Washington Street redesign plan redesigned

Mile-square residents and business owners have less than three weeks to find out whether a $15 million plan to redesign the city’s main corridor on Washington Street is approved. The city’s 2014 plan (with urban design group RBA) to reframe the 17-block-long street was nixed when business owners expressed concerns over the reduction of parking spaces.
The new plan, which the city has drawn up with T&M Associates, will not eliminate any parking spaces. It will include and address pedestrian safety, a moderated traffic flow, a reduction in motor vehicle accidents, and commercial loading availability.
“Washington Street is Hoboken’s most dangerous corridor, with more than 300 crashes between 2013 and 2015, including a pedestrian fatality. The final design incorporates complete streets principles and builds upon the conceptual design developed in 2014 through an extensive community planning process,” city officials said in an announcement Thursday, Jan. 28.
Locals are invited to a community meeting on Monday, Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers to discuss the final design for the Washington Street plan.
Last year the City Council approved a $5 million low-interest loan from the state to install new water lines along Washington Street. The city will now try to amend that loan to include an additional $10 million for the comprehensive redesign plan.
Infrastructure, as well as repaving the road, is still a key component of the plan.
“The 100-year-old water main will be replaced, green infrastructure will be incorporated to capture storm water runoff and alleviate flooding as part of the Rebuild by Design strategy, and conduit for the backbone of a microgrid will be installed to improve energy resiliency for critical infrastructure,” the city announcement continued.
The plan would include complete streets design providing safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders, pedestrian countdown timers, curb extensions, ADA ramps, new brighter street lights, and new loading zones.
“Parking capacity is preserved by increasing the angle of parking on the east side of the street (uptown) and relocating fire hydrants to corners as part of the water main replacement,” reads a bullet from the city’s Nixle alert.
In efforts to become a more bike-friendly city – following last year’s launch of a bike share program – protected bicycle lanes would also be part of the plan. Instead of directly on the road, protected bike lanes are positioned off the street curb. The “sidewalks for bikes” would not mix with bustling traffic.
In the past the mayor has cited New York City’s successful protected bike lane initiative, saying that business increased by nearly 50 percent when bike lanes are in place according to a study. With parking spaces scarce in Hoboken, an “unspoken truth” in the city is that double parking is necessary for those needing to make a pit stop.
A resolution to vote on the final design of the city’s Washington Street redesign plan is on the agenda for the Wednesday, Feb. 17 City Council meeting. Send comments to Steven Rodas sodas@hudsonreporter.com or send a letter to editorial@hudsonreporter.com.

Pet owners, take note

Attention Hoboken pet owners: Dog license renewals are extended through May 31. In addition a rabies clinic will be held May, with the date TBA. For updates sign up to alerts at www.hobokennj.org/alerts.

Have your say about the 2016 ‘Movies Under the Stars’ selections

Amid freezing temperatures, the idea of lounging outside for an outdoor movie and picnic may seem outlandish. But summer will be here before you know it.
The city of Hoboken is asking for the public’s help in determining what they will feature in the 2016 Movies Under the Stars summer series at Pier A Park.
The films will be screened for free on Wednesdays in June and July at 9 p.m. and August at 8 p.m.
Those interested in taking out a blanket or lawn chair and enjoying a feature film can select up to 10 films from a variety of categories including current Golden Globe & Academy Award nominees, family friendly films, documentaries, popular classics and even a Frank Sinatra category in celebration of his centennial last year.
Vote now by visiting www.hobokennj.org/departments/human-services/cultural-affairs/movies-under-the-stars-survey.

EMT who helped woman give birth to blizzard baby calls it a ‘great experience’

Three emergency workers from the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps helped deliver a baby girl at a Hoboken home during Saturday’s blizzard.
“It was definitely a great experience. It was my first time seeing anything like this, especially in a blizzard,” said Michael Vales, one of the three EMTs who responded. Vales has worked in Hoboken for the past three years.
The harsh road conditions did not allow the new mother, at 12th and Willow Streets, to trek over to the hospital on Saturday, Jan. 23. The call came in at about 4:40 p.m. and the baby girl was born around 5 p.m.
Vales, who was joined by fellow EMTs Scarlett Guajala and Anthony Grasso, said the successful delivery would not have been possible without the help of JCMC ALS workers, who were also on sight.
The name of the baby girl (if it was a boy perhaps he’d be Jonas?) and the mother were not made public. But they were later taken to the Hoboken University Medical Center and are doing well, according to published reports.

High school ‘congresspeople’ excel at San Francisco conference

Twelve “delegates” from Hoboken High School’s Harvard Model Congress Club attended the 2016 Harvard Model Congress conference in San Francisco, assuming the role of real life congressmen, senators, and government members.
The students include Amanda Hichez, Gianaly Santiago, Angeline Veloce, Arianna Santiago, Angel Lizardi, Oscar De La Rosa, Willie Allen, Alfredo Veloce, Nicholas Sobolov, Ray Post, Osama Assla, and Christofer Johnson.
At the conference, which was held from Jan. 15 to 18 and marked the first time junior high school students participated, every student authored, co-authored, or acted as a signatory to at least one bill.
“I enjoyed the competitive nature of the debate, but learned so much about how to prepare for and adapt to situations on the fly,” said High School senior Alfredo Veloce, who won an HMCSF “Outstanding Delegate” Award for his part as an economist on the National Economic Council.
“Joining HMC has been great for building confidence, public speaking skills, and I love the practicality of everything. We’re learning about the political process and how to stay current on what’s going on in our government, and I think that’s really important.”

Fire fight turned drug bust

Firefighters responding to an active blaze at 512 Park Ave. on Thursday, Jan. 21 got more than they bargained for.
Officers clearing the building around 3:04 p.m. at the fire scene discovered 25 pounds of marijuana, items used to make and package drugs, and over $40,000 in suspected proceeds from drug sales, according to a press release from Hoboken Police Sgt. Edgardo Cruz.
As police officers cleared the building they noticed Ossining, N.Y. native Jose Piedrahita exiting the building with “blisters on his forehead, along with soot on his face and body,” the press release said. He had first and second degree burns.
Medical personal tended to Piedrahita, as backup was called in including the New Jersey State Police “to help dismantle the operation due to the volatile substances.”
No other injuries were reported at the scene.
According to the press release, Piedrahita, 22, was later charged with maintaining/operating a dangerous substance production facility, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and possession to distribute within 500 feet of park.
A warrant complaint was issued for the owner of the apartment, Daniel Altomare, who subsequently turned himself in to answer for the charges.
Piedrahita and Altomare were transported to central judiciary processing separately for their first appearance.

Non-profit to host health and enrollment fair

HOPES Community Action Partnership Inc., a local non-profit, will host a health and enrollment fair on Saturday, Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Health professionals will be on hand to offer free health screenings and Certified Application Counselors will help anyone interested in applying for health coverage.
A number of free screenings will be available to complete free cervical, blood glucose, colorectal and PSA screenings, breast exams, and HIV testing.
No health insurance is needed to participate but anyone interested is required to bring proof of citizenship and residency, proof of income, social security cards, and photo identification.
The health and enrollment fair will be held at the Rue Building at 301 Garden St.

Little League registration

Aspiring Little League players between the ages of 7 to 12 (boys and girls) can now register to play in the upcoming baseball season at www.hobokennj.org. Major league registration (9 to 12) closes March 6 and minor league registration (7 and 8) closes March 13. Once registered, all new players must attend a tryout date between Feb. 21 and March 13 at the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand St.
Draft days will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 7 for major league players and Monday, March 14 for minor league players. For tryout dates and more information visit the city’s website.
Younger children can also sign up for instructional baseball via the site.

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