BAYONNE, NJ – Marcella Traina was 13 years old when she first encountered a problem with the 12th Street and Avenue C intersection. As she crossed the street, she had to run away from a passing car, just barely escaping injury.

Ever since that moment, Traina, a junior public policy major at Rutgers University, has worked to push the City of Bayonne to install a traffic light at the intersection, including a petition process that began in February 2017, a city press release said.

On Monday, Traina’s hard work came to fruition as the city inaugurated new traffic lights, walk/don’t walk signals and handicap ramps at the intersection.

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“It’s very exciting to see it’s all finally completed,” Traina said at the ceremony where she activated the traffic lights.

Traina saw the need for the traffic lights because the neighborhood includes two schools: All Saints Catholic Academy and John M. Bailey School.

 “I would like to thank Marcella Traina for her persistent effort to obtain a traffic light for the 12th Street intersection,” Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said, according to a press release. “Thanks to her concern, traffic safety in the neighborhood will be improved for years to come.”

The new traffic lights were approved by the state last fall after City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski worked with Traina to complete a “traffic analysis.”

According to the city press release, traffic lights in each direction on Avenue C and 12th Street, as well as eight walk/don’t walk pedestrian signals throughout the intersection. Additionally, the project included bringing the handicap ramps around the intersection up to the latest code.

According to Ashe-Nadrowski, the state has final approval over local traffic lights, so the city had to “build a case for the traffic signals by using statistics about traffic volume and accidents at the intersection.”

During their research, Ashe-Nadrowski said they found an accident “some years ago” where “a woman was killed by an oncoming car.” However, while that helped the case, Ashe-Nadrowski said the presence of two schools in the neighborhood was the crucial factor.

“It was a safety issue,” the Council President said.