From beaches, to concert venues, parks, orchards, racetracks and more, Monmouth County has a variety of destinations and events that attract residents and tourists. But traffic congestion generated by trips to these locations can detract from the experience for everyone while also impacting the environment and the non-tourism sectors of local economies.
Monmouth County, in partnership with the NJTPA, conducted a year-long study, Monmouth Within Reach, to develop strategies to address congestion around key tourism locations. The study was just the first step in addressing congestion. The County will continue to work with municipalities and venues to implement the recommendations.
Five sites, representative of different location types, were selected for analysis. Strategies developed for each are intended to be applicable to similar sites throughout the county. The five locations/sectors are:
Asbury Park – This Jersey Shore community has a thriving downtown, beach, live concert destinations and hosts numerous events, including festivals, parades and fireworks.
Red Bank — The Borough’s downtown is one of the most popular in Monmouth County and features many different destinations, including theaters, nightlife, runs, festivals and fireworks.
Agritourism — This is one of the fastest growing tourism sectors in the county. Several major farms attract many visitors and more are expected to open in the future. Two popular tourist destinations, Holland Ridge Farms in Upper Freehold and Eastmont Orchards in Colts Neck, were selected for analysis.
Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreational Area/Sea Bright — Sandy Hook is one of the most visited national parks in the country. Nearby Sea Bright, which experiences congestion when Sandy Hook reaches capacity, features three miles of beachfront and has several restaurants that attract visitors.
The County Fair at East Freehold Showgrounds — The Monmouth County Fair, typically held in July, is the largest event and congestion-generator at the East Freehold Showgrounds.
The strategies suggested varied by site, but some examples include using variable message signs to provide coordinated visitor information, event information and advanced parking information; improving wayfinding; using apps to get information out to the public; encouraging carpooling, transit use, scooter or bike rentals; providing shuttle service; and using counter flow operations, which allow for the direction of some travel lanes to be changed to accommodate traffic increases in one direction.
Specific strategies for the selected locations are available in the final report.
This study was completed through the NJTPA’s Subregional Studies Program, which provides two-year grants on a competitive annual basis to the 13 counties and two cities — known as subregions — represented on the NJTPA Board.
The program aims to help subregions develop recommendations for transportation improvements consistent with the NJTPA’s Long Range Transportation Plan.