Opinion: How To Fix Lakewood | Aaron Neuman

I recently perused through the comments on a recent TLS post that asked Lakewood residents what they believe Township officials should focus on in 2020 in order to make Lakewood a better place to live. Several suggestions were made, but almost all of the comments boiled down to one theme: Stop. The. Building. I am in complete agreement with this sentiment and here is why.

There are many major issues that Lakewood residents need to contend with. Let me list just some of them: Route 9, Central Ave., Cross, Clifton, Pine, James, Williams, Prospect, County Line, Oak, and the entire downtown. You can complain about a lot of other stuff, but the bottom line is that the #1 issue in Lakewood is traffic.

Lakewood Township was not created to be a city. It was meant to be a quiet, secluded town with a picturesque lake and plenty of open green spaces for its residents to enjoy. But the town became popular and everything changed. Thousands of homes were built en masse and tens of thousands of new residents moved in, completely overwhelming the roadways and the township’s ability to keep services running smoothly. Along with the ever-increasing number of residents came higher taxes because the new developments are a net negative for the revenue Lakewood is bringing in, forcing officials to raise taxes to cover the deficits.

So the bottom line is quite simply that our town is bursting at its seams. There’s simply no more room. There might be vacant land that can be developed, and more homes can be turned into two-family residences so that more people can be stuffed in. But what will that do to our already unbearable streets? We all know the answer; it’ll make it more feasible to walk from Chestnut to Clifton than to drive.

And while we complain about the State not doing much to widen the bottleneck that is Route 9, we are inviting in hundreds of new families into Lakewood every year, clogging the 9 and other roads even further, basically telling the State that we’re not willing to do our part to resolve the traffic problem.

What we need is a moratorium on new construction. No more developments and no more rezoning to allow houses to be cramped up against each other. If we are going to be serious about fixing this town, it’s the most logical place to start.

Lakewood is overdeveloped and continues to invite in more and more people that it cannot physically hold. We must either stop these habits or simply tear it all down and start over. The former is the only practical choice. Let’s start somewhere.

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  1. We’ve heard this a million times before.
    In the end the same thing will happen.
    1. You’ll vote for a politician even though they support the building.
    2. The developers will keep developing with no consequences.
    3. The community and leaders will do nothing to stop it.
    4. You’ll write another letter complaining about over building.
    Repeat over and over.

  2. If the yeshiva would build a second campus on the south side of Lakewood, and if it would be populated with the same caliber of great talmidei chachomim that the other batei midrashim have, that would eliminate the need for so many cars on the road during the Lakewood rush hours.

  3. our elected officials , would approve the developments claiming we need places for our children to live, yet majority of new developments are going to family’s from Brooklyn and Williamsburg, in fact the advertisements aren’t even in English, they are in Yiddish! its a Shanda!

  4. Couldn’t agree with this more.
    I was wondering, I see the videos of the board members being sworn in.
    Do they actually have education in planning and development?

  5. it can take me sometimes close to a hour to get to yeshiva from the chestnut area, do the rosh yeshivas know about this destruction of our quality of life and infrastructure?? perhaps we need to get them involved and things can finally be done in the interests of the tzibur and not special interest!

  6. is it possible the board members live on the north side of Lakewood, and dont really know whats happening on the south side? im trying to be melamed zchus!? how else can they keep rubber stamping developments?? a true Shanda indeed

  7. Firstly, BMG is opening another campus at the old Woodlake Country Club, so that should alleviate alot of th traffic issue. Secondly, to say Stop.The. Building. after you’re comfortably ensconsed in your Lakewood house is self-centered and selfish. You like living here, now others wanna join you.
    Let’s welcome them.

    • Why don’t you invite a few hundred refugees into your home to live with you? To say no one else can move into your home after you’re comfortably ensconsed in your beautiful house is self-centered and selfish. You like living in your house, now others wanna join you.
      Why don’t you welcome them?

      (Oh right, is it because you have no more room for more people to move into your house? I thought so. There is also no more room in Lakewood for more houses. Just look at the roads. The only people who want more building in lakewood are the builders and developers. Yup, selfish and self-centered.)

  8. What ever happened to expanding the Lakewood shuttle program? Right now all we have is busses for kollel guys to get from Westgate to BMG, and the joblink for workers to get from main street to the industrial places.

  9. Yes. Let’s stop all construction in Lakewood. Let anyone who wants to buy a house move to Jackson and Toms River, but use our roadways to use our schools and stores. Will that solve all our traffic problems??? We need planners to come in and revamp the entire infrastructure of the town, from the ground up. Look at Yerushalayim, the population doubled in the past 20 years and the traffic got better!!

  10. Look how far we have come. Nebach. Too many Jews. Traffic. Oy vey. Our grandparents were slaughtered and you are complaining like a spoiled American. Shame on you

  11. Very convenient publishing this article after all the available land has been either developed, or rezoned in the last master plan to allow high density.

    Would have been nice if you published this 4 or even 2 years ago when it could have helped

  12. Widening streets creates more traffic and makes it more difficult for pedestrians to cross. The urban nature of modern jewry is the issue here. Yidden live in cities because of parnossah and density of the overall community. Suburbs traditionally were are a modern concept for the housing of various Christian ethnics who worked in factories housed nearby. Not people concerned about having large families to replace lost ones or adherent to foreign religious and daily life practices which calls for seperate stores and cultural centers with no way of ever including the dominant culture. Since industrialization yidden having been living in cities, not shtetl like areas mostly inhabited and built by goyim and their culture. Yekkish embarassment of chassidim and Ehrliche yidden on the lower east side permanently changed that, for the worse it seems. The transformation of Brooklyn from a majority Christian boro to a section-8 safe haven has destroyed it beyond recognition and has created a cultural void being filled by anti-jewish violence. The only way to go forward is to live like the amish; FULLY self-reliant and simple lifestyles based on land ownership and community cohesion AWAY from major cities and large groups of “outsiders”.

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