UNION COUNTY, NJ — The “Blue Line” movement that many towns in New Jersey are using to show support for police might be in violation of federal codes, according to federal officials. In the past few months, several local municipalities have chosen to support the national Blue Line movement, which shows support for police and memorializes those killed in the line of duty, by painting blue divider lines on public roadways in their jurisdictions.
Last month, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration stated that the blue lines are in violation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. They claim the practice can ultimately endanger the lives of drivers and pedestrians. They also stated that the only acceptable use of blue paint on the roads is to mark handicapped parking spaces.
“We appreciate and understand the efforts by local governments and others that convey support for law enforcement officers,” Public Affairs Specialist Neil Gaffney of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration told LocalSource in an email. “However, the yellow lines down the center of a road are meant to control traffic and modification of that marking could cause confusion, accidents and fatalities. Our No. 1 priority is the safety of all drivers.”
Despite the fact that the safety of the lines is being questioned, Clark township has stated they have no intention of removing the blue lines.
“Assemblyman Jon Bramnick is putting a bill in support of the blue lines at the state level and Congressman Leonard Lance is doing the same at the federal level,” Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso told LocalSource over the phone. “I’m confident that they will both be successful. Who wouldn’t support it? I think it’s a proper way to show respect to our police department and the communities that want to do it should keep them. I think there are many reasons it should stay. As far as I know they aren’t in violation of any laws.”
Roselle agreed that they have no intention of removing the blue lines from their roads, either.
“We thought about doing something when we first heard about the controversy,” Roselle Business Administrator David Brown told LocalSource over the phone. “Then we decided we were going to leave them. We have no plans to change anything.”
Roselle shares similar ideas to Clark, and believes that the blue lines should stay to honor the police department.
“The borough of Roselle continues to have an excellent, supportive relationship with our police department and we make sure that the good work they do is recognized,” Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau told LocalSource in an email.
“Because there is concern regarding traffic safety at this time, I respectfully look to our chief and our public safety committee to determine if the blue line is the best way to demonstrate our ongoing support of our police. I look forward to their recommendations on the issue. I strongly support any positive, safe way that we as a community can show our solidarity in support of our police and other public safety responders.”