After spirited debate, Jersey City Council votes down pedestrian safety ordinance

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A defeated land development ordinance regarding safety of pedestrians, especially children in strollers had Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, apologizing to council members for calling it a “gender break on votes.”

Lavarro, at first, called it a “gender break on the votes” as he explained his support for the ordinance, siding with the female members of the council.

He later apologized to the council member and those in attendance.

“First of all I want to apologize to the men. I made an observation about the gender breakup of the votes, words hurt, they are harmful and I can assure that the men here are not sexist in any way shape of form. I was flippant and inappropriate. “

It was Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski, Ward B Councilman Chico Ramchal, Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano, Ward D Councilman Michael Yun and Councilman-at-Large Daniel Rivera who voted against the measure (4-5).

Ramchal explained that the number one reason why it was voted down was because of penalty fees.

“$250 to $500 is a lot of money for people to be paying. We asked for this to number to be changed and it definitely was not changed so that’s why I vote no.”

Osborne replied “[a] $60 [fine] does not change behavior. It needs to be a high enough amount so they don’t ever do it again. This is not to make money. This is to save lives.”

The purpose of the land development ordinance was to keep pedestrians safe.

Automobiles parked in the sidewalk, or blocking the pedestrian right of way, poses a public safety hazard, especially to children in strollers and to those with mobility challenges who will need to cross behind a parked car and risk being struck by a “careless drivers,” the ordinance said.

According to the ordinance, it is a $250 fee per day for the first offense of motorists and $500 per day for subsequent offense.

It would not have affected any residents who are legally parked in a front yard parking spot within his or her property line.