Jersey City Ward E Councilman James Solomon has proposed an unarmed traffic enforcement unit, as well as completing street renovations and installing green infrastructure, as part of his safe streets plan.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“We need safer, better-designed streets to not just create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown that is safe for families but also builds a more resilient Jersey City,” Solomon said in a statement.
“We’ve made a lot of progress over the last four years improving our streets and my plan will build on that success to create a livable downtown that is easier to get around, cleaner and safer.”
Specifically, he calls for improvements on Newark Avenue, Columbus Drive, and Marin Boulevard, by adding protected bike lanes, increasing curb extensions, and improving traffic signal systems.
” … We can beautify our neighborhoods by turning them into rain gardens (pictured left). By adding more permeable surfaces, these gardens serve as sponges that soak up excess stormwater runoff. That keeps the untreated rainwater out of sewers, basements, and rivers,” he added.
” … Green infrastructure also saves the city, and the taxpayer, money by reducing frequent flooding and makes our neighborhoods greener and more livable. If we are going to build our city for the 21st century, it starts with sustainable and climate conscious investments like these.”
As far as the unarmed traffic enforcement unit goes, the Downtown councilman suggests using Class 1 and Class 2 special police officers to man the traffic enforcement unit – pointing out that Berkeley, California voted to remove police from conducting traffic stops last year.
“Why is action on this so urgent, and why should Jersey City follow suit? One reason is that study after study has found that drivers of color are as much as 20% more likely to be pulled over for a traffic violation than white drivers,” Solomon explained.
“Other academics have found traffic stops usually escalate to violent encounters only after police invoked their authority beyond asking for basic information or documents … We can avoid these types of situations by taking cops out of the business of routine traffic enforcement.”
Solomon is seeking re-election in the November 2nd municipal elections, going one-on-one with Chief Municipal Prosecutor Jake Hudnut, who is running on Mayor Steven Fulop’s ticket.