Monday, January 4, 2016

City update on Observer Highway project

City of Hoboken announces:


UPDATE ON OBSERVER HIGHWAY REPAVING PROJECT

Last week, the contractor hired by Hudson County for the Observer Highway repaving project completed the paving of Observer Highway from Hudson Street to just west of Henderson Street. The project contract runs through April 2016, and additional work to complete the project is ongoing.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT?
Between 2010 and 2012, there were an average of 37 crashes per year along Observer Highway, making it one of the most dangerous roads in Hoboken. The project is designed to reduce the high crash rate, improve traffic conditions, and improve pedestrian safety.

WHEN WILL THE NEW TRAFFIC LIGHTS BE ACTIVATED?
The new signals are a key component of optimizing traffic conditions. New traffic signals have been installed at Bloomfield Street and Park Avenue, and outdated signals at Henderson Street, Willow Avenue, and Washington Street were replaced with modern signals. Wiring and activation of the new signals is underway and is expected to be completed in the next four weeks. Until the new signals are activated, the existing traffic signal at Observer Highway and Henderson Street/Marin Boulevard will be adjusted to allow for more efficient traffic flow. Police officers will be on hand on Monday to observe conditions and assist with the flow of traffic during peak periods if needed.

HOW WILL THE CHANGES AFFECT TRAFFIC?
Once the new traffic signals are activated and the old signals are deactivated and removed, the timing of all signals will be optimized and coordinated to improve traffic conditions, particularly during peak hours. A detailed traffic analysis has been conducted indicating that travel times will be improved as a result of the roadway redesign. 

The creation of dedicated left turn lanes will remove turning vehicles from through traffic, reducing backups and rear-end crashes and improving the efficiency and capacity of the roadway. Traffic cameras at intersections will activate left turn phases based on traffic volumes. Combined with the optimization of signal timing, average wait times at Observer Highway/Henderson Street are estimated to be reduced by 78% during the morning peak and by 59% during the evening peak.

WHEN WILL THE STRIPING BE COMPLETED?
Striping, including crosswalks, parking lanes, and dedicated turning lanes, is expected to be completed by the end of next week.

WHEN WILL PARKING BE PERMITTED ON OBSERVER HIGHWAY?
Parking is currently permitted on the north side of Observer Highway for those with a valid Resident Parking Permit. Parking will be permitted on the south side of Observer Highway for those with a Resident Parking Permit once striping is completed in the days ahead. Those without permits or with other types of permits (business, visitor, etc) may not park along Observer Highway.

HOW DOES THE PROJECT IMPROVE PEDESTRIAN SAFETY?
Prior to the project, there was only one pedestrian crossing along Observer Highway between Washington Street and Henderson Street (at Willow Avenue), road crossings were considerably longer, and there was no protected sidewalk between Observer Highway and Newark street to the east of the firehouse. The project added pedestrian countdown timers to all signalized intersections (which will be active when the new signals are activated), high visibility crosswalks at all intersections with reduced crossing distances, new concrete pedestrian islands and ADA curb ramps, and created a new sidewalk on the north side of the intersection with Henderson Street, providing safe haven for pedestrians walking on the south side of Newark Street.

WHEN WILL VEZZETTI WAY BE PAVED?
The priority for the project was to complete paving of Observer Highway prior to the cold weather when paving is no longer possible. To date, Vezzetti Way has been partially paved and a 25 foot portion of Bloomfield Street also remains unpaved. The contractor is required to complete the project by April 2016. Striping of the pedestrian/bicycle path will take place once paving of Vezzetti Way is complete.