What a possible transit strike means for your commute

NJ Transit rail operations face the prospect of a system-wide shutdown should the membership of its rail union opt to participate in a work stoppage on March 13. This would result in the complete suspension of NJ Transit rail service, affecting more than 160,000 customers who ride the system on a typical weekday.
In the event of such a stoppage, NJ Transit has developed a contingency plan that would accommodate up to about 38 percent, or about 40,000 seats, of the existing New York-bound customer base.
This contingency plan includes adding capacity to existing New York commuter bus routes in close proximity to rail stations, contracting with private carriers to operate bus service from key regional park-ride locations during weekday peak periods, increasing capacity on its three light rail systems, and maximizing use of the available capacity on PATH and ferry service.
Hoboken spokesperson Juan Melli told the Reporter on Friday, “We are planning to issue information to the public starting on Monday [if the strike is not resolved before the weekend]. It will involve moving the taxi stand and shuttle stop, creating a temporary bus loading area on Hudson Place, and restricting traffic into the Hoboken Terminal area.”
At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, March 2, Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante told councilmembers that he is coordinating with the city to make preparations as well.
The agency urges commuters to consider ferries as an alternate means of travel between New Jersey and New York. Thousands of ferry seats are expected to be available to passengers using ferries as a commuting option. Commuters are encouraged to take advantage of ferry service near the Hoboken PATH station, given the expected passenger increases on PATH trains to New York.
In addition, the NJ Transit No. 126 bus route in Hoboken will operate on a reverse routing system on weekday mornings, beginning at Willow Avenue and 19th Street and running south to Hoboken Terminal, for cross-honoring with PATH and nearby ferry service. During evening commutes, the bus route will go from Hoboken Terminal back to Willow and 19th. Weekend service will operate on its regular route, to and from New York.
In the event of a mid-March NJ Transit rail stoppage, the Port Authority will cross-honor NJ Transit rail passengers on PATH trains as capacity allows, and is preparing at its bridges, tunnels and bus stations to handle an expected increase in riders and vehicles, including buses, where possible.
Commuters should expect significant congestion and are urged to leave extra time at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, PATH rail stations and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Heavier traffic also is anticipated at the George Washington Bridge and Staten Island bridges.
Commuters should consider traveling before or after the rush hour peak times, during off-peak hours, carpooling, and using added bus, light rail and ferry services, particularly to downtown and midtown Manhattan. Employers are asked to consider telecommuting options for employees where feasible, or instead stagger, compress or otherwise modify work schedules to help reduce congestion during peak hours.
The Port Authority encourages anyone attempting to drive into and out of Manhattan during any rail stoppage to carpool and travel at off-peak hours.
On the PATH rail system, efforts will be made to maximize utilization of capacity during the peak weekday morning and evening hours on the Newark to World Trade Center, Journal Square to 33rd Street and the Hoboken to 33rd Street and Hoboken to World Trade Center lines. PATH will be cross-honoring NJ Transit rail passengers on its system. PATH riders needing to switch to uptown subway lines can travel to the PATH World Trade Center Station, which offers easy access to the MTA subway system, to minimize congestion at the Journal Square and Newport stations.
Motorists and bus riders planning to travel to New York from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and to New Jersey from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. should allow additional travel time and expect significant delays and crowded conditions. All inbound and outbound services at the bus terminal could face heavy volume and extensive delays, particularly during the morning and afternoon commutes.
The Lincoln Tunnel Exclusive Bus Lane (XBL), a contra-flow bus lane serving the Port Authority Bus Terminal, will be operational one hour earlier than normal, starting at 5 a.m., to ease typical morning traffic flow into the tunnel and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. It will remain in operation an hour later, until 11 a.m., to further encourage bus carriers and riders to travel outside peak travel hours.
The agency will be adding towing capacity at tunnel and bridge crossings in the event of accidents or vehicle breakdowns that might further impede traffic flow.
The Port Authority will provide additional information on its website, www.panynj.gov, with frequent agency alerts and social media posts to keep its travelers up to date on commuting issues and options.
For information regarding NJ Transit’s contingency plans, please visit www.njtransit.com

51-year-old man found dead in apartment ruled a suicide

The man found dead at his Grand Street apartment in Hoboken a month ago has been identified by law enforcement as 51-year-old Leonid Markevitch. His cause of death has been ruled a suicide, Hudson County Assistant Prosecutor Leo Hernandez told The Hoboken Reporter on Wednesday afternoon.
On Monday Feb. 1, the Hoboken Police Department responded to 706 Grand St., where they found Markevitch lying on the ground and unresponsive, Hernandez said.
Police were originally dispatched on a report of a male in cardiac arrest at approximately 1 a.m. and upon arrival found Markevitch lying on the floor of one of the apartment’s bedrooms. He was pronounced dead shortly after 1:20 a.m., according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office.
According to Hernandez, a post mortem examination conducted on the victim’s body revealed that Markevitch’s cause of death has been determined to be a single gunshot wound to the upper torso. Information over why Markevitch would have committed suicide or if he was depressed was not immediately available.
Some media reports initially said there was a murder at that location, but this was incorrect.

‘Pothole Killer’ is back! You can request streets-in-need

Your bumpy commute may soon get a lot smoother.
With the spring season finally upon us and snowfall largely behind us (fingers crossed), the city of Hoboken will mark the return of the “Pothole Killer” next Monday, March 7.
“It is extremely important to maintain the streets to avoid vehicular damage and collisions and improve pedestrian safety,” Director of Health and Human Services Leo Pellegrini told The Hoboken Reporter.
The ever-popular “Pothole Killer,” which filled a whopping 2,084 potholes last year in 12 days during its debut, will hum through the Hoboken streets for two weeks starting Monday and additional weeks if needed. The specialized spray injection patching machine, which is developed and operated by Pennsylvania-based Patch Management Inc., mixes its own proprietary blend of asphalt and gravel and applies it to potholes via a long nozzle.
Residents can report potholes via www.hoboken311.com or through the Hoboken 311 application for iOS and Android.
“Traditional methods require entire crews of road repair personnel to use shovels, and materials that have a shelf life to repair potholes. This process requires more time and labor,” said Pellegrini. “By using spray patching, the job is done fast, and lasts for years, and is a safer process for the road repair personnel since the repair is completed from inside the spray patcher cab using hand controls.”
The “Pothole Killer” is able to repair an array of roadbed problems beside potholes: utility cuts, alligator cracks, bridge deck repairs, sink holes, damaged concrete and edge erosion.

Police nab three alleged robbers after slew of February muggings

A trio of Jersey City men were arrested earlier this week by police following a spree of alleged February robberies, the Hoboken Police Department said in a press release.
A 17-year-old juvenile was charged with two counts of robbery and two counts of conspiracy, 19-year-old Alexis Diaz was charged with three counts of robbery and three counts of conspiracy, and Rolando Rivera, 21, was charged with two outstanding warrants, three counts of robbery, and three counts of conspiracy.
“I’m proud of the collaborative effort by both uniform and investigation officers to swiftly put an end to this rash of robberies [allegedly] committed by these three individuals from Jersey City,” Hoboken Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante told The Hoboken Reporter.
On Sunday, Feb. 28, police units were dispatched to Fifth and Adams Streets around 11:49 p.m. on a report of a robbery. There, they found an injured victim – whose identity and address were not disclosed – with a laceration to the right side of his head and a cut to his bottom lip, according to the press release.
The victim “was able to describe the three assailants who had just [allegedly] assaulted him and attempted to take his wallet,” the press release says.
After combing the area, Sergeant Corrado Allegretta found and detained a male that fit the description of one of the alleged assailants, the report says, noting that he was later identified as the alleged juvenile assailant. Police Officer Roary Miller and Special Police Officer Christopher Barral found the second alleged assailant Alexis Diaz in the area of the Second Street Hudson Bergen Light Rail.
“Both were transported to headquarters where Diaz provided the detective with a full confession also implicating the other defendants in the prior acts,” the press release reads.
On the next day, Monday, Feb. 29, the press release says, Detectives Andrew Perez and John Quinones prepared warrant complaints for the third alleged defendant, Rolando Rivera – who was later arrested and confessed to taking part in the acts.
The trio allegedly stole a number of items from victims in Hoboken throughout February including a cell phone, cash, laptop, and backpack.
The juvenile was remanded to a Juvenile Detention Center. Both Diaz and Rivera were remanded to the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office. The former was sent with a $30,000 bail and 10 percent option, and the latter with a $15,000 bail.

Forum to discuss future of southwest

The City of Hoboken will host its first Open House to discuss the redevelopment plan for Hoboken’s Southwest Rehabilitation Area that borders Jersey City.
Since 2006, the southwest corridor of the mile square city has been in the spotlight when the Planning Board was asked to determine whether the area was in “need of redevelopment.”
Instead the City Council established the area as in “need of rehabilitation” in June 2012.
“The redevelopment designation provides additional tools like the acquisition of property through the use of eminent domain and the ability to provide long-term tax abatements,” city spokesman Juan Melli explained in a past interview. “A rehabilitation designation only allows the use of short-term tax abatements.”
Since Superstorm Sandy devastated the area, city officials were able to obtain Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovering funding to prepare a plan for the area – which the city authorized Maser Consulting to prepare.
The meeting to discuss the redevelopment plan will be held Thursday, March 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Multi Service Center (124 Grand St.).
The public is invited to view materials for the potential future of the area and provide feedback.

Prepare to scavenge at annual Easter egg hunt

The hunt is almost on. For eggs, that is.
Hoboken Grace Community Church expects crowds of over 3,000 at their annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 19. This year organizers decided to add a second hunt to the mix giving even more kids the opportunity to strut their scavenging skills.
“This event gets bigger and bigger each year. This year, we thought it was time to add a second and we are thrilled for that,” said Chris High, Pastor of Hoboken Grace. “The Easter egg hunt allows us to serve and love our community here in Hoboken in a big way and we’re excited to get to do that twice this year.”
The two hunts, which will be held at Mama Johnson Field (Fourth and Jackson Street) will take place from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
In addition to the egg hunt, attendees will have an array of activities to take advantage of, including games, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting, and arts and crafts.
Registration, available at www.hobokengrace.com, is required this year.

Tenant advocate to host meet-and-greet

Anyone seeking advice on housing matters can take advantage of the city’s tenant advocate at open office hours throughout March and April.
The legal counsel, Andrew Sobel, will be available between 4:30 and 7 p.m. on March 17, 31 and April 14 in the basement of City Hall.
Residents can call Sobel in advance to schedule an appointment at (973) 874-5545.

Library pop-up branch opening

During the Hoboken Public Library’s twelve-day closure, due to renovations, a pop-up branch will open at the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand Street.
The library, located at 500 Park Ave., will be closed from March 7 to March 18. Throughout that time the pop-up library will be open during regular library hours.
In addition to a collection of books for all ages, the space will feature computers, WiFi, a quiet study space, and designated areas for teens and children.
The city will also reserve the Multi-Service Center library branch for future construction closures.

Local author Leyner to premiere ‘fictional autobiography’ at Little City Books

Author and Hoboken resident Mark Leyner will read from his new book Gone with the Mind at Little City Books (100 Bloomfield St.) on Thursday, March 10 at 8 p.m.
The premise of Leyner’s book is described by the bookstore as “utterly unconventional,” “existential” and “bold.”
In the book, Leyner gives a reading in the food court of a mall with an audience merely made up of his mother – who drove him to said mall – and Panda Express employees.
For information and for a list of upcoming events at Little City, visit www.littlecitybooks.com.

Refill please: second ‘Coffee with a Cop’ March 10

Following the success of the first “Coffee with a Cop” last month, the Hoboken Police Department will host another java-filled community event Thursday, March 10.
“Coffee with a Cop brings police officers and the community members they serve together – over coffee – to discuss issues, learn more about each other, and strengthen community ties,” city spokesman Juan Melli said in the event announcement.
At the meeting, which will be held at the Stacks Pancake House (506 Washington St.) from 6 to 7:30 p.m., will be Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante, Mayor Dawn Zimmer, as well as Captain Tory Pasculli, Lieutenant James Marnell, Sergeant Cesar Olavarria, and Office Juan Madera.

Renovations coming to Sinatra Drive

The Hudson County Board of Freeholders approved the county to apply for $2 million in grants through the New Jersey Department of Transportation to re-construct the Sinatra Drive between 12th Street and 14th Street.
“The roadway…runs over the water along Sinatra Drive,” freeholder spokesman Edgar Martinez told the Reporter this past week. “The wood pillars began to erode and caused the roadway to sink.”
Freeholder Chairman Tilo Rivas, Freeholder Anthony Romano, and the Board of Freeholders are committed in their resolve to assist the municipalities of Hudson County with their transportation needs, a press release from the Board of Freeholders said.

Prime Cycle Hosting Benefit for Hudson County CASA

On Saturday, March 12, Prime Cycle will host a Spin for Kids! fundraiser to benefit Hudson County CASA. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., ride with one of your favorite Prime Cycle instructors while supporting a great cause. Enjoy a selection of wine and cheese following the event. The cost is $50 per bike which includes shoes. To register, email Alexa DeRose at alexa@primecycle.com or call (201) 795-0900.
All proceeds directly benefit Hudson County CASA, a non-profit organization advocating for local foster children. CASA and its trained volunteers improve quality of life and ensure that needed services are available while helping to secure safe and permanent homes for each child.

26-year-old man allegedly involved in five-vehicle hit and run

An allegedly intoxicated 26-year-old man was arrested after allegedly fleeing a scene of a five-vehicle car accident near 525 Bloomfield St. in Hoboken on Saturday, Feb. 27, according to a press release from the Hoboken Police Department.
Daniel Burgos, of North Bergen, was charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving and driving while intoxicated in a school zone.
Hoboken Police Officers responded to reports of a car accident involving five vehicles in Hoboken around 2:35 a.m., the press release from Hoboken Sgt. Edgardo Cruz said.
“Witnesses advised officers the vehicle had left the scene and described a white BMW and given a license plate number,” the press release says. “It was later found in North Bergen parked outside the registered residence.”
In the press release, Cruz says that at the residence, Burgos’ mother allowed officers inside to speak to her son who “could not remember the incident.” Burgos allegedly failed a sobriety test and was transported to headquarters where he was given four summonses and released to a “responsibly party,” according to the release.

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