WILDWOOD – With its wide free beach, world-famous Boardwalk, hundreds of hotels, motels, restaurants, amusements and other hospitality venues, the City of Wildwood is one of the premier seaside resort towns on the East Coast. During the summer months the population swells from a year-round average of approximately 5,000 people to well over 200,000, with most of those flocking to the Boardwalk and downtown area. Add in an additional 25,000 day trippers and it becomes clear the City of Wildwood faces a number of significant transportation challenges involving the safe and efficient circulation of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles.
Through the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), Wildwood officials hope to obtain an NJDOT Bikeways Grant that may make almost $500,000 available to construct Phase I of an ambitious project that will bring the beach bike path to fruition. Unlike many other grants, this 100 percent grant does not require the city to provide matching funds.
“While the city is asking for $492,687.50, the amount of monies received from the DOT will define the scope of the work,” said Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano.
“The proposed Beach Bike Path is to be constructed in two phases,” explained Wildwood Municipal Engineer Marc DeBlasio. “Phase I of the Bike Path will extend north from the new $800,000 Cresse Avenue Bike Ramp, along the beach and around the Wildwood Convention Center.” According to DeBlasio, the three-quarter mile first phase of the Bike Path will terminate at Baker Avenue in a loop that allows for easy return trips. Ultimately, as part of the second phase of the project, the path is planned for an extension to Schellenger Avenue. The full project will access amusement piers in the northern part of the City; the commercial corridor at Pacific Avenue via Schellenger Avenue; and a range of other venues.
DeBlasio said funding for the first phase is being sought from NJDOT. The initial phase calls for the proposed path to be 14 feet wide and to include access points to the Boardwalk and envisions the installation of temporary bike racks. It will be compromised of a 4” concrete surface poured on a 6” dense graded aggregate base course. There will also be four linkages to the Bike Path from various points en route to Baker Avenue. They include the new Cresse Avenue Bike Ramp and access points at Leaming Avenue, Rio Grande Avenue and Taylor Avenue. The total cost for the Phase I project is estimated at $492,687.50, inclusive of engineering and inspection costs.
“This application is just another step in realizing the beach’s potential,” said Mayor Troiano. “It brings a new and exciting idea to the city, its residents and its visitors.”