Once, when residents decided to make Hoboken their home, they would eventually give up their cars, living without their own personal transportation in the walkable city. I owned a car in Hoboken for twelve years before I reluctantly gave it up. The pain of street parking and the ever-increasing parking lot fees forced me to call it a day and I parted with my car in 1999 when Hoboken’s population was smaller and more parking spots were actually available. In contrast, a typical scenario today would be four roommates sharing an apartment, each bringing a car with them from the suburbs and consequently adding to the parking problem.
If you happen to need a car, or are flush enough to pay for parking somewhere or don’t mind continually circling for a parking space on the street, then you might be interested in how you will navigate your vehicle in the future with the slated redesign of our main drag in town – Washington Street. I wrote eight letters in this newspaper discussing the various changes to Washington Street contained in the final “Complete Streets” Redesign plan that RBA, a firm hired to redesign it, presented to the public in October 2014. I found that many aspects of that plan would have unforeseen and problematic consequences such as jeopardizing the shop owners’ ability to unload supplies, limiting tenants’ ability to move into apartments on Washington Street, bus riders having to stand too close to bike lanes to catch a bus, complicating how snow will be removed with curb extensions and planters eating up space, difficulties backing in to the angled parking uptown, and possible disruptions of the traffic flow because of a narrowing of the actual allowable traffic lanes that would slow down traffic on Washington Street and prevent a driver from stopping briefly to run an errand or to drop off an elderly parent in front of the doctor’s office.
On Monday, February 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall, there will be a community meeting to discuss a new version of the Washington Street redesign plan which was drawn up by T & M Associates. If you are curious as to how you will be able to drive down this main thoroughfare in the future, it would behoove you to attend this meeting. I read in the Jersey Journal’s February 1st article on this new plan that the old plan’s two-lane bike track will become two separate bike lanes, one lane on each side of Washington Street.
The cost of this new plan has increased one million dollars to $15 million and will be voted upon by your City Council as early as this month. See if you think it is worth that much money to make all of the changes to Washington Street that will ultimately slow traffic flow, inhibit some shopping, and possibly induce road rage. Are you ready to give up your car yet?