NJ commuters: Amazon warehouse not in prime location

Thursday, December 3, 2015
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It turns out Amazon's warehouse has brought more than new jobs to Mercer County.

UPPER FREEHOLD, N.J. (WPVI) -- It turns out Amazon's warehouse has brought more than new jobs to Mercer County.

Thousands of employees are creating a total traffic gridlock. It occurs each morning and evening when there's a shift change at the fulfillment center off Old York Road.

The Robbinsville mayor wants something done about the situation.

"If they don't agree to change the shift change schedule and come up with a way to manage the situation, we're going to have no choice, but to shut the building down," Mayor David Fried said.

"It's making it virtually impossible to get in and out of our development to go to school and work every day," Allentown, New Jersey resident Jim Cadigan said.

Amazon is paying for five off-duty officers to direct traffic, but that hasn't solved the problem.

With an extra 2,000 seasonal workers added to the staff of 4,000 already working at the sprawling 1.2 million square foot warehouse, traffic is choked and police report 25 accidents in the area during the last six weeks. Residents are fed up.

"The kids are coming to school late every day. All of our friends can't get to work every day. It's just craziness," Christine Cadigan of Allentown, NJ said.

Trips that should take four or five minutes now require half an hour.

"Amazon needs to step up to the plate and do something about it, if not, I myself, I will not shop at Amazon anymore," Ron Lalla of Upper Freehold, NJ said.

When key Amazon executives failed to show for a meeting about the traffic problem Wednesday, the mayor threatened to go to court and shut the facility down for exceeding its permitted traffic levels.

On Thursday, those executives did meet with Fried and have agreed to stagger the beginning and end of work shifts over a 90 minute period during the holiday rush.

"It's going to take some adjustments for them to do operationally, but I think it's really important for everyone in the area," Fried said.

Amazon says it has already begun to phase in the staggering shifts.

The regional director of operations says there are still traffic challenges, but these changes should make a big difference.