Approaching a corner with an SUV parked at it? Hold on for your life!

By Kevin Canessa

The other day, a good friend of mine and I were driving along Beech Street when we got to Seeley Avenue. We were going to make a left turn to get to The Observer’s office, which is situated at Seeley and Kearny avenues.

As she prepared to make the left onto Seeley, she had to stop for a second look. Parked facing east, on Seeley at the corner was a gigantic truck. Not an box truck — but an enormous SUV-type vehicle.

The reason for the second stop?

It was impossible to see, from her car, any oncoming traffic traveling eastbound on Seeley. The SUV — can’t recall exactly what kind it was — was parked right at the crosswalk.

She slowly eased out onto Seeley, but visibility was obstructed by the SUV that it was almost a crap shoot as to whether we’d be hit by any oncoming traffic. Eventually, we could both see no traffic was coming toward us — but the entire process was nerve-wracking to say the very least.

It’s hardly exclusive to the intersection of Beech Street and Seeley Avenue. In fact, it seems like this scenario happens at almost all intersections where stopping before turning occurs — a large, parked SUV obstructs the ability for drivers to see oncoming traffic.

According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s most current driver’s manual, one may not park within 50 feet of a stop sign — or 25 feet of a crosswalk. The way people park — and the distance from stop signs and crosswalks — hardly seems like 25 or 50 feet.

Have you been caught up in a scenario like this?

If I recall correctly, these parking distances were the very same when I first took my written driving test back in 1991. Then, there weren’t really many SUVs on the road. A compact car being parked within 25 feet of an intersection left more than enough room for drivers to see oncoming traffic at a posted stop sign.

In 2018, where some SUVs are practically the size of boats, that same 25 feet — I wonder if it’s really that much space at some intersections — is a recipe for disaster.

Have you found yourself at an intersection where a parked SUV has made turning conditions difficult? Let us know — and we’ll publish some of the stories we receive. Send your comments to

Speaking of Seeley Avenue — I may have mentioned this in a previous column — but if you ever find yourself on the road at Forest Street, say your prayers. Is there are more difficult intersection in all of Kearny? It’s there that Forest Street doesn’t align completely. To continue to travel on Forest is the equivalent of making a turn, first, in order to continue on it.

If you don’t have 100% clearance on all sides — don’t even think about easing out. You’ll be putting your life on the line. It may not be legally feasible, but if ever there were an intersection that requires a 4-way stop — it’s right there.

That’s all for now. It’s hard to believe it’s already Holy Week. And so to all of our Christian readers and advertisers, we wish you all the happiest and most peaceful Holy Week and Easter. And to all of our Jewish readers and advertisers, we wish you the happiest and holiest Passover, which begins March 30.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.