Residents are calling for a traffic signal to be installed at what they consider to be one of the “most dangerous” intersections in Bayonne.
The discussion was prompted at the Nov. 10 city council meeting by Edward “Lefty” Grimes, a Bayonne native and local activist who uses a wheelchair. He highlighted safety issues at the notoriously busy intersection of 49th Street and Avenue C.
According to Grimes, pedestrians in wheelchairs try to cross at the intersection but cars drive right past them. Many are afraid to attempt to cross, whether or not they are in wheelchairs.
You call that a sign?
Grimes said that no one pays attention to the stop sign currently at the intersection because it’s not a traditional stop sign. Rather it’s a small, yellow, non-permanent sign placed in the middle of the road that reads “stop for pedestrians.”
The white paint designating the crosswalk has faded and is barely recognizable.
By law, motorists are required to stop for pedestrians crossing an intersection. However, Grimes said this doesn’t happen at 49th Street and Avenue C.
To demonstrate that local motorists do not abide by the law, Grimes fastened a double stroller to the front of his wheelchair to see if any motorists would stop for him.
While he was able to cross, the venture came with honking and irate motorists who believed they had the right of way. According to Grimes, motorists don’t even realize that there is a stop sign at the intersection.
According to public records, there have been 69 accidents at the intersection since 2002, not including this year, and the number is not going in the right direction.
Traffic in the area has become more congested following the completion of construction on the New Jersey Turnpike interchange in 2018. The changes have created a new traffic pattern that has made the intersection a major thoroughfare.
Grimes suggested a traffic signal be installed. He said that the Turnpike should cover the cost, which may be $500,000 to $800,000.
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said she is aware of the issue and has been advocating for a traffic signal there.
Installing a signal requires appropriate traffic studies and approval from the NJ Department of Transportation.
Third Ward Councilman Gary La Pelusa said that the city had done a traffic study, but it didn’t recommend a light. He said a new study may be necessary due to the traffic changes.
Ashe-Nadrowski said that the city will work toward having a traffic study conducted. She supported the Turnpike covering the cost of the signal.
In the interim, Ashe-Nadrowski said the city would repaint the crosswalk and add wheelchair ramps at the corners.
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