NJ community lashes out at navigation app users over traffic woes

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For the past ten years, map apps such as Google Maps and Waze have been directing commuters through the small town of Leonia, New Jersey, and residents have had enough of it.

Located approximately one mile away from the George Washington Bridge, which leads into New York City, rush-hour traffic has greatly disrupted the lives of those who live and work in the small town.

Starting Jan. 22, the town of Leonia has announced its police officers will begin fining commuters $200 if they dare to drive through 60 of its streets between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., NJ.com reported.

Officials plan to give Leonia’s residents a yellow tag to leave in their car, letting officers know they live in the town. Those without a yellow tag will be subjected to the fine.

Town officials implemented the measure after realizing that navigation apps were leading highway drivers to take the city’s streets as a shortcut.

Tom Rowe, the city’s police chief, said as many as 15,000 cars travel through the town every day. The population of the community is about 9,200 with 18 police officers, according to a report from Fox News.

“It’s a very extreme measure for very extreme traffic,” Rowe told The New York Times. “Would I prefer not to do this? Of course. But I would rather try something and fail than not try anything.”

Town officials told NJ.com that they are also working with Waze to stop the software from leading commuters to drive through Leonia.

The town’s officials said the measure was legal but acknowledged that it could be “tested in court.”

Melissa Soesmann of Leonia told The New York Times how she sometimes has to “plead” with drivers just to pull out of her driveway.

“It’s horrific, and it’s all the time,” she said. “They will see that you are trying to get out, but they won’t let you. People are cranky; it’s the morning. By the time they are up here, who knows how long they have been sitting in traffic.”

Other of the nation’s small towns, including Los Gatos and Fremont, in California, have experienced traffic issues due to the apps, CBS San Francisco reported.

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