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Transportation

What Happens When a City Bans Non-Resident Drivers?

Besieged by commuters taking Waze-powered shortcuts, Leonia, New Jersey, closed its side streets to non-residents. Not everyone is happy with the results.
A sign warns non-resident drivers to avoid using a street in Leonia, New Jersey.
A sign warns non-resident drivers to avoid using a street in Leonia, New Jersey. David Porter/AP

LEONIA, NJ—During morning rush hour, one of the first things you’ll notice on the streets of Leonia, New Jersey, are the yellow “resident” tags inside of cars. Nearly everyone here has one hanging from the windshield. Traffic is mostly contained to Fort Lee Road, a central stretch that connects drivers each day to the George Washington Bridge, two miles to the east. Along it, school crossing guards stand watch.

Off of Fort Lee, all is quiet on the residential roads, which are lined with old Victorians, with little foot traffic. Still, you can’t help but notice the prominent “Do Not Enter” sign: “6 am to 10 am, 4 pm to 9 pm,” it reads. “Residents Exempt.”