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Vineland Roadway Redesign Sparks Debate

You wouldn’t think it by looking at it, but Chestnut Ave in Vineland, New Jersey can be a trying ride for drivers. The roadway has been enough of a problem for residents that the city’s politicians have proposed a plethora of changes to old Route 47, in an effort to make the 2.3 mile stretch of road a bit safer.

The city has expressed interest in converting the area between Main Road and Delsea drive from four lanes to two. They have also proposed a center turning lanes, bicycle lanes, traffic signal upgrades, and a roundabout. A speed limit change could also be in the mix, according to Jennifer Marandino of the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization. The speed limit is currently 40mph.

“I am sure they are going faster than that, “stated Marandino.

With approximately 14,000 to 16,000 vehicles traversing the roadway every day, something has to be done to regulate motorists. Besides the speed limit, the roundabout and synchronized traffic signals should increase driver safety. Synchronized traffic signals will reduce the potential for drivers to speed, while the small roundabout will regulate traffic by yield signs.

While many support the proposed redesign, not all of Vineland’s residents are convinced. Craig Platania, one of those residents, believes that the changes to Chestnut Avenue are ridiculous. In an article for The Daily Journal, Platania rails against the redesign.

“Do the people proposing this live or drive in Vineland? “ states Platania, “Have you driven Delsea Drive from Milville to Landis Avenue and witnessed the drivers who have no clue how to use a center turning lane, or any other roadway in Vineland, which has the same traffic pattern?”

He has a point. With tens of thousands of drivers navigating the roadway every day, it may not be the best idea to condense traffic into two lanes. All of the proposed changes could make Chestnut Avenue even less safe, but that decision will be left up to the Federal Highway Administration.

Vineland’s City Council will vote to apply for money from the Administration next Tuesday. Current predictions estimate that the project will cost approximately $500,000. A relatively small amount, but enough to provide employment for at least a few contractors.