Now, I'm not sure this is even legal, but leave it to New Jersey to find a way to scam more money from it's fellow statesmen. The sad part is I used to drive through this town all the time when I lived in Teaneck. Curious yet?
So, beginning next week, driving through Leonia, New Jersey could cost up to $200 as the jurisdiction tries to prohibit drivers from using apps like Waze and Google Maps to help drivers get around traffic. Um, hello! That's what GPS systems do. They try to get you around traffic.
For you non-NJ people, Leonia, a small suburb, sits just west of New York City and near the entrance to the George Washington Bridge leading into Manhattan and the Bronx. Because of the effect of GPS apps rerouting commuters through the town, it adopted an ordinance in November that effectively bans non-residents from driving through the town. How can you do that? What if I had family in that town and I used to live there, but changed my driver's license address because I live somewhere else now. So, now this prevents me from visiting my family? Wait! This might be brilliant!
The prohibition of the town's roads is from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays. In order to access the roads, the driver must prove that they are residents of the street, needing access to their home or can demonstrate or document a need to access a residence on the street or parts of streets as described. According to NJ.com, this law has drawn anger from neighboring town and drivers. It also attracted questions to its legality.
Jeanne LoCicero, deputy legal director of the ACLU-NJ (American Civil Liberties Union) says, "This plan gives enormous power to police officers. People who are traveling safely down the street should not be subject to law enforcement. It's intrusive. It's hard to imagine that Leonia could enforce this in a way that didn't discriminate."
Town leaders said something has to be done to calm traffic in the area. Police Chief Thomas Rowe said, "We have a lot of vehicles that leave the highway to the bridge and use Leonia as a bypass or to cut through up to Fort Lee. This is a public safety issue." Rowe continued to blame the influx of traffic-avoiding apps, which has caused traffic within town to snarl. Seriously? Blame the people who built the roads way back when. Why should people trying to avoid traffic be penalized? I bet if Police Chief Rowe was late for an appointment in the City, he wouldn't want to be sitting in traffic and would try to find a quicker way. GPS app or not, it's only natural to find a quicker way to avoid traffic. No one....and I repeat....No one likes to sit in traffic!
Leonia is currently working with app developers like Waze to try and help enforce the new statute. If you ask me, this is one of the silliest things I've ever heard, and those who voted this in back in November, I can't wait until they're stuck in traffic and are looking for a quicker way out.