UPDATED: [VIDEOS & PHOTOS] Lakewood’s Main Corridors Unusually Congested on First Day of 2-day Drill

LIVE BLOG: [VIDEO 1] [VIDEO 2] [VIDEO 3] [PHOTOS] [Sitting in traffic? Send your photos and clips to [email protected]]

day 18 AM: Bus companies reporting buses running empty. Buses are pulling up and leaving.
8:10 AM: Bus stops usually packed with children are reported to be empty. Roads expected to become heavy soon.
8:30 AM: Heavy delays reported on Route 9. MVAs being reported.
8:40 AM: Police are out strongly enforcing traffic laws. Askonim urging drivers to be patient on the roads.
28:52 AM. Police are reporting being stuck in traffic.
9 AM. Route 9, Central, Oak and many other roads heavily backed up.
9:25 AM. Main roads backed up for miles.
9:40 AM. Parents reporting carpool is taking approximately threg times longer than usual, so far.
9:58 AM. A pedecyclsit, one of many who decided to bike to school today, was struck by a vehicle.
10:15 AM. Traffic beginning to ease up. Emergency officials to meet for debriefing.

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  1. terrible terrible terrible

    maybe you are happy if the buses are running empty but you don’t realize that EVERY SINGLE DAY of school is important.

    for shame for shame for shame that children miss a day of studies

  2. I left my house at 8:35, hoping to get to schools before the heavy traffic! Until I turined from central onto Cross, and sat from the light for 15 minutes until prospect! My trip took me an hour and ten minutes!

  3. To you are a racist…you must have missed something here…have you been following what is going on? No one kept their kids home from school! They’ll have a regular day of studies albeit with a but of a late start for some. The parents drove them or the kids walked or cycled to school as a practice and demonstration of what things will be like next year on a daily basis if safety busing is eliminated as planned by the BOE/ State.

  4. Then WHY if your driving your kids to school do you have them standing at the bus stop and when the bus comes they are laughing and run away

  5. If its a state issue were are our state reps Sentor Singer and our state assemblymen (who knows their names?) Why is there no statments from them? Where are they????????

  6. I just got to the conclusion that Private schools can drive their kids to school everyday! Traffic? No problem, a lot of towns deal with traffic on a daily basis, wake up a little early and you will be on time wherever you destination will be! Keep the courtesy bussing just for k-3 graders, both public and private schools! Enough is enough!

  7. why don’t we try afternoon pick up, morning carpool leaves room for some to leave early and some to leave late anticipating traffic, pick up on the other hand causes way more traffic and way longer to pick up etc…..

  8. Let’s face it. Traffic wasn’t that bad. Worse than usual but not way worse. And today was worse than it would be next year because today, nobody took a bus and next year 60% of the kids will still have bussing (i.e., all kids through grades three and the non-courtesy busing for those older).

  9. Did anyone let all those bus drivers know before this whole plan of action!!! Its really not right if not!! Please please lets bring moshiach closer not further!!!

  10. Please make an effort to be at the bus stops with your kids Fri morning and THANK the drivers – make sure they realize it’s not about them!!

  11. #16 WRONG! Next year, with buses stopping and picking up children that will have busing and turning on blinking lights, the traffic will be MUCH WORSE than it was today, not better. Today, no buses were stopping so traffic wasn’t as bad as it will be next year.

  12. Traffic was bad but not as bad as expected. On the other hand, police were on hand all over town to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.I drive my kids quite often and I have never seen a police presence like today. Will they be on hand in the future to ensure the same flow of traffic?
    Also, comparing Lakewood to Baltimore or other places is unfair. Lakewood bH has a larger amount of chidren than most(all?) areas. A few Lakewood schools probably equals the amount of children transported in Baltimore on any given day.
    Btw, everyone was very courteous and for the most part drove safely. Not one horn to be heard on my way to all 4 schools!

  13. Let’s face it. In the end, this will be dealt with by raising property taxes, as usual. The people in charge want to stay that way, and that means throwing the robotic voters a bone — namely, courtesy bussing.

  14. They should have all kids that would still have buses next year maybe go on bus tomorrow so we can see real traffic with the buses that will service the other kids.

  15. It’s sad and unfortunate that when it comes to buses the Lakewood community knows how to get together and turn over the whole town. However when children can’t get into a yeshiva or a girls school nothing happens.

    What a shame…

  16. In my area traffic was INSANE!!!! I guess most people dont live between oak and pine or between route 9 and new hampshire! It was total chaos

  17. I don’t know where you guys were driving it was horrendous James st was bumper to bumper from Route 9 almost all the way to Cross st. that’s normal you guys lost your mind it traffic was normal.

  18. There is a big difference between this and bridgegate. By bridgegate there was a closure without warning. There was a closure that may have been political payback. The true reason why it was done was denied. Here there was ample warning. It is not political payback. It is a trial run to show the officials how we will be affected next year every day, morning and night. The true reason it is being done is clearly indicated.

  19. Most probably don’t realize that the 2 -2 1/2 mile distance is as the “crow flies” which is the straight shortest distance from point A to point B. Example would be east end to bais Rochel. Totally problematic if they do line that.

  20. @27 not sure where you get your information from.


    Q. How is the distance between a student’s home and school measured?

    A. Measurement is made by the shortest distance along public roadways or walkways between the entrance to the student’s home and the nearest public entrance of the school building. This measurement is for eligibility purposes only and is not necessarily the travel path to or from school

  21. To all those that thinnk traffic wasn’t that bad you either beat the traffic or you were sleeping Rt 9 was bad early on but the other roads got bad after 8:45 and they were BAD!

  22. What make you think this is going to change the traffic in Lakewood? If you want your kids to ride the bus…….cough up the money……simple as that. Why should a town that is being bled dry pay for everything you want?



  24. #20 was right to point out that the police out in significant numbers made it easier and will they be there in the fall?that was one reason this was not a completely true drill.another factor that would have probably involved more traffic problems if parents did not pick up in the afternoon.with all the different dismissals,rush hour and less availability of parents,the streets will be much worse..and remember,come fall,do people really want their children walking home for many of them in the dark?

  25. I left really early at 815 so I missed most of traffic on oak street but by the time I got to my boys school on cross street it was very very full and that was just the beginning not yet 900

  26. Why don’t you try sending children to the closet private schools near there home to limit some busing since your such a large community in a small town with so many schools

  27. to L #37, its a nice and yes practical thought, but it wouldn’t work in this community. Yes, we are one orthodox community but it still is a diverse community with dif. individuals needing dif types of Jewish schools….u gota sorta be in it to understand! 🙂

  28. why does anyone think that the bus drivers cared that the busses were empty it made there day a whole lot easier. They finished quicker and didn’t have to deal with the kids

  29. Whoever was stupid enough and deliberately drove earlier or later is hurting only themselves. Cry next year. I usually have a way around the traffic by going thru neighboring town roads. Today I went with the regular route. Wasn’t that the whole point?!!

  30. This use to come up every year. They wanted to cancel the busing from Coventry Square because it fell within the normal walking distance. But in order for it to be a safe walk ( which meant having sidewalks and not walking on the street ) The kids would have to walk down I believe to Princeton ave school ( what ever it is now ) and then down to the high school / middle school. Which increased the distance. The most important fact that should come into play is child safety. Which means more parents will be driving their kids to school. And when you talk about leaving early to get them there on time means opening all the schools early having staff there to make sure the kids can get inside and keep warm. Not all parents can change their work hours to accommodate these drop offs. And then lets not forget early dismissal getting all these parents home from work through Lakewood to get the kids from a school that now has to keep staff there till the last kid is picked up so we do not have kids waiting outside in extreme weather. ( if anyone reading this can remember back to the winter i believe it was 85/86 all the schools were let out at the same time and the buses split to start doing runs some kids were left outside for well over two hours ) Busing is needed in Lakewood.

  31. http://www.state.nj.us/education/genfo/faq/faq_transportation.shtml

    Q. Who is responsible for transportation to charter and choice schools?

    A. The transportation of students to and from a charter school is the responsibility of the board of education of the school district in which the student resides. Students who reside less than remote from their charter school are eligible for transportation in accordance with the policies of the district board of education in which they reside.

    The transportation of students to and from a choice school is the responsibility of the board of education of the school district in which the student resides.

    Q. Are there any limits on nonpublic school transportation?

    Yes, there are several limits on nonpublic school transportation. They are:

    The school must be a nonprofit school;
    The school must be located within the state, except for certain counties of the third class (Warren);
    The school may be located no more than twenty miles from the student’s home;
    The cost of the transportation may not exceed the annual maximum expenditure set by law each year ($884 for the 2013-2014 school year);
    Students must be in grades kindergarten through grade 12; and
    Students must meet the entrance age requirements for students in the resident public school district.
    If the cost of the transportation to be provided to the nonpublic school student will exceed the annual maximum expenditure, the school district cannot provide the transportation but instead pay the student’s parent or legal guardian the maximum expenditure amount. The maximum expenditure for the transportation of nonpublic school students cannot exceed $884 for the 2013-2014 school year.

    In the 2013-2014 school year, transportation services are also extended to students living in third-class counties or second-class counties with a population of less than 235,000 who reside no more than 30 miles from their nonpublic schools located within the state. This applies to Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties.

    Q. Is it a district’s responsibility to provide transportation for students who live less than remote from school when hazardous road conditions exist?

    A. Boards of education are not required by law to provide busing for students who live less than remote from school even for safety reasons. However, boards are permitted, at their own discretion and expense, to provide transportation for students who reside less than remote from school and may charge the student’s parents or legal guardians for this service. Municipalities may also contract with boards of education for this service and charge the parents. This transportation service is called Subscription Busing.

    In short, this is not a state issue. This is a local board of education issue. the only involvement by the state, so far, was to deny the local BOE request to increase property taxes above the 2% cap.

    In short, the BOE has X dollars, but Y expenditures. they must pass a balanced budget. they have 2 options. Increase taxes to meet the Y projected expenditures or reduce the expenditures to be more in line with their actual dollars. According to the Lakewood BOE website the current expenditures exceed proposed income by 12+ million dollars. Reducing busing is one of the ways they are trying to close that shortfall. This car pool drill is trying to show the effect of cutting this portion of the budget. A worthwhile next step would be to come up with an alternative way to cut $12 million from budget, OR a way to raise $12 million. Do the homeowners of Lakewood wish to cough up that money in the form of new taxes? I didnt think so. better ides would be to pore over the current budget and expenditures and start trimming the excess fat out of the budget. Half the cost to educate a student for example does not come from the classroom but from “support and administrative costs”, must they be so high?

  32. Why do you feel bad for the drivers? They are the ones that will be losing their jobs! Even the ones that stay on the job will have lower salaries due to less demand. They stand to gain the most!

  33. to # 40 Gershon
    Thanks for your very thorough piece. you make a lot of sense. It’s a shame that all the haters out there, have their minds made up already and continue to hate even with all this information available to them. If they only took a few moments to get the facts & look at the situation with an open mind.

  34. I don’t want to pay more taxes, but our community really saves the BOE tons of money by, not sending our kids to public school. And also, how come it education costs far less per child in a private school than in a public school? Public schools have to learn to trim their expenditures.

  35. Lakewood has more than 100 schools and you wouldnt even know it ! Traffic is ridiculous on any given day. This town is not meant to be New York city !

  36. Why is my comment still waiting for ‘moderation’ when others posted after mine are allowed??? Oh wait..you don’t like what I said. Typical.

  37. The state assigned monitor is hopefully handling all the causes of this fiasco appropriately. No more skirting the issues, misappropriation of funds, and lack of attention to the dilapidated buildings not to mention the sad lack of supplies in the public schools. Take a look around the area at the outdated, unsafe, filthy buildings the public schools have to deal with, w hike right next door there are countless state of the art facilities ( which continue to be built) for the private schools. It’s sadly obvious where all the public school funding has been spent.

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