as those traffic signals that stopped working. Assemblywoman Amy Handlin(R-13) and seven Monmouth County mayors see a solution in solar signals, and they're urging FEMA for funding.
Handlin's the main signatory on a message to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but also signing on the bottom line are Mayors Anthony Fiore of Middletown, Jon Hornik of Marlboro, Patrick Impreveduto of Holmdel, Michael Mahon of Oceanport, Frank Nolan of Highlands, Paul Smith of Union Beach and David Tinker of Hazlet.
“This is an investment in public safety,” said Handlin in a prepared statement. "Solar-powered traffic lights would continue to operate in outages to keep traffic moving and allow police officers to respond to people who need help, instead of directing traffic for days and days."
Many intersections regionwide were unmanned, with drivers being advised to treat all of them as four-way stops. So-called "Jersey Barriers," those ubiquitous orange-and-white barrel-shaped markers, funneled cars at some high-speed junctions to try and reduce the risk of crashes.
The cost, says Handlin, is not only in time spent negotiating guesswork traffic patterns, but also in payouts to police and others involved in trying to channel cars safely, in some instances for weeks.
The idea isn't without precedent. Handlin cites the launching of New Jersey's first solar signal in Mantua Township, Gloucester County, in May 2011.
Enter this link for a look at the joint letter: Handlin letter to FEMA