HOBOKEN – Up in arms last week, residents criticized aspects of the Washington Street redesign plan which the city says is designed to improve safety and boost business on Hoboken’s “most dangerous corridor.” Commuters explicitly knocked the plan’s perceived objective of curtailing double-parking and adding protected bike lanes.
“Based on community feedback, it is clear that there is a major concern and fear of narrowing the roadway and the addition of bike lanes on Washington Street,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer wrote in a letter to Hoboken City Council members dated Friday, Feb. 12.
Instead of making the bike lanes mandatory, the “flexible plan” will now make them contingent on future discussions. Many commuters at a meeting last Monday protested that aspects of the plan – such as adding synchronized traffic lights, replacing water mains and repaving the road – should not be held back in order to install bike lanes on Washington Street.
Mayor Dawn Zimmer believes, according to the letter, that the “flexible design option will [provide] more time to discuss the bike lanes.”
Concerns from residents included the inherent danger of bike lanes on Hoboken’s most busy corridor, the hazard of car passengers exiting their car into a bike lane, and the fear of cyclists simply ignoring the bike lanes and opting for the waterfront or sidewalks.
Although most residents condemned the bike lanes on Washington Street, a handful did support them saying they would improve business and take bikes off sidewalks.
City officials say Washington Street has had more than 300 car accidents between 2013 and 2015, making it the most dangerous street in Hoboken.
The plan, which still calls for the narrowing of Washington Street from 17 feet of travel lanes into 11 feet, will now either stripe for bike lanes at a later time or have no bike lanes at all. A full reading of the resolution can be found at www.hobokennj.org/docs/council/respack16/2.17.16.respac.pdf.
The excerpt for the resolution concerning the plan (Resolution 1), which will be voted on during tomorrow’s City Council meeting (Feb. 17) at 7 p.m., says “the final decision on the striping plan could be adjusted to accommodate protected bike lanes during the construction process with support from the City Council.”
Regarding the bike lanes, the resolution states, “all concrete bump-outs and roadway elements shall be designed in a manner so that a future Class 1 bike lane could be installed without removal of concrete improvements.”
Class 1 bike lanes have the following design: sidewalk – bike lane – painted buffer – parked cars – vehicle lane. Class 2 and 3 bike lanes are located on the street. Read our full story by searching “’No bike lanes on Washington Street’” at www.hudsonreporter.com. – Steven Rodas