I can’t ever remember being critical of a New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Blee decision. He’s a great, fair-minded judge, who usually gets it right.

But, not this time. He has made a spectacularly bad decision.

If you’re not familiar with the issue, Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small has the idiotic idea of shrinking Atlantic Avenue from a 4 lane road, to a 2 lane road.

It’s called the “Road Diet.”

The Atlantic City casinos are against it. So is AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center … along with just about every business, resident and visitor affected by this crazy scheme.

Blee would not grant an injunction to stop this project, which is currently underway.

Attorney Keith Davis presented the case on behalf of the Atlantic City Casinos and AtlantiCare. He did a good job and made a compelling case for the injunction.

The “road diet” will dramatically affect how traffic moves on Atlantic Avenue.

I conducted my own field test in the very recent past and the results are alarming.

On Tuesday, January 2, 2024, I drove on Atlantic Avenue and filmed how drivers and bicycle riders were managing the new configuration in an area that was recently completed.

Traffic was light, but, it was a very revealing exercise, because everything that people have been saying in advance of this new road scheme is happening in real time.

Look at the photo above and below.

Harry Hurley photo.
Harry Hurley photo.

In this photo, you can clearly see a vehicle that is riding all the way to the right, which is supposed to be the dedicated bicycle lane.

To the left, you can plainly see a bicycle rider, who is riding down the center, between the two car lanes. This is exactly what many predicted would occur.

Small continues to brag about getting $ 24 million dollars for this project, which also will result in a newly resurfaced Atlantic Avenue and traffic light resynchronization.

He should fave found another way to pave the road and synchronize the traffic lights. There is no doubt, Atlantic Avenue that needs to be resurfaced.

The City of Atlantic City was required to file this plan with the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (NJCRDA) because part of Atlantic Avenue is located within what is known as “The Tourism District."

The City of Atlantic City did not consult with the NJCRDA and instead went rogue and began the road shrinkage project, without obtaining required approvals.

Davis presented this fact to Judge Blee, who refused to consider it because the CRDA was not present and is not officially a plaintiff in the case. They should have been.

Since when does an undisputed, documented fact such as this get ignored by a Judge?

The NJCRDA did submit a certification stating that this matter was within their jurisdiction.

Lance Landgraf from the NJCRDA was unable to attend the hearing before Judge Blee because he is out of the state because of the passing of his Father.

There is a document that confirms the requirement that the City of Atlantic City was required to obtain approval from the NJCRDA before being able to proceed with this scheme.

Atlantic City casino and other business leaders thought that their lobbying efforts had successfully stopped this bad project.

They were wrong. Small is committed to turning a big road that has worked well for decades ... into a small road that appears poised to create many logistical problems and potential safety issues.

Judge Blee could have been helpful … instead, he denied a reasonable injunction request and instead set a trial date so long into the future, that the project will be substantially complete before the trial even takes place.

Bad politics must be involved here, because Mike Blee is much better than this.

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