Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Washington Street up for improvement

City of Hoboken announces:


ZIMMER ADMINISTRATION INTRODUCES PLAN TO REPAVE WASHINGTON STREET, INSTALL PEDESTRIAN SIGNALS
Streets improvement bond would also cover Sinatra Drive, Observer Highway & Newark Street



The Zimmer Administration is introducing a bond ordinance to begin the process of upgrading and modernizing the entire length of Washington Street, including repaving the road, installing modern traffic signals with pedestrian countdown timers, and installing ADA-compliant crosswalks and ramps.

“Washington Street is the hub of social life and business activity in Hoboken – with great restaurants and outdoor caf
és, excellent shopping, art galleries, studios, and more,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “This vibrant street is important to the quality of life of our residents, and by revitalizing this important corridor, we will also benefit our local economy, improve pedestrian safety, and make Hoboken more inviting to everyone.”

A series of public meetings will be held to solicit community input to develop plans for Washington Street. Following the design stage, a second bond will be necessary to pay for construction. The estimated cost for resurfacing and new signals is approximately $9 million. With a “shovel-ready” design in place, the city will also apply for grants to help pay for construction costs.

"We are extremely excited that the city has embarked on this project to improve pedestrian safety for all of our residents, and we're particularly excited that the city has tackled the issue of upgrading to The American with Disabilities Act compliance standards," said Shana Lee, 
Advertising Director on behalf of The Hoboken Family Alliance. "Pedestrian safety is an important issue, and we hope the initiative will prompt everyone - pedestrians and drivers - to take equal measure to be safe while walking throughout the community."

“Washington Street is the front door to hundreds of businesses in Hoboken,” said Michael Novak, President of the Hoboken Chamber of Commerce. “These upgrades to our key shopping district will help our merchants and positively impact our local economy.”

The approximately $1 million bond would also pay for the design and improvements to Sinatra Drive between 4th Street and 11th Street in order to accommodate safer vehicular speeds and better facilitate the high volume of pedestrian and bicycle activity along the waterfront.

“For 20 years, FBW has sought to fix a multitude of problems associated with Hoboken’s central waterfront, north of Fourth Street," said Ron Hine, Executive Director of the Fund for a Better Waterfront. "This ordinance will provide an opportunity to do just that – thus creating a pedestrian/bicycle–friendly Sinatra Drive, beautifully landscaped with additional parkland."

In addition, the bond covers the municipality’s obligations in order to secure federal funding for Observer Highway and Newark Street safety redesign projects. The City of Hoboken has $2 million in federal funding to improve Observer Highway and $240,000 in federal funding to improve Newark Street between River Street and Washington Street. The funding for both projects was secured by Senator Robert Menendez.

“This new street improvement bond will turn outdated, motorist-specific thoroughfares into safe, comfortable streets smartly designed with the needs of the residents in mind,” said Brian Wagner, Leadership Advocate for Bike Hoboken. “It would pave the way for the integration of bicyclists and pedestrians into the city’s already busy transportation infrastructure.”

The “Observer Boulevard” project includes the addition of traffic signals at Park Avenue and Bloomfield Street, new pedestrian crossings and countdown timers, a dedicated left turn lane, a protected two-way cycle track and pedestrian path on the south side of Observer Highway, curb extensions at intersections to reduce crosswalk distances, and the reintroduction of parallel parking on both sides of the street.

The Newark Street project involves the creation of a pocket plaza at the corner of Washington Street, expanded sidewalks and protective bollards to separate pedestrians from vehicles, curb extensions at Hudson Street and River Street to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, and the creation of an “all pedestrian” signal phase at Hudson Street to better balance pedestrian crossings with vehicular traffic.

Three community meetings have been held each for the Observer Highway and Newark Street projects. The plans for both projects were presented at the latest community meeting and are available at the following links:

www.hobokennj.org/docs/transportation/Newark-Street-Boards-5-30-12.pdf

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