Toms River residents, business owners cautiously optimistic on Route 9 plans
Toms River -- Traffic congestion continues to be one of the main headaches of both residents and business representatives who call Route 9 their passage way. The North Jersey Transportation Authority unveiled their proposals Tuesday with reaction from locals who drive on it cautiously optimistic about the future of these plans.
Some of the proposals unveiled for the Toms River portion of Route 9 may take longer than others, in fact years, according to NJTPA's Dave Behrend, adding that the study focuses on long-term growth.
"We know Route 9 is one of the highest priorities in Ocean County, it's a high priority in the region," said Behrend. "One of the things about the recommendations for improvements that are coming out of this study is that they're relatively low-cost, compared to, say, a major...widening of the highway."
He adds the bigger the project, the longer it may take. So, things like adding traffic lights, turn lanes or stop signs can be knocked off more quickly than other ideas can.
However there lies a concern among the many residents, business owners and pedestrians who use this Route 9 corridor every day. Some aren't confident that the upgrades will be done.
"They got a lot of pretty pictures, let's see them do something with the pictures," said longtime Toms River resident Doug. "So far I haven't seen anything really happening."
"Personally I don't think they'll accomplish anything, I'll be honest" said Robert of Toms River. "They didn't accomplish anything a couple years ago when they had a meeting."
Not all of the outlook Tuesday was negative. Some say they're cautiously optimistic that things will shape up and Route 9 will be easier to travel.
One Toms River woman is hopeful that improvements will not only be made to the road but for pedestrian traffic as well, all of which is addressed in the NJTPA's proposals you can view here.
"We do have pedestrians, that do walk along there, along that very congested area as well," said the woman. "So I guess maybe sidewalks would help some, but it's just that there's too much traffic for too little road."
A gas station employee who works along Route 9 has one suggestion he believes could help solve the traffic headaches.
"I think if we have four lanes, like before the Lakewood County line they have four lanes going to Freehold," said the gas station employee. "So I think if they have four lanes, I think it will be better."
Behrend exudes confidence that the goals can be met.
"These proposed recommendations, we believe, will improve mobility in the corridor," said Behrend. "We know that there's a lot of traffic. There's going to be more traffic coming, as there is more growth. These improvements are geared towards making the corridor work a little more efficiently."
They've heard your suggestions and concerns for safety or improvements along the Route 9 stretch, and Behrend encourages you to email them more suggestions at Route9Study@NJTPA.org.
The recommendations are a draft version, to be finalized later this year. NJTPA will consult with the New Jersey Department of Transportation regarding feasibility and timetables.