WEEHAWKEN — A second New Jersey town is looking to bar out-of-town drivers from using some local streets to avoid rush-hour traffic — even as the first faces a lawsuit.

Starting on Tuesday, Weehawken will bar non-local drivers from making a right turn from Hackensack Plank Road to Pleasant Avenue — a popular route to Route 495 for commuters looking to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic on that highway from the Lincoln Tunnel, according to reports by CBS and News 12.

Mayor Richard Turner told News 12 police will be looking out for residents' parking placards. Those making the turn without the placards between 3 and 7 p.m. would risk fines.

Turner said Hackensack Plank Road is often so congested with rush-hour traffic emergency vehicles have had trouble getting to their destinations. He said traffic apps like Waze are directing drivers to side streets, clogging up the roads local residents depend upon.

Since last month, drivers in Leonia who do not live or work in the town have risked fines of up to $200 for driving on all but three main roadways — a move meant to counter traffic caused by out-of-towners trying to avoid the usual traffic on the way too or from the George Washington Bridge.

The change in Leonia's traffic pattern has been met with some resistance and a lawsuit claiming that the town cannot restrict access to public roadways.

Michael Darcy, executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, told New Jersey 101.5 that he did not see a problem with the Leonia plan, calling it "just part of the normal police powers to control traffic within the streets to maintain a safe environment."

“Even just the fact that residents couldn’t get out of their driveways in order to get to the grocery store, get to a doctor’s appointment, take their children to school. These are local streets that we’re talking about." Darcy said. "The residents certainly have a right to come and go from their homes without having their local streets backed up.”

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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