We have been in touch with one of the world’s most prolific casino hotel architects.

Paul Steelman cut his teeth in the Atlantic City, New Jersey casino industry more than 40 years ago, on the Day 1 design, construction and development team of the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino.

From there, Steelman’s company … Steelman Partners has taken him all over the world, including:

Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Macau, Zhuhai, Ho Chi Minh City, Amsterdam and Phnom Penh.

Steelman was born and raised in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area.

Steelman loves the area and does not weigh into Atlantic City matters often or lightly.

Steelman is not holding back in his pointed comments about shrinking Atlantic Avenue from 4 lanes, down to 2 lanes.

In a wide-ranging discussion, here is what Steelman has to say about this so-called “road diet” scheme.

It's perplexing to think that, after so much time and effort invested in understanding and accommodating the traffic needs of Atlantic City, there are now suggestions to alter the main artery connecting the city with its surrounding areas. This decision needs to be revised to include the wealth of knowledge gained from years of analysis and planning, potentially jeopardizing the economic interests of the town and the livelihoods of those employed within its various industries, particularly the casinos. What does a Judge know about Traffic Analysis? 75% of all decisions to visit a casino rely on access and parking, said Steelman.


New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Blee’s decision to allow this unpopular plan to continue is surprising … as the City of Atlantic City did not seek the required approvals … which was a requirement to begin this project.

The City of Atlantic City was required to file a plan and obtain approval from the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (NJCRDA) … because part of Atlantic Avenue is located within what is known as "The Tourism District."

Blee knows this and allowed the project to continue regardless.

Here’s what the new configured road looks like. It’s a hot mess.

Harry Hurley photo.
Harry Hurley photo.

I conducted my own field test in the very recent past and the results are alarming.

On Tuesday, January 2, 2024, I drove on Atlantic Avenue and filmed how drivers and bicycle riders

were managing the new configuration in an area that was recently completed.

Traffic was light, but, it was a very revealing exercise, because everything that people have been saying in advance of this new road scheme is happening in real time.

In this photo, you can clearly see a vehicle that is riding all the way to the right, which is supposed to be the dedicated bicycle lane.

To the left, you can plainly see a bicycle rider, who is riding down the center, between the two car lanes.

This is exactly what many predicted would occur.

Atlantic City Mayor Small continues to brag about getting $ 24 million dollars for this project, which also will result in a newly resurfaced Atlantic Avenue and traffic light resynchronization.

He should fave found another way to pave the road and synchronize the traffic lights. There is no doubt, Atlantic Avenue that needs to be resurfaced.

Steelman additionally shared that:

There are many broader implications of such a decision. The road diet could deal another blow to the Boardwalk, Atlantic City's iconic landmark, and further exacerbate the city's challenges. The ongoing debate over basic amenities like a grocery store underscores the struggles Atlantic City continues to stifle in its efforts to progress and thrive. It's disheartening to witness the potential regression of a city with so much promise and potential. I oppose this ill-conceived proposal and advocate for preserving and advancing Atlantic City's interests, said Steelman.


Steelman joins a growing list of highly credible people who have stated their objection to shrinking Atlantic Avenue in this manner.

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Gallery Credit: Harry Hurley

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