The project called Washington Street Redesign is a very expensive (current estimate $15 million) and complex proposal that leaves much to be desired.
There are priorities to be set in completing a major repair of Washington Street. Is a complete “redesign” necessary?
Street lighting, traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalk signals all must be enhanced for safety sake. This is a worthwhile and important part of the plan.
Repaving is desperately needed after underground infrastructure repairs are completed.
However, businesses and residents will suffer lost parking and a physical prohibition of double parking due to shrinking vehicle lanes but, most importantly, the inability to pull over to let an emergency vehicle pass. The big winners will be bike riders who get their own designated lanes and a curb or barrier the length of Washington Street.
The “redesign” plan has bells, whistles and costs more than Hoboken taxpayers should be asked to pay for.
Let’s fix the lighting and repave Washington Street and keep the already too-scarce parking grid intact. If the Administration is intent on adding a bike lane to the most heavily-trafficked street in Hoboken, why not put it in the street in a marked lane instead of creating a space within a barrier?
Hoboken has one of the most beautiful, expansive boulevards in the country, why create a plan to shrink it?
Adding all the features the Redesign suggests will:
-tie up traffic by narrowing the street to only two lanes of moving cars.
-leave no room to discharge passengers in front of their homes. (Even then, they would have to scale a concrete bike lane wall, not practical for seniors and the disabled.)
-prevent customers from being dropped off at the front doors of businesses they choose to frequent.
-create trucking gridlock as delivery trucks will only be permitted in two limited spots per block and only before 2:00 p.m. What about FedEx and UPS?
-reduce existing parking by increasing the length of bus stops.
-prevent snow plows from rapidly removing snow.
-pose safety issues for emergency responders whose vehicles would be blocked by cars unable to pull over. The plan has extra room for bus stops but not for 8 ½ foot wide fire trucks!
I hope citizens of Hoboken carefully review the Redesign plan and let their council people know of their concerns before a specially scheduled meeting of the council on Monday, February 8 and a vote on February 15.