Responding to concerns raised by local residents at a recent town hall meeting, the 9th District Legislative Office of Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove as well as Galloway Mayor Don Purdy, and Atlantic County Freeholder At-Large Alex C. Marino met with New Jersey Turnpike Authority officials to discuss plans to construct a State Police barracks that will limit access to the Garden State Parkway service area off Jimmie Leeds Road in Galloway Township. A representative of the Governor’s Office also attended the meeting.
Issues discussed with Turnpike Authority representatives included concerns that continue to be raised by local residents about commuters’ access to the rest area from Jimmie Leeds Road, which is increasingly used as a park-n-ride for car pooling as gas prices are increasing at an alarming rate. Compounding this is what some residents perceive as a lack of interest from the state for public input from those who would be most affected by the change in traffic patterns.
Connors, Gove, Purdy and Marino conveyed that support exists for the construction project which will entail work at both the service area as well as at Exit 44 off of Pomona Road as a means to alleviate traffic on Jimmie Leeds Road. However, the Legislators, Mayor and Freeholder collectively emphasized that they would like to see better coordination with the Township to allow for a better flow of information to residents, which Authority representatives pledged they would do.
The Legislators, Mayor and Freeholder were advised that public hearings are scheduled to take place later on in the year, affording residents and public officials the opportunity to provide input and get additional information on the construction plans. Mayor Purdy requested that the Authority give greater consideration to adding parking spaces at the reconfigured service area that could be accessed from Jimmie Leeds Road for commuters continued use to carpool.
All four public officials expressed their gratitude, particularly to Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim who personally attended the meeting, for the strong interest shown by the Authority to address the concerns raised by Galloway Township in this matter.