NJ Politics Digest: State Puts Brakes On Towns’ Efforts to Fight Commuter Traffic

Gurbir Grewal.
Gurbir Grewal. Christian Hetrick for Observer

Two towns that attempted to ban non-resident traffic from its streets have been told by the state attorney general to quit it.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said he’s told officials in Leonia and Weehawken they were wrong in their efforts to prevent drivers from using local streets to avoid traffic jams leading to the George Washington Bridge, according to a report by NJ101.5.

Grewal told an Assembly committee such efforts had to get approval from state transportation officials. The local officials have agreed to stop enforcing their restrictions, the attorney general said, according to the report. Out-of-town drivers in Leonia could have been hit with a $200 fine if they were caught using sidestreets during rush hours. The rules went into effect in January, and Weehawkin followed suit shortly afterward.

Officials in the two towns had said the restrictions were necessary because traffic apps like Google Maps and Waze were directing drivers to roads not intended for such heavy traffic.

But the plan was controversial from the start, with at least one lawsuit being filed and businesses complaining the ban was driving customers away.

The state got involved in March, Grewal said, adding that there are now efforts underway to “come up with an appropriate fix,” according to the report.

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