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Judge Rules Against Leonia, N.J.'s Controversial Street Signs

LEONIA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A judge has ordered Leonia officials to take down controversial traffic signs designed to keep non-residents from passing through town.

Drivers headed to the George Washington Bridge are creating traffic nightmares.

The judge slammed the brakes on the Leonia's law to keep side streets free of desperate drivers taking short cuts. He said while he sympathizes with the borough's traffic troubles caused by New Jersey and New York commuters, the law left him no choice, CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Thursday.

"Approval has not been provided by the commissioner," the judge said.

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He said not only were proper approvals never granted by the state, but Leonia also created negative impacts on the state roads, clogging them between the borough and the GWB because as many as 60 roads were off limits.

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It is a defeat for Leonia officials, who vowed to fight this and submit an amended ordinance for transportation commissioner approval.

"I wasn't expecting it. We disagree with the judge's decision," Borough of Leonia Attorney Brian Chewcaskie said.

Chewcaskie faced off in court with Jacqueline Rosa of Edgewater, an irate commuter who happens to be an attorney whose commute takes her through Leonia every work day. She sued the borough in February.

"Are you just using it as a scare tactic? Do you not believe in your own ordinance?" Rosa said in court.

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The state Attorney General's Office joined Rosa's lawsuit on behalf of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

The judge's decision demand that the town not only pull down the signs but also notify Waze and other driving apps, because currently they show streets as off-limits to non-locals.

"I most likely will write a letter to those companies and attach a copy of the court order so they know to redo their maps," Rosa said.

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But when CBS2's Carlin pressed Leonia's attorney, he told us borough officials are in no hurry to remove the signs, pending more legal action.

"That will be made very shortly, correct," Chewcaskie said of an application for a stay.

"If they want to write a new ordinance that's fine, but they're going to have to make new signs and spend more money and waste more taxpayer money," Rosa said.

The signs remain up, but drivers can drive right through. Borough leaders said they will discuss their next steps at a meeting on Wednesday.

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