As you know, on January 22nd, we began implementation of the Leonia Safe Streets program, designed to reduce commuter traffic on side streets due to the broad adoption of navigational apps.
While it’s too early to draw conclusions, initial data indicates that the plan is working, and most of you have seen a significant reduction in commuter traffic on side streets. We have also received feedback from a significant number of residents who have seen this positive impact on their streets.
The program has also garnered a great deal of media attention; however, the media doesn’t always communicate all of the key messages we’ve been trying to convey. For example, although most Leonians know that non-resident drivers on their way to/from Leonia destinations (business or residential) can utilize any street at any time without fear of receiving a violation, this important component of the plan hasn’t been widely communicated in media reports. Instead, we’ve all seen headlines and teaser copy with phrases like “small town bans out of town drivers,” etc.
This unfortunately has led to what appears to be a negative impact on the business owners in our central business district. As we said all along, this plan is meant to be an iterative process, and if we identify unintended negative consequences, we are committed to addressing those issues as quickly as possible. This is clearly one of those unintended consequences – and we must fix it. We’ve already had multiple discussions with our merchants, and are taking some immediate actions to try to remedy the situation. Our goal is to ensure that we have a plan in place that doesn’t just have a positive impact on our residents, but an equally positive impact to our businesses, who should be benefiting from less congested and safer streets.
Every Leonian can help by supporting Leonia businesses! While we continue to tweak the plan based on feedback from residents and merchants alike, we want to remind all of you of the importance of supporting our businesses by shopping locally. The businesses located in Leonia are an integral part of our community; they can always benefit from our support and patronage.
Throughout the year we will continue to collaborate with businesses and residents alike on ideas to revitalize, support, and sustain a prosperous downtown business district. In the meantime, each of us are committed to spending more of our dollars right here in Leonia, and we hope that you’ll do the same. This is the perfect opportunity to show our local businesses how much we value them – so please join us in supporting them!
Thank you, as always, for your support and continued engagement.
Very truly yours,
Mayor Judah Zeigler and Borough Council Members