Judge Approves Atlantic City’s Main Road Narrowing Despite Casino Opposition

In a significant development for Atlantic City, Superior Court Judge Michael Blee has authorized the continuation of a contentious project to transform the city’s main thoroughfare, Atlantic Avenue, from a four-lane to a two-lane road.

This decision comes despite strong opposition from prominent casinos and a local hospital concerned about potential traffic congestion and public safety issues.

The project, aimed at enhancing pedestrian safety, began during the city’s off-peak season last month. Judge Blee, addressing the objections raised, noted that no harm has occurred due to the changes so far.

He emphasized that if the court eventually rules against the current plan, Atlantic Avenue can be easily restored to its original four-lane configuration.

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small highlighted the financial aspect of the project, stating that it is being funded by $24 million in federal and state grants. They are earmarked specifically for pedestrian safety improvements.

This funding covers new road and sidewalk paving, street lights, and synchronized traffic signals, all without burdening Atlantic City taxpayers.

Representatives of five casinos and AtlantiCare hospital, led by attorney Keith Davis, contested the city’s legal right to modify traffic patterns on Atlantic Avenue. The road falls within the city’s Tourism District.

atlantic city atlantic avenue narrowing

Atlantic City Atlantic Avenue Narrowing Despite Casino Opposition

Control over this area was transferred to the state-run Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) under a 2011 law. However, Judge Blee noted that the CRDA was not a participant in the lawsuit and did not appear in court.

Despite the current project, Atlantic Avenue, even with its original four lanes, often experiences heavy traffic. It is even worse during major events in the city.

Mark Giannantonio, president of the Casino Association of New Jersey and of Resorts casino, expressed disappointment with the ruling. He emphasized the potential adverse impacts on public health, safety, and the general welfare of the city.

Looking ahead, the second phase of the road-narrowing project is scheduled to start in September. The likelihood of its completion is well before a trial set for February 2025.

This ongoing development underscores the balance Atlantic City is attempting to strike between modern urban planning and the concerns of its key stakeholders in the tourism and healthcare sectors.

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With a potent blend of lived experience and technical expertise, Stephen Naumov stands as a distinctive voice in Mr. Sweepstakes's content team. Born in the historic city of Sofia, Bulgaria, Stephen studied economics at New Bulgarian University and also enriched his expertise by becoming a software engineer at the renowned Telerik Academy.

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