JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Jersey City officials say the new bike lanes were meant to improve safety – but residents say the change has actually created a dangerous problem right near a school.
CBS2 cameras caught one biker after another going the wrong way on Bergen Avenue; in the newly painted bright green bike lane.
The arrow on that lane however, shows it shifts from two-way access down to one-way.
Bikers are supposed to cross the street to continue on, but Terence Matthews – associate principal of Hudson Catholic High School – says this is just one of the many problems with the new bike lanes.
“You changed the bus stop by the school, now you’re running a bike lane through a bus stop,” Matthews explained.
CBS2 witnessed a passenger get off without looking both ways, walking right into the bike path, a danger especially if bikers are coming from the wrong direction.
Priests at St. Aedan’s say the bike lanes cause major issues especially during special events. There is no access now for funerals or weddings to pull up out front.
Others are frustrated that vehicular traffic which was reduced from four lanes down to two and three lanes.
“It’s causing a lot of cars… causing a lot of accidents in the Journal Square area, so I think it was a waste of money,” Vilissa Jordan said.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop claims the reduction in lanes was a strategic safety move.
“There was a lot of crashes there, there were fatalities in that area, it was very unsafe street, so a road diet isn’t a terrible thing,” Fulop argued.
Matthews says the school was given a just few days notice about the new traffic pattern and wishes the city sought neighborhood input.
“The reality is we had 60 public meetings, 60. Not something that happened overnight,” Fulop said.
That said, the mayor says nothing is final. Parking issues and more can be adjusted, but the bike lanes will remain as part of a citywide initiative.
The mayor says new traffic patterns are part of a greater push to encourage residents to take public transportation or give biking a try to help reduce congestion.