BELMAR - One day after the town of Belmar had to be shut down due to overcrowding, borough officials are now making plans to keep it from happening again.
On Sunday, Mayor Matt Doherty temporarily barred nonresidents from entering the community via a major highway after the town reached capacity amid the 29th annual Seafood Festival. Now Mayor Doherty and other borough officials say they will spend the next year fine-tuning traffic control for the next Seafood Festival.
"We wish more [visitors] had taken the train," the mayor says. "Most drove, like most people do, and we simply could not have had more cars on the streets in our small town."
Mayor Doherty says next year there will be a bigger push to get people to use mass transit. There is a train station only a few blocks away from the beach. Traffic patterns will also be analyzed to see which routes worked and which ones did not.
There has been some suggestion of having festival employees and workers at local businesses park in neighboring towns and be shuttled over. Seaside Heights had a similar procedure at its music festival held earlier this month.
Borough officials tell News 12 New Jersey this was the largest crowd Belmar has ever seen. The last time Belmar was shut down was in 1992 for an MTV concert.