Monday, January 4, 2016

Changing of the Reform Guard

Tonight's City Council's meeting comes off cycle and early in the 2016 calendar.

Momentous changes will be arriving out of the gate. Rotation of the council leadership is first on the agenda but not before the public ceremony swearing in of the new council and official introduction of first ward councilman Michael Defusco and second ward councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher.

Things get red hot immediately with the agenda showing the council intends to act on openings at the Hoboken Zoning Board. Will replacements be activist in their judicial decisions opening the reins or will the City Council retain its powers as the central redevelopment agency?


Lots on the plate, lots to dish in 2016.

Tonight's meeting agenda is here:


If you haven't seen it, the Grafix Avenger year in email is a must read. You won't be seeing anything with the dish piled so high in the Hudson Reporter where she and a horse are persona non grata.

Happy New Year everyone!

Da Horsey, SmartyJones

City update on Observer Highway project

City of Hoboken announces:


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.

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.

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 New traffic signals have been installed at Bloomfield Street and Park Avenue, and outdated signals at Henderson Street, Willow Avenue, and Washington Street were replaced with modern signals.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.

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.

Striping, including crosswalks, parking lanes, and dedicated turning lanes, is expected to be completed by the end of next week.

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.

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.

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.

Council President Ravi Bhalla: Let's get 2016 started off right

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great holiday season. As 2016 begins, I wanted to provide you with a few brief updates on what’s happening in Hoboken.

Rebuild by Design Update

As many of you may be aware, through the advocacy efforts of Mayor Zimmer, last year Hoboken was awarded $230 million in federal funding to implement a plan to keep our City safe from the massive flooding we have seen in the past, including the terrible damage stemming from Hurricane Sandy. 

After the concept ideas were released, many residents expressed frustration about the possibility of flood walls in neighborhoods or along our waterfront. While I share this frustration regarding some of the concepts, the selection process legally requires a certain number of concepts to be presented. It is important to note that the State of New Jersey and federal government, not the City Council or the Mayor, will make the final decision on this plan.  This is why we need residents to be involved in the process and make their voices heard to decide which concepts are feasible and which ones are nonstarters.

If you have feedback, please do not hesitate to contact me at I would be happy to discuss these with you and keep you informed.

New Council Members Sworn In

Over the weekend, three new members of the City Council were sworn in to represent their respective neighborhoods. They are 1st Ward Councilman Michael DeFusco, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos. Councilman Michael Russo, Councilman Peter Cunningham, and Councilwoman Jennifer Giattino also were sworn in to continue to serve Hoboken’s 3rd, 5th, and 6th wards, respectively.

It is very important to know your local ward councilperson, and I hope you reach out to them to introduce yourself and let them know if you have any issues.  As an at-large Councilman and representative of the entire city, I can also assist with any problems.

I want to congratulate the new council members on their successful elections, and I look forward to working with them.

Other Updates

- For Christmas tree disposal, please remove all lights, ornaments, and other decorations and place the tree on the curb on Tuesday or Thursday night for pickup on Wednesday and Friday.

- Congratulations to the Hoboken High School Redwings football team on their state championship! Hoboken is hosting a parade for the team on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at 3 p.m. The parade route is from the Elks Club (10th and Washington St.) to City Hall (94 Washington St.).

- I am hoping to hold a fundraiser this month and would greatly appreciate your support. Any donations would go toward my future election in 2017 as well as my outreach efforts as a councilman, whether it be sponsoring tables at events to register voters or updating and improving my means of communications. I want to spread the word about the positive changes we’ve seen in Hoboken over the past few years. Please consider making a donation online here.

As always, if I can be of any assistance to you, please feel free to e-mail me at

I am looking forward to serving the people of Hoboken in 2016!

Thank you and Happy New Year!

Ravinder S. Bhalla
Hoboken Councilman-at-Large

Councilman Ravinder Bhalla