Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hertz drops the ball this time on snow removal for Corner Cars

Hoboken may have seen record snowfalls over the past month but a deal is a deal and Hertz agreed to clear its Corner Cars spots of snow as part of its contract with the City.

For a company aware of the antipathy by the Old Guard City Council members who have badly sought the failure or sabotage of the Corner Cars program, the lack of action in the recent heavy storm demonstrates if nothing else a tin ear.  Councilman Mike Russo made a point in a previous council meeting to ask who was responsible for cleaning the snow from around the Corner Cars and meekly ended the line of questioning on the matter when told Hertz was in charge.

Councilwoman Terry Castellano has been hostile to the program vociferously complaining about the public showing up in numbers and waiting for hours after signing to speak in defense of the program.  She was the original council member to come out against the program voting in the negative.   Her consistent "Council of No" vote violates State law requiring parking regulations and the program be approved by ordinance.

Councilwoman Beth Mason called Corner Cars "nothing new," stating the far less popular Zip Car program here years earlier the car sharing equivalent, clearly not impressed with four digit membership of Hoboken residents.  (She's said far worse things to residents outside of the meeting.)  Tim Occhipinti the newest "Council of No," linchpin has  stated he's received lots of complaints about the program when he was out campaigning although not one person has appeared in City Council meetings from the fourth ward repeating his claim.  (Hey his invisible army of 550 'campaign workers' are busy don't ya know.)
The Hoboken Journal posted this shot of a Hertz Corner Car on Garden Street.  It remained uncleared over days after the last big storm, unlike after the blizzard in late December.

Considering this organized hostility to Corner Cars, one would expect Hertz to be especially careful to meet all its contractual obligations.  After the December blizzard, Hertz showed an ability to service the 20 pod locations but the big storm last week did not represent a repeat success to snow removal from the vehicles.  Several days after the storm, residents were reporting several locations not cleared of snow and Kurt Gardiner of the Hoboken Journal joined other residents including 1st ward candidate Eric  Kurta and the city Communications Manager Juan Melli in cleaning up Corner Car spots Saturday.

Knowing the grandstanding that goes on for next to nothing these  days in City Council meetings, (Mike Russo actually spent time in the last meeting to question a $38 expense with Director Brandi Forbes exhibiting top notch chicken hawk budget skills) Hertz must know they are leaving themselves and the City open to some harsh political attacks.

There's a City Council meeting this Wednesday and Hertz has let the city and over 1,000 customers down not properly attending to the snow removal from around its vehicles.  If  they can't do it themselves they should find someone local to subcontract the work.  Being there's still no state required ordinance addressing the program's very existence, surely they must recognize the attack they are leaving themselves and the car's members exposed to leading into this week's City Council meeting.

Talking Ed Note:  Someone might want to fill Councilman Russo in about these 21st century tools called a telephone and email.  This way if he  wants to nitpick over a $38 expense, he can do it without wasting the public's (and other colleague's) time in a City Council meeting.  Too bad he lost interest so quickly when millions of quarters went missing under the previous parking Director.  Maybe he just figured his cousin, Councilwoman Terry Castellano was right when she said three times, "It's been cleared up."

What's wrong with that picture?

The Hoboken Journal related feature can be found here:

City to continue snow removal operations on 11th Street and Vezzetti Way

City of Hoboken announces:


Beginning at 8 am on Tuesday, February 1, the City will plow and clear snow from 11th Street, and residents must move their vehicles or risk being ticketed and towed.

Similarly, residents parked along Vezzetti Way west of Willow Avenue must move their vehicles. The City has been dumping snow along 17th Street, a dirt road on the northern end of town, but is running out of space and may begin dumping snow along Vezzetti Way.

"Despite the record amounts of snow this winter, our snow removal team has worked incredibly hard to keep our streets clear," said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. "I want to thank them and our residents both for their cooperation in these efforts and their patience. Although it's sometimes inconvenient, we must clear our streets as much as possible for public safety reasons."

Crews have cleared both sides of the entire length of 1st and 3rd Streets and are currently clearing snow from 4th Street. After finishing to clear 4th Street, crews will continue to remove piles of snow from street corners throughout the City on Sunday and Monday.

Effective immediately for public safety reasons, cars that are improperly parked in a way that obstructs the flow of traffic or emergency vehicles anywhere in the City are at risk of being towed. Residents should monitor weather reports and ensure that they are not parked along snow emergency routes while streets are snow-covered, as they will be at risk of ticketing and towing.

Updates will be provided on the City website,, and residents may also sign up for alerts from the City via text or email through the Nixle system by signing up at Parking permit holders who have not been receiving automated phone messages from the City and wish to do so may contact the Parking Utility at 201-653-1919 or to make sure that an accurate phone number is on file.


Fire engine no. 3, number 3, number 3, number 3

Hoboken rolled out a new crowned jewel, fire truck number 3 on Friday afternoon in front of City Hall.  The new truck is a morale booster to the Fire Department and town where reductions on other fronts and an unexpected $20 million repair price tags to the waterfront is giving taxpayers the willies.

The Hoboken Journal features a brilliant photo essay of the new beast, a Spartan Metrostar.  Here's a couple to wet your appetite if you've yet to see it (click to enlarge):


There's also a new video clip just added too.
Photos courtesy the Hoboken Journal