A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dangerous Crossroads

I've been thinking lately about the most dangerous places to be driving or walking in Aberdeen Township. Here are my choices.
  • Atlantic at the train station: There are just so many ways for pedestrians to either get struck by a car or give a driver a heart attack at or near the corner of Atlantic and Harrel near the Aberdeen train station. [Google Maps says that Aberdeen Road becomes Railroad Plaza after you cross Main Street, and then becomes Harrel Street between Johnson Street and Atlantic. I'm personally unacquainted with the name Harrel St.] The worst time of day to pass through the area on Atlantic is during the evening rush just after a train has entered. There is always a vehicular mad dash for the parking lot's two-lane exit onto Atlantic, first a few speeding cars and then more and more until the exit gets gummed up with a huge crowd of cars jockeying for position and honking at each other. They struggle to make lefts or go straight across Atlantic, while those making a right have to content with the steady stream of train passengers crossing the road and tracks at the same time until they empty the train. The morning rush involves single passengers with coffee, umbrellas, and briefcases. They often aren't looking where they are going or think they are immune to the rules of the road. Think carefully before driving through this area at rush hour. And keep an eye on the traffic if you are on foot at the train station.
  • Crossing Route 35 at Cliffwood Avenue can be a nightmare in a car or on foot. The crossing guards have a harrowing job keeping the school kids safe. I heard there was a major intersection project in the works that would include the land where Burlew's Pizzeria stood and maybe the vacant lot across the highway across from the A&P lot, but it has been several years and nothing is happening. Maybe the other properties involved haven't cleared yet? If someone knows the status of that project, or if there even is such a project, let us know.
  • Turning left from the Route 34 common left turn lane can be dangerous. As you approach on Route 34 South intending to pull into the Strathmore Lanes parking lot, a driver on Route 34 North can suddenly turn on his left turn signal and head into the lane in front of you to make a left onto Mill Road. This can raise your blood pressure because traffic is using moving at a fast clip. I always watch oncoming traffic for hints of their intentions, but often such decisions are last minute, so be careful.
  • I've walked home from the train station to Cliffwood Beach on more occasions than I care to ponder. It is about three miles and only perilous for a pedestrian if you don't choose a good route. If you walk Main Street towards Keyport, there is no safe way to walk along Route 35 North to Cliffwood Beach. I typically cross over Route 35 on the bridge and, just across the street from Town & Country Inn, I make my way down through the fence to Washington Street and then to Amboy Avenue. The other option from the train station to Cliffwood Beach is Aberdeen Road to Matawan Avenue to Cliffwood Avenue. Perspectives on that walk along Aberdeen Road can range from "Wow! Who would have thought Nature's wonderland was in my own backyard!" to "OMG! I'm in a dark swamp and no one's around to hear me scream!" Cars race through this desolate area, giving new meaning to the expression passers-by. You might meet the occasional crabber on the bridge. BTW, it can seem really awkward if there are two of you walking six feet apart on Aberdeen Road. Maybe these strangers should conduct introductions and chat along the lonely walk? Nah! This is Jersey.
Maybe you know of other dangerous spots in town for cars and walking? Maybe you ride a bike, push a stroller, or pull a grocery cart? Maybe you think an intersection needs a traffic light? Comments welcome.

The picture of Town & Country at night was found on Christian Montone's blog. He has quite a few pictures from Asbury Park and other places in NJ, as well as shots from Greenwich Village and Staten Island, NY.


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