Parking, street access eyed in N.J. beach access suggestions

Parking can be a premium near New Jersey's beaches. Belmar

Parking can be a premium near New Jersey's beaches. Belmar

Providing free or affordable parking within walking distance of the shoreline is a key goal of a group studying ways to improve access to New Jersey’s beaches and waterways.

A task force appointed by a state Senate committee filed its recommendations late Tuesday night.They include ensuring fishing access during off hours, and increasing the public’s ability to get to the water from street ends.

The panel, split between environmental and business interests, disagreed on whether businesses exempted from providing access at their sites for safety or security reasons should have to pay to provide public access nearby.

Sen. Bob Smith, D-Middlesex, said a new beach access bill should be written by the fall.

A court struck down the old rules last December.

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