City to hold public workshops on redesigning certain neighborhoods

The city received last year $240,000 in federal funding for improving safety along Newark Street between River Street and Washington Street as well as $2 million in federal funding to improve Observer Highway. Due to the time-sensitive nature of the funds, community input is being sought so the city can move forward with the projects. The city also recently received a grant from the NJDOT to work with a consultant to develop a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
This Monday, July 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs will host a “Newark Street Safety Re-Design Community Workshop” at City Hall.
On Tuesday, Aug. 3 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Zimmer, Sacs, and consultants from The RBA Group will host a “Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Public Visioning Meeting.” All meetings are open to the public.

Traffic slower on 15th Street

In response to resident concerns about excessive vehicle speeds along 15th Street between Hudson and Garden Streets, the city recently implemented inexpensive measures that they say have reduced speeds by up to 8 percent.
The improvements include repainting the “stop” letter markings and crosswalks, and adding shoulder striping to narrow the travel lane. The purpose of this last measure was to reduce vehicle speeds along that section of roadway.
Vehicle speed studies conducted before and after the improvements found an 8 percent decrease in eastbound average vehicle speeds and a 5 percent decrease in westbound vehicle speeds.
“Paint can be surprisingly effective and cost thousands less than other options,” said Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs. “This is a first step at calming traffic and improving the safety of the street, and it should go hand-in-hand with enhanced enforcement efforts.”

Christie signs annual limit on property taxes

Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation last week that will cap local property tax increases at 2 percent. Under the new law, towns won’t be able to raise property taxes in their annual budgets by more than 2 percent unless they get voter approval to do so. The law does allow some exceptions, however. For example, increases in health care premiums are not subject to the cap.
Originally the governor had proposed a constitutional amendment to cap local property taxes at 2.5 percent. Christie’s proposal included only one exemption. The Democratic-controlled Assembly and Senate proposed a 2.9 percent cap that included several exemptions. The Democratic proposals also made the cap a law, but not a constitutional amendment.
Ultimately, the two sides compromised. The cap was dropped to 2 percent, includes more exemptions than Christie had wanted, but fewer than the Dems’ proposals. Christie also abandoned the requirement that the cap be a constitutional amendment.
Days after the compromise bill was signed by the governor, the state announced that costs for municipal workers in the state health plan will rise 11.7 percent next year, according to the Star-Ledger newspaper. Since health insurance premiums are among the exceptions to the tax cap, analysts believe the 11.7 percent increase will be passed on to voters.
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer issued the following statement in response: “As I stated when Governor Christie visited Hoboken recently, there’s nothing partisan about being smart and responsible with the money entrusted to us by our citizens. I thank the leadership in both parties and our Hoboken representatives in the legislature, Sen. Brian Stack, Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, and Assemblywoman Caridad Rodriguez, for supporting this historic property tax legislation.”

‘Chick lit’ and free cupcakes at library event

Want to learn how to get your writing published, or ask questions of two Hoboken-based novelists who did so? Local authors Kate Rockland and Caren Lissner will be featured in the Hoboken Public Library’s “chick lit night” on July 22. Refreshments will be provided, including cupcakes from local bakery Sweet. Coffee will be available from Empire Coffee. The authors will read from their recently released novels and answer questions about getting published.
Rockland’s novel, “Falling is Like This,” debuted in May. It follows the exploits of a twentysomething music writer who breaks up with her live-in boyfriend and falls for a rock star. For more information on the novel, see www.katerockland.com.
Lissner, who is also the editor of the Reporter newspapers, saw her successful 2003 “chick lit” novel, Carrie Pilby, re-released this past July 1 for teenagers. The novel centers on a confused 19-year-old genius who graduates early from college and has no idea how to fit in among her peers in New York City. For more information on the novel, see www.carenlissner.com.
Both novels can also be found at Amazon.com and BN.com, and at some local libraries.
The event will start at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, on the second floor of the library, 400 Park Ave. Call (201) 420-2347 for more information.

Hudson Restaurant Week returns with 12 new eateries

Summer is here, and that means dining out and the return of Hudson Restaurant Week, a bi-annual culinary celebration of the county’s premier dining destinations.
Hudson Restaurant Week, which takes place from July 26 through Aug. 6, provides diners with a variety of local selections and lots of great deals. According to business owners, Restaurant Week helps during a slow time of year by bringing in new customers and providing an opportunity to showcase their menus.
Twelve new restaurants are participating this year. Eateries involved include Chart House, Dino & Harry’s, Hamilton Inn, Clam Broth House, Amanda’s, Casa Dante, South City Grill, 3Forty Grill, Zylo, Edwards Steakhouse, and Light Horse Tavern.
Attendees looking for a taste of culture can find diverse offerings from ethnic restaurants such as Indian food from Amiya in Jersey City, Thai options from More, Sky Thai and Sawadee, and even Hibachi at Teppan Bar & Grill.
For a complete list of participating restaurants and menus visit www.hudsonrestaurantweek.com.

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