Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Critical Municipal Garage Bond Ordinance passes 8-0!

The City Council vote on the bond to provide the funds to give the city a contingency should the sale of the Municipal Garage fail to materialize, passed tonight in an 8-0 vote.

Just as both Councilman Russo and Councilwoman Castellano spoke agreeing with each other not to vote to approve the bond, Councilwoman Mason opted to break the direction in the vote and agreed to the no cost bond ordinance.  The cost to taxpayers for delaying the bond's approval was put at $160,000.  Additional interests costs was pegged at $600,000 annual and Councilwoman Carol Marsh pointed out that would be a long term annual cost.  Even so, the bond's passage requiring six votes was very much in doubt.

The possibility is now very much alive Hoboken may have an option to see the Municipal Garage remain where it is and not need a new home.

There was a great deal of discussion on many issues, many peripheral to the issue at hand on the bond ordinance. In the end Councilwoman Mason approved the no cost contingency for the city and did the right thing for Hoboken.

Thank you.

Councilwoman Beth Mason listening to the discussion leading into the bond ordinance vote during Wednesday night's City Council meeting.

Related: Hoboken is also up with the story on the vote for the bond ordinance.

Hertz makes Hoboken No. 1

Press release from Hertz announces city partnership


Formal Kick-Off Takes Place Wednesday, June 16 at 4:30 PM ET

WHAT: The City of Hoboken, New Jersey and Connect by Hertz are launching "Corner Cars" -- the country's first true city-wide car-sharing program. With the roll-out of this program, more than 90 percent of Hoboken residents will live within a 5-minute walk of a car-sharing vehicle location. The first phase of this program is anticipated to remove more than 750 vehicles from Hoboken's crowded streets.

“We’re proud to partner with Hertz to offer our residents the first true city-wide car-sharing program in the country,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This creative program will save residents thousands of dollars compared to owning a car and eliminate the stress and hassle of looking for parking in our city.”

WHO: The formal kick-off of “Corner Cars,” Hoboken’s new city-wide car-sharing service powered by Connect by Hertz, will kick off as Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs take a vehicle for the inaugural drive. City Council Members, Hertz representatives, other local elected officials, and community residents will also be in attendance.

WHERE: The intersection of 2nd St. and Harrison St. – the location of one of 21 car-sharing locations.

WHEN: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm ET

CONTACT: Nicole Chismar / 646-935-4256 /

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The "Corner Cars" program operated by Connect by Hertz is Hoboken's city-wide car-sharing service which allows residents to rent a vehicle by the hour, day or week. Rates start at $5 per hour and include gas, roadside assistance, navigation system, and insurance.

More than 90 percent of the Hoboken population will be within a 5-minute walk of at least one car-sharing location. Locations were selected through public input and by City Council members representing individual wards.

Related: featured a story with the program's launch.


Hertz's Corner Cars first ever city wide program first in Hoboken!

City of Hoboken announces:

More than 90% of residents within a 5 minute walk of a vehicle location.

The City of Hoboken, New Jersey and Connect by Hertz kicked off "Corner Cars" -- the country's first true city-wide car-sharing program on June 16th. With the roll-out of this program, more than 90 percent of Hoboken residents will live within a 5 minute walk of a car-sharing vehicle location. 

“We’re proud to partner with Hertz to offer our residents the first true city-wide car-sharing program in the country,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This creative program will save residents thousands of dollars compared to owning a car and eliminate the stress and hassle of looking for parking in our city.”

Based on statistics from existing car-sharing service in Hoboken which shows that each car-sharing vehicle removes 17.6 other cars from the roads, the first phase of this program is anticipated to remove more than 750 vehicles from Hoboken's crowded streets.

"Instead of taking on millions of dollars in taxpayer debt for structured parking, residents who switch to car-sharing will save thousands of dollars,” said Transportation and Parking Director Ian Sacs. “It’s the 21st Century solution to contemporary urban parking woes.”

Residents may visit for information on the program and instructions for signing up.

Hoboken’s Corner Cars program should serve as a nationwide model for urban transportation planning – giving 90% of residents access to a shared car helps the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the economy by reducing congestion and the need for parking,” said Zoe Baldwin of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

The Corner Cars program operated by Connect by Hertz allows residents to rent a vehicle by the hour, day or week. Rates start at $5 per hour and include gas, roadside assistance, navigation system, and insurance. Connect has agreed to waive the annual membership fee forHoboken residents for two years. Residents who sign up and use the keyword “Hoboken” will receive a $75 credit on their account (a one-time $25 application fee applies). Residents who surrender a parking permit at the Hoboken Parking Utility will receive a special code to use during registration that will allow them to receive a $100 credit instead.

“The Corner Cars project brings to Hoboken the very first imaginative attempt to get the city away from building and trying to maintain expensive multi-story garages to a program that will be accessible to almost everyone both physically and financially,” said Helen Manogue, Coordinator of the Hoboken Quality of Life Coalition and its Committee for a Green Hoboken. “The Quality of Life Coalition is an enthusiastic supporter of this program. We urge Hoboken residents to consider not only using the program, but also thinking seriously about giving up a car that sits in a garage all week or that has to be moved at least once weekly. This is a new beginning in transportation.”
Steve Fahmie, a Hoboken resident and founding member of the bike and pedestrian advocacy group Hoboken Sweet Streets, sold his car in 2008 and switched to car-sharing ever since.

I’m no longer bothered with car maintenance, insurance payments, or registration renewals,” said Fahmie. “Most pleasing of all: no more fruitless searches for a Tuesday spot when moving my car for Wednesday street cleaning.”

A community forum to discuss transportation issues with residents originally scheduled for Thursday, June 17th will instead be held on Wednesday, June 23th from 7 to 9 pm at the Jubilee Center601 Jackson Street. Mayor Zimmer and Director Sacs will be in attendance to discuss transportation issues and concerns with residents.

Car-sharing locations were selected through public input and by City Council members representing individual wards.

Residents with questions about the Corner Cars program can visit, email or call the Department of Transportation and Parking at 201-653-1919.

Car-sharing Benefits Summary

Many Hoboken residents own a car but commute daily by transit, bus, bike or walking. They move their car for street cleaning or pay high rates to park in a garage. They use their car for groceries, to visit family, or to go to the beach. Other than that, their car sits around for days or weeks costing money, getting old, and losing value. "Corner Cars" is the alternative that makes a car available to residents whenever they need it -- whether it's for an hour or a week -- and only costs for the time it's used -- as little as $5 per hour. With Corner Cars, residents could save thousands of dollars per year, never have to worry about finding parking again, and have the convenience of a car always parked nearby in a reserved space.

For car-sharing members
Members will enjoy the convenience of never having to worry about finding a parking spot ever again and having a reserved parking space a short walk from home. Those who switch from car ownership can save thousands of dollars per year.

For low-income residents
Some residents may need the mobility of a personal vehicle but lack the ability to own one. Car-sharing is an affordable alternative with rates as low as $5 per hour -- gas, roadside assistance, navigation system, and insurance included.

For other residents
Everyone benefits from car-sharing. Fewer cars on the streets means parking is easier for everyone. Less traffic means safer streets for children, less noise, less pollution, and less wear and tear on roads. Even those who own a car can benefit from using car-sharing vehicles for emergencies or when a car is being repaired.

For new/prospective residents
Car-sharing will add to the variety of multi-modal transportation options that make Hoboken an attractive place to live. With all the transportation options available -- commuter rail, light rail, bus, ferries, our expanded Hop shuttle, new bike lanes and additional bike racks parking, and now our new city-wide car-sharing program, we hope new residents that move to Hoboken will reconsider whether they need to bring a car here at all.

For property owners
Real estate listings often highlight their proximity to public transit options. Now, those without private parking can similarly point to nearby car-sharing spaces as a convenient alternative and make their home more marketable.

For taxpayers
Instead of spending millions of dollars building structured parking, the first phase of the car-sharing program is expected to remove 750 cars from our streets, having the same effect on Hoboken's parking situation, but at no cost to taxpayers. Fewer cars on the streets means less wear and tear on roads, and that means fewer potholes to fix and less frequent repaving needed.

Municipal Garage Bond Ordinance - redo

Once again, the bond ordinance to protect the city's interests on the existing Municipal Garage is front and center at tonight's City Council meeting.  Doing so could lead to the garage staying where it is but some people on both sides of the City Council table don't appear to like that potential option happening either.

There will be lots of questions and discussion also about the new locations as well but let's state the obvious once again - one has nothing to do with the other.

Or perhaps Councilwoman Mason will continue to tell us otherwise.  Please don't.

Rock group, The Fixx speaks about the deception in one thing leading to another.  But Beth you don't have to, just do what's right for Hoboken.

The Jolly Green Giant will be back covering the meeting live with the all powerful Cover It Live software adding humor to what could be a trying evening.

See you there at 7:00 -


Former Mason campaign manager: Walk the walk Beth

The Hudson Reporter posted an article on a letter submitted to their letters section from Councilwoman Beth Mason's former campaign manager Jake Stuiver questioning her actions on public discourse and erroneous statements regarding using funds from a proposed bond ordinance to move the Municipal Garage.

In addition, the letter the former campaign manager in the Mason for Mayor campaign last spring spells out a number of problematic inconsistencies in the councilwoman's actions in poisoning the environment of any voices counter to hers:

Further exacerbating the ugliness of our political environment is Ms. Mason’s penchant for issuing misleading statements about her council colleagues and many important issues. For example, her statements about the municipal garage have been designed to scare people into thinking it might get moved to Eighth and Hudson Streets, when she knows full well that the bond ordinance has nothing to do with moving it anywhere, and in fact the money cannot be used to do so. Publicly attacking Council President Peter Cunningham’s wife -- while the Cunninghams were away attending her mother’s funeral, no less -- was also unfortunate.

HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver at the special City Council meeting Sunday.

Read the whole letter at the Hudson Reporter.  

A reader notes the whole Hudson Reporter site is down.  Until it gets back you can read the whole letter here at the jump below.  Update: The Hudson Reporter is back up so MSV has removed the letter other than the excerpt above.

Pier C this summer: It ain't over till it's over

Pier C is in the news recently and in this case, it wasn't good news to hear the announced July 1 opening date would not be met in time for the summer. Yesterday, Mayor Dawn Zimmer was joined by other city officials, parents and a flock of children to do a dry run on the site and give a first hand try out to the equipment.

Both Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Director of Environmental Services Director Jennifer Wenson Maier expressed optimism summer use of the new pier would not be lost. There was little doubt on the vote from the kids yesterday. On a picture perfect day, they took to the various equipment like fish to water.

The delays are the result of a third party contractor seeking some advance payments in order to complete manufacturing of components for the fencing. Mayor Zimmer indicated the city had made payment arrangements in order to expedite the process and eliminate the bottleneck. Even so, there's going to be some delay from the originally scheduled July 1 announced opening date. Based on a separate conversation with Director Maier, a launch time in August may still salvage summer use.

A child gives the new slide a tryout

Children took a spin on this contraption as Councilwoman Beth Mason was joined by Director Jennifer Wenson Maier in giving them a spin.

Director Leo Pellegrini of Health and Human Services escorted some children on to Pier C

Baton down the hatches!  Children piled on as Councilman Michael Lenz and Mayor Zimmer got help to give a spin to this filled to capacity ride.

Defining button down - Mayor Zimmer tests the new slide herself neither removing her jacket or unbuttoning it.

Any use of story and photos only permitted with prior written permission from MSV.  All rights reserved.  Copyright 2010 MSV.

Guest of the Stable: Vijay Chaudhuri

Congratulations are in order to Councilman Ravi Bhalla on being elected as the new Chairman of the Hoboken Democratic Party. At a time where we need leadership in the Democratic Party - nationally and locally - more than ever, Councilman Bhalla is the ideal candidate for the post.

Ravi was an integral part in recruiting new, common sense residents to run for local district committee spots. As someone who was recruited to run by Councilman Bhalla, I witnessed first hand his determination to find and work with local leaders who will actually make a difference in the community. Other township and county Democratic leaders should take notice of Ravi's willingness to reach out to new, everyday people to get involved in the Democratic process.

One attribute Councilman Bhalla brings to the table is his ability to set aside politics for the betterment of our city. I don't need to tell readers that politics is often times a bitter sport here in Hoboken. At council meetings when certain elected officials and residents use their time to throw political punches, Ravi takes time to provide well thought out analysis and suggestions on issues that affect Hoboken.

Instead of continuing down the path of destructive politics that has consumed Hoboken, let's unite behind leaders like Councilman Bhalla and work towards creating a better Democratic Party and a better Democratic process for all. Once again, congratulations to Ravi on being elected the new Chairman of the Hoboken Democratic Party.

Talking Ed Note: Vijay is a new Hoboken Democratic Committeeman for the 1st Ward in the seventh district.