Public input needed for future changes to Washington Street

Dear Editor:
At the Feb. 17 City Council meeting, Hoboken businesses had their day. United in their worries regarding the ‘Complete Streets’ Redesign for Washington Street, they voiced their concerns and were heard so that any eventual changes to Washington Street will not harm their future survival and they will be able to continue to serve residents and visitors alike. Bike lanes will be painted alongside the current traffic lanes downtown and within the roadway uptown, where Shared Lane Markings (“sharrows”), will be painted in the road, due to the angled parking which will remain, to indicate a shared traffic lane for bicycles and automobiles.
The business owners’ determination was a genuine desire to make sure that commerce upon our main street remains vibrant, that delivery trucks will have the access to easily deposit goods for the commerce to exist, and that customers will be able to easily shop at their establishments or eat in their restaurants. This is because temporary and permanent parking will still be possible for brief stops and regular shopping in the future.
This is the beginning of a long road to correcting the serious problems on Washington Street including antiquated water mains and pipes which are much deeper than the gas pipes, an uneven and patched roadway that must be leveled out and resurfaced, and inadequate lighting sitting on poles which are too low for the residents of Washington Street apartments. Years ago many people objected to the low lighting poles because the glare of the bright lights was shining into their homes. After an extensive back and forth, the problem was dealt with by lowering the street lights’ intensity so now they just ‘glow’ without giving sufficient lighting for the street traffic. New, taller light poles, with brighter lights and fewer poles per block, are needed to make the street lighting brighter without negatively impacting the lives of the residents. These and many other aspects of the proposed future changes to Washington Street must be discussed fully since there is a very large cost to all of this work and whatever is done to Washington Street will affect everyone in town.
It is therefore important that as many citizens as possible attend the public meeting on Thursday, April 14th, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand St. Taxpayer money, grants, new safety measures on Washington Street, fire hydrants, drainage improvements, curb extensions, and the infamous water mains will be discussed and comments will be taken from the public.
Let us do this right the first time. Public input is necessary. Please take the time to come out to hear what the city plans to do and how they plan to cover the costs and to voice your concerns. This is your city, your street, your businesses, restaurants, and residences on the busiest and, thankfully, widest street in town. Be a part of the process.
Mary Ondrejka

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