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Jessica OrbonFeb 15, 2018, 9:47 pmFeb 16, 2018, 5:44 pm

Residents in Leonia protest non-local traffic ban

Store owners say their businesses are suffering after signs went up banning drivers looking to avoid George Washington Bridge traffic from cutting through the township

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LEONIA — Owners of over a dozen nail salons, restaurants, delis, and dry cleaners in Leonia marched to Borough Hall on Thursday in protest of the law put in place in January to ticket drivers caught cutting through the borough to avoid traffic from the George Washington Bridge.

"'Do not enter' is very harsh; it's like telling everyone in the surrounding towns, 'Don't come,'" said Talin Stavrou, owner of Celebrity Salons.

Signs were put up throguhout the borough to deter drivers, and town officials went as far as to have the streets removed as recommendations from GPS apps like Waze and Google Maps. However, after backlash from business owners the signs are being taken down and will eventually be replaced with more business-friendly signs with information on them about why certain streets are closed to non-residents.

But some business owners say that the move is too little, too late.

"My business is about 30-40 percent down," said Dante Pascali, the owner of Dante's Italian Restaurant. "I have 50 percent for sure, maybe more, out-of-town supporters. So, that's a big number for a small community."

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