It was once a quiet street… Nearby town asks GPS makers to fix mistake

A global tracking snafu recently had truck drivers snaking through Secaucus in search of short cuts to the industrial district, causing them to accidentally enter Fifth Street, a dead-end road, only to have to turn around.

The Secaucus snafu has become nearly urban legend on the internet, alongside stories about a British driver who followed her GPS directions into a river and accounts of an Italian man whose navigation system led him onto train tracks.

“It has certainly been a nuisance to the people living on Fifth Street,” said Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell. He said his office has received periodic complaints from residents for the past year. “Parents who send their children to Clarendon [Elementary School] have also been concerned about increased traffic being so close to the school,” he said. Truck drivers who rely on navigation systems may be as frustrated as residents. On the morning of Feb. 29, truck driver Stephen Moss was trying to get to Enterprise Avenue South and was rather annoyed when his TomTom let him down. He was forced to make a U-turn on Fifth Avenue.

“Am I still on Fifth?” he asked a reporter. “I thought this would put me all the way through.”

Moss then plugged new information into the same navigation system that stranded him in the first place.

A solution is in the offing: Mayor Elwell said the town has requested that GPS maps be updated so that drivers know Fifth is not a through street.

Such revisions, however, take time.

It may be a while before Fifth Street residents stop seeing trucks and before deliverymen can get to the industrial area without a hassle.

Until then, residents can start taking bets on whether this episode lands Secaucus in the next edition of Weird New Jersey magazine.


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