How’s Traffic in Fort Lee One Year After ‘The E-Mail’?

By David Cruz

If you search online, you’ll see that there is a way to un-send an email. The catch is you have to do it in like 10 seconds. It’s tough to tell if Bridget Kelly knew of, or even thought of, that option when she hit send on that infamous email a year ago. But that email set into motion a series of events that are still reverberating not only across New Jersey but across the country.

“I am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team,” Gov. Chris Christie said Jan. 9.

Soon thereafter, an Assembly committee and then a joint committee, headed by Assemblyman John Wisniewski and Sen. Loretta Weinberg, began to look into the matter in earnest, calling Christie operatives David Wildstein and Bill Baroni to testify. Baroni spent hours before them detailing a supposed traffic study that was later mostly debunked.

As for former Port Authority executive Wildstein, “On advice of counsel I assert my right to remain silent,” he said.

The scandal also made a household name — at least for a while — of a then obscure mayor who may, or may not, have been the target of political retribution. On the day Christie came to town to apologize, Mark Sokolich played the reluctant host.

“It would appear to me, from my perspective, that an apology today and coming on up today might be a bit premature,” he said.

Living in Fort Lee has always meant dealing with traffic, especially nowadays with the buzz of construction activity going on near the bridge entrance. We asked some traffic experts whether the town could benefit from an actual traffic study.

“I don’t think it would hurt, you know. I don’t know what they’d be able to do. They can’t possibly add any more lanes I don’t think,” said taxi driver John Delaney.

When asked if Fort Lee could benefit from a genuine traffic study, taxi driver Vito DeRosa said, “I don’t think it’s gonna help. There’s too many cars on the road. There’s no expansion for the bridge. You can’t build it any bigger, and if you do, where’s that traffic gonna go?”

“Most real traffic studies are done with traffic counters, with computer models. We had testimony from traffic engineers that the way you do those traffic studies is not by causing traffic jams,” Weinberg said.

So after millions of dollars and hundreds of hours of formal investigations, we are still no closer to finding out what prompted Bridget Kelly to send that fateful email. Until and unless she testifies before a grand jury, the world will just have to wait for the book.