Several residents have complained about the heavy volume of truck traffic using the mostly residential Seventh Street as a shortcut to cross town after getting off Route 440 on the westside.
The residents have also claimed that vehicles routinely ignore the plethora of stop signs that the city installed about 10 years ago to reduce speeding and to discourage vehicles from using Seventh Street after exiting the highway.
One resident who called the Bayonne Community News said that for the last six or seven months, tractor trailers have been using Seventh Street routinely.
“I’ve called City Hall,” this resident said, declining to give his name. “But I haven’t heard about them doing anything. There are a lot of kids in that area. Henry Harris School is there.”
Seventh Street has been a problem area in the past, especially when it crosses Avenue C, where northbound Avenue C traffic has to turn right and then quickly left under the rail bridge to continue north.
For years, local residents complained about the screeching brakes, near misses, and routine fender benders that resulted from traffic exiting the Bayonne Bridge on the west side and rushing across town toward Broadway, heedless of Avenue C traffic while making the turn.
About 10 years ago, a motorcyclist was killed when he tried to make the turn out of Avenue C, spurring the city to action. The city installed a number of additional stop signs, as well as other traffic slowing devices along Avenue C.
But it seems the trouble has started again.
“We have three stop signs, but many people don’t stop,” said another resident. “There’s even a flashing red light, but people zoom right through.”
“We’re aware that there is a problem with trucks.” – Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell
The Police Department apparently did station a patrol car in the area after one complaint, and summonses did get issued. But as soon as the police were gone, vehicles resumed rushing through the intersection, residents say.
“We’re aware that there is a problem with trucks,” said Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell last week. “We have already directed one company to have its trucks take another route. We’re still trying to determine who the other trucks that use that street belong to, and we will notify those companies, too. We understand that it can be a safety issue, and there are other streets in the city that are designated for trucks.”
O’Donnell said he was unaware of the problem with vehicles blowing through the stop signs, and said the police department would consider ways to rectify the situation.
The streets in that section of the city, which is called Bergen Point, sometimes can be confusing since they don’t completely fit with the grid pattern established in the rest of the city.
But because Route 440 and the exit to the Bayonne Bridge let a volume of traffic out on the west side of Seventh Street, this becomes a tempting way to get across town. O’Donnell said the street isn’t meant to handle high volume truck traffic.
City Planner John Fussa said that the approved truck route for the area is Fifth Street, as well as some sections of Seventh Street, but that a city ordinance allows truck traffic on to other streets if they have a reason to be there – such as a local delivery.
At least two residents from Seventh Street expressed concerns about traffic on the street in regards to the recently approved Eastern Millwork project.
“In summer, we have temporary speed bumps along our street,” said Gerald Reynolds, a resident of Seventh Street. “When trucks go over them, we hear it.”
City officials and owners of Eastern said truck traffic will likely be significantly light in and out of the new facility.