On Aug. 22, a superior court judge in Passaic County ruled in favor of the city of Clifton to limiting Yogi Berra Drive, one of the two ways to access campus from Valley Road, to entry only. Montclair State University will reportedly plan to appeal the decision.
This legal fray between Montclair State, Passaic County and Clifton has been going on for 15 years and continues to produce different opinions among students and local residents.
The controversy goes back to 2004 when Montclair State first proposed the exit. It was opposed by both Passaic County and Clifton because it was unsafe, but it did not go to court until 2014.
Montclair State argued it was a state agency, which made the university immune from city and county planning oversight. A key component of this back-and-forth has been traffic studies going back to 2006, which include Clifton’s input. When Passaic County settled with Montclair State, Clifton requested the Superior Court to examine the matter on the basis of safety concerns.
Senior Sasquia Carrillo, 22, a commuter from Linden studying family science and human development, isn’t really certain what to think about the latest developments.
“Although I would have clear access to the parkway instead of going all the way around, it seems a little dangerous because it’s downhill,” Carrillo said.
Junior public relations major Kristin Chang believes that making Valley Road a two-way is more suitable.
“It would be more convenient for people to get around because one way streets limit you into going in one direction,” said Chang.
Jabari Ryland, a freshman majoring in marketing, agrees that a two-way street has more benefits.
“A two-way street will make it a lot easier for commuters and help to avoid traffic,” said Ryland.
Edward Pascino, a Clifton resident and former witness in the case, has fought against the two-way plan since its inception. He can see Yogi Berra Drive from his condo window, where he has lived for 19 years.
He testified that it was unsafe with cars not going the speed limit through the intersection. Pascino is not happy that Montclair State hasn’t dropped the whole idea and that it will continue to appeal the decision.
“Montclair State has spent millions and millions on this case and on this road,” Pascino said
He believes that money could be put to better use for the school on different programs and perhaps lowering tuition costs. Pascino graduated from Montclair State in 1979 and regularly attends the board of trustees meetings.
“I hope they will give it up or come up with new solutions,” Pascino said.