A project seeking to reduce the lanes of Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is subject to a lawsuit filed by casino operators along with AtlantiCare. The legal claim was filed last year and recently gained traction with the city’s claims in support of the project labeled as “road diet.” The project proposes to reduce the lanes from four to two along Atlantic Avenue between New Hampshire and Boston Avenues.
Opponents of the road diet claimed that the city needs to secure approval from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), a non-profit organization that focuses on tourism in Atlantic City. Besides AtlantiCare, plaintiffs include Tropicana, Resorts, Bally’s, Hard Rock and Caesars. Considering that the CRDA oversees tourism in the city, the plaintiffs argued that they need to approve the proposed project as well.
Another major concern of the plaintiffs is that the road diet will result in traffic congestion. This, in turn, may obstruct emergency vehicles down Atlantic Avenue from reaching AtlantiCare’s emergency, putting lives in jeopardy.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that a comprehensive study about the impact on traffic of the project wasn’t conducted. Ultimately, the casinos along with AtlantiCare asked the court to enforce an injunction, temporarily stopping the road diet.
The City’s Defense Fights Back
The opposing side, the city, rejected the claims that the project needs the approval of the CRDA, as announced by the Press of Atlantic City. Last week, Richard Trenk, an attorney defending the city in the lawsuit, filed a brief, claiming that the plaintiffs misinterpreted the responsibilities of the CRDA outlining: “Thus, because no statute or regulation requires approval from CRDA, the City had no obligation to seek approval from CRDA.” What’s more, in its brief, the city’s defense argued that the project was accompanied by a traffic study that examined its impact on traffic.
Trenk also addressed the concerns related to the claim about delays of emergency vehicles caused by the reduction of the traffic lanes. He explained that experts in Atlantic City, in collaboration with the state and transportation agency examined the proposed project, confirming it wouldn’t impact the flow of emergency vehicles. “Thus, Plaintiff cannot demonstrate any genuine irreparable harm at stake,” explained the city’s brief.
The city’s defense asked the court to deny the requests listed within the lawsuit filed by AtlantiCare and the casino operators. The case is set to return to court on January 26, 2024, when each of the parties will present their arguments in front of Judge Michael Blee.