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Rerouted Traffic Driving Mahwah Neighborhood Crazy

Kate Nunez is seeking traffic relief in the form of four-way stop signs along Meadow Avenue in her West Mahwah neighborhood.
Kate Nunez is seeking traffic relief in the form of four-way stop signs along Meadow Avenue in her West Mahwah neighborhood. Photo Credit: DAILY VOICE

MAHWAH, N.J. – Kate Nuñez has had it with drivers cutting through her West Mahwah neighborhood when northbound Route 17 backs up.

Thanks to GPS and the Waze app, motorists stuck in bottlenecks at the New York State Thruway and Route 287 often make a beeline for northbound Meadow Avenue, which connects to Suffern.

“They can cut through Suffern and then get right onto the Thruway,” said Nuñez, who lives on the corner of Meadow and Long avenues. “They think they’re saving themselves so much time.”

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are the worst.

Traffic data collected by the township shows that almost 1,500 cars travel Meadow between 3 and 6 p.m. on the worst weeknights.

Nuñez and her neighbors have sought four-way stop signs at every intersection along Meadow Avenue -- including Johnson Avenue, Long Avenue, and State Street.

“Stop signs at every block will slow people down,” said Mayor Bill Laforet.

Laforet, who raised his family in the same neighborhood, feels for the families there.

A stop sign "is not a speed bump but a deterrent to drivers who figure they'll just cut through," the mayor said

So far, however, the Township Council has offered only a painted crosswalk, said Nuñez, who has become a de facto spokesperson for the neighborhood.

“And maybe a speed limit sign,” she said, “but not one that’s lit up.”

Paramus, Ridgewood, and Ho-Ho-Kus other towns along Route 17 prevent righthand or lefthand turns or put up stop signs, she said.

On the other side of the county, Fort Lee blocks certain streets near the George Washington Bridge during rush hours to keep drivers from detouring through local neighborhoods.

Laforet understands the council’s position: The cut-through drivers aren't speeding, he said -- data shows them doing 16 to 25 miles an hour.

“Even though there are a lot of cars, it’s only for a few hours,” he said. “The council believes the cars have a right to use the roadway, and they do.”

Still, the mayor said, there are times when a community's voice must be heard.

“Hopefully, the council will find some way to help out this neighborhood,” he said.

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