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Harrison NJ Residents Cry Foul Over Red Bulls Traffic Restrictions

Jul 21, 2023
Red Bulls Arena Street Closure Map

Residents of the Town of Harrison in New Jersey are voicing their frustrations over traffic restrictions imposed during games at the Red Bull Arena. The closure of South Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard to vehicular traffic during these events has drawn the ire of local inhabitants, particularly those living in the southern part of Harrison, which includes the Harrison Redevelopment Zone and various new luxury apartments.

The controversy reached a boiling point during an International Double Header Soccer game on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, Independence Day. Residents complained that the closure highlighted the injustice of them not being able to access their homes and apartments, leading to an outcry for change.

One vocal critic of the ongoing situation took to social media to vent his frustrations before presenting his concerns to Mayor James Fife at the Harrison Mayor & Council meeting on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, during the Public Session.  It was not the first time that a resident has voiced the same concern to Mayor Fife at a  Public session of the Mayor & Council meeting.  No changes have occurred however in ensuring that residents can access their homes and apartment buildings.

In a social media post, a resident asked, "Is anyone else done with the nonsense caused by games at the Red Bull stadium? The international game on 7/4 was yet another traffic disaster caused by the ridiculously poor planning by the City (sic) [Town] Council, and it's long past time to do something about it."

Residents have criticized Mayor Fife’s lack of action.  Residents are expressing their unwillingness to accept the status quo and refuse to believe the mayor's promises of investigating the issue. A prepared statement read at the Mayor & Council meeting by a Resident highlighted the impact of the restrictions on everyday life, recounting incidents of his child nearly having a bathroom accident due to the prolonged wait times and the disruptions caused to their sleep schedules on work nights. One resident complained that the street was not opened until 1 a.m. when she finally could get home.

Mayor Fife assured the residents that he would look into the issue. However, this was met with skepticism, as previous promises for the same issue have not yielded any changes to Residents' access to their apartment buildings and homes.

The Harrison Police do provide periodic escorts to residents through the closed off Frank E. Rodgers Blvd but that system apparently broke down on July 4, 2023 during the doubleheader international games. As pointed out by one resident, the amount of time the street is scheduled to be closed to residents consistently goes well beyond the 45 to 60 minutes stated after Red Bull Arena events. 

The residents have vowed not to back down until their grievances are addressed. The call to action has garnered significant attention and support from the local community, with several residents speaking out about the issue at the Public session of the Mayor & Council meeting.

The current situation underscores the tension between the need for crowd control during significant sporting events and the rights of residents to have unhindered access to their homes. It has raised significant questions about how local authorities balance these interests and the transparency of their decision-making processes.

As the dispute continues, residents wait to see if Mayor Fife will heed their calls for a solution that respects both the needs of the Red Bull Arena and the rights of those who call Harrison home.

The next game at the Red Bulls Arena is this Saturday, July 22, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. when the New England Revolution team takes on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bulls Arena as part of the Leagues Cup 2023. All the Major League Soccer (MLS) teams and LIGA MX clubs will be competing for four weeks to be crowned the League Cup 2023 Champion.

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