Township To Enact Traffic And Safety Regulations For The Downtown

snow Lakewood day after massive storm-town squareIn an effort to ensure the safety of pedestrians and keep traffic flowing in downtown Lakewood, the Lakewood Township Committee has passed two new regulations. The first is an ordinance—no solicitation of employment—that prohibits both pedestrians and motorists from any act indicating their interest in employment.  People may no longer stop or stand any place on a road, on the side of a road, or in any areas dedicated for public use, like a median, to signal their interest in being hired. The second is a resolution and establishes an Employment Services Area (ESA), a safe area, for those who are seeking work.  The Lakewood Employment Services Area is located on a portion of a municipal parking lot between First and Second streets. This designated area will have pedestrian barriers, portable sanitary facilities, and trash receptacles.

Mayor Steven Langert says, “The intention of these regulations is to help alleviate vehicular and pedestrian congestion in the downtown as well as provide a safe and secure environment for our day laborers. It is my belief that one of the reasons the muster zone did not work a few years ago was because the location of the zone was not readily accessible to the day laborers. The Township engineer, the traffic safety officer, and the public works department, working together, identified an underutilized area of a municipal parking lot close to where most of the day laborers wait for work. 

Senator Singer says, “We are mindful that people who want to solicit someone to work for them should be able to so.  We also realize that we need an area close to downtown to satisfy the needs of employers and those who are looking for work. Using the downtown, which is already crowded, however, is no longer a viable option.”

Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson says, “We are trying to relieve problems in the downtown area that occur when motorists trying to hire someone pull over and obstruct roads and sidewalks, delaying traffic and endangering pedestrians. This new ordinance addresses people stepping off curbs, motorists rolling down their windows to talk, and people getting into cars, all of which cause a safety issue for them and for others. These regulations should also eliminate double parking, which is problematic for pedestrians and motorists who have to steer around these vehicles. We do have bilingual officers who will be educating motorists and pedestrians for approximately a month before the new ordinance will take effect.”
Mayor Langert notes, “As the Senator says we are concerned about the safety of everyone involved.  I also echo what Police Chief Lawson said that it is our intention to offer as much education as possible to everyone about the location of the work area and the intent of the ordinance.

“We are certainly not against anyone trying to earn a living for an honest day’s work; we are just trying to meet the needs of the merchants, the shoppers, the laborers, and the employers, and find a balance that works for everyone.”

Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein says, “We are happy to take steps to continue to make our downtown a pleasant shopping atmosphere.”

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  1. That is a relief. It is difficult manuvering around pick up trucks and cars stopping to pick up day laborers. It is also dangerous. It is a good thing that the Township decided to let the hitchhikers continue walking in the street on Clifton, Central, the County Line, etc. because thats not dangerous. The cars that just stop in the middle of the street to pick them up, they don’t create a danger to anyone either. We can wait for them to speak to the hitchhikers, figure out where they would like to go, then load them up. We can wait, Not dangerous or inconsiderate. Nice job.

  2. “…Senator Singer says, “We are mindful that people who want to solicit someone to work for them should be able to so….”

    OK. That means I can go there to find someone, probably an “undocumented immigrant”, to come with me to paint my house without having to pay any taxes or fees to the state for his work. It is so nice that the committeemen in our town cater to these workers and to allow me to do this. And, above all, thank you Senator Singer for NOT ENFORCING THE FEDERAL ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION LAWS.

  3. I hope everyone is prepared for the consequences. What do you think is going to happen when you cram a large number of people in a small area in a highlly competitive environment? Think about it

  4. This is a nice start, but I sure hope all double parking will be dealt with. It’s not all from picking up day-workers.

    Hitch hiking is another big issue.

    Two nights ago I was driving on Central Ave as I got to the light at Sunset Ave, some one decided to stop while having a green light, in the middle of the intersection to let some one jump out of their car in the mean time the light changed red. Well after the person got out of the car, the driver felt he should still go while his light was red and by the grace of God all the cars going through the intersection just missed each other. I couldn’t believe it. It seems some people around here have no regard for laws, and put everyone else at risk. This is also the reason why insurance companies are now charging more if you live in Lakewood. Thanks!

    Picking people up and dropping them of where ever they want is a serious problem around here. A lot of the hitch hikers are young men some to which look like minors. They get in the road to wave people down. They approach vehicles at red lights. Non to which have anything to do with day-workers. I sure hope this will be outlawed ASAP!

    I always thought hitch hiking was illegal in this state.

  5. If we round up all the illegals congregating in this new muster zone, there wont’t be any need for a muster zone!!! As for hitchhiking -IT’S ILLEGAL- period.

  6. you are right, hitch hiking IS ilegal in this state, but when has that stopped residents of lakewood? its ilegal to have infants on your lap while you drive, and i see that all the time. Its ilegal to pass on the shoulder, and i see that all the time. Its ilegal to race to shul and i see that all the time.

  7. While I personally commend any effort our committeemen make towards fixing the downtown, I believe there are many more pressing issues than our day laborers at this time. Very often we seek to solve the problem that is most visible, ignoring the real underlying problem that exists. Our downtown is seeded with businesses run as covers for illegal activity. They not only do not attract shoppers, they attract a criminal element that is both dangerous, and damaging to any future downtown redevelopment. There are crumbling apartments that are crowded with families living in deplorable conditions. These apartments need to be reinspected for the safety of the very same citizens our committeemen seem to be so concerned of. When true redevelopment of the downtown takes place, when pleasant, desirable businesses return, the few day laborers that line the streets would hardly be noticed.
    But alas, it is much simpler to corral a few cold, tired, work seeking, individuals into the corner of a parking lot, than to take any proactive steps towards repairing our downtown to keep it from descending into a state of disrepair so severe, that there will be no return.

  8. It is wrong to facilitate the hiring of illegals. It is wrong to ignore deplorable housing conditions. If we addressed these two issues, the problem would disappear.

  9. I don’t think it is wrong to hitchhike or pick up hitchhikers as long as it is done safely. Pull over to a legal spot and don’t block traffic when picking up or letting off passengers. It is a chesed.

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