Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Council passes Washington Street grand compromise 8-1

The City Council working off a resolution for painted bike lanes introduced by Council President Jen Giattino overwhelmingly approved the basis of that amended plan for Washington St. 8-1.

An original administration plan for protected bike lanes and a narrowed roadway became a roadblock for public acceptance in a long awaited Washington St. redesign. The City Council eventually came out of a transportation subcommittee meeting last night with an alternative plan.

Giattino in the end dissented with an amended change to the painted lanes differentiated with a lesser painted version called a sharrow designation on the northern end above 8th St. See photos below.

A number of business owners and others members of the public tried to stifle the creation of any painted bike lanes on Washington St. The attendance at the meeting was however lower than the special meeting held a week ago Monday.

The photo depicts a Class II bike lane on a street featuring buffers on
both sides within US guidelines. The City Council approved this standard
for downtown below 8th Street.

The current architecture of Washington St. will be preserved, a major business concern with the addition of some available parking due to angled back-in parking on streets on the northern end of town above 8th St.

Earlier Mayor Zimmer addressed the public at the meeting after awarding proclamations for Black History Month, washing her hands of the idea of any painted unprotected bike lanes on Washington Street noting the council may have "other ideas." She did not endorse the eventual plan which passed for safety concerns.

One feature of the redesigned Washington St. will be painted designated Class II bike lanes below 8th Street with a safety space of six feet across meeting US guidelines.

The discussion ran well over two hours before Councilman Peter Cunningham suggested an uptown change reducing the painted bike lanes further above 8th Street which was quickly embraced by council members Ravi Bhalla, Michael Defusco and key approval from Ruben Ramos.

Ramos stated he didn't want to further delay approval of a plan and noted this was a council solution and conversations had taken place between all of the members and the public before the compromise solution was reached.

The approval by the City Council means groundbreaking is possible this fall with passage of a funding ordinance.

An aggressive construction plan projects a calendar year to complete the Washington St. redesign.

The sharrow indicators for bikes will be featured above 8th St.
The difference uptown will allow for more angled parking.

Talking Ed Note: Council President Giattino wasn't comfortable with the amendment to her resolution on the fly and said the council should work off suggestions by engineering professionals. In the end, the council came together and acted to complete an approval tonight.

Breaking: Mayor throws in the towel on bike lanes

Mayor Dawn Zimmer responding to public
reaction opted to pull back a plan for
protected bike lanes on Washington St.
Mayor Zimmer after making several awards for Black History Month to Hoboken residents made some impromptu remarks on bike lanes and the original plan as presented in resolution no. 1 for the Washington St. redesign.

Saying she wanted to offer her perspective, the mayor spoke to the audience saying "maybe Hoboken isn't ready" for her Washington St. plan with protected bike lanes and she would "pull it back." Her remarks were met with spontaneous applause from the spectators in attendance.

The mayor said she viewed safety as important in the Washington St. redesign and the council may have "other ideas."

City Council President Jen Giattino followed with an introduction of the consulting vendor T&M but said there was no council sponsors for the original resolution no. 1 but there are council sponsors for "an amended resolution."

The vendor T&M is discussing the retention of the general Washington Street architecture with painted lines on the sides of the street for bike lanes. The designation of painted lines for bikes will allow the continued access of cyclists on Washington St.

A turning lane is being presented as an option on Washington Street as part of the final suggestions. Some uptown back-in angle parking is part of the plan on the table for a council vote tonight.

Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante made some brief remarks on back-in angled parking describing it a positive experience at the police station on lower Hudson St. saying it was safer after a learning curve.

Talking Ed Note: The City Council is contemplating painted bike lanes, called Class II with a resolution introduced by the Council President Jen Giattino.

Photo courtesy the Hudson County View

City Council: Washington Street redesign front and center tonight @ 7:00

Tonight's Hoboken City Council meeting is set for major action on moving forward the Washington Street redesign with resolution no. 1.

There's been a significant response from the public on all aspects of the proposal.

A compromise effort may be in the works seeing some changes in the legislation as proposed.

The link to resolution no. 1 and the full council agenda this evening is available at the link:


Mayor's remarks on revised Rebuild by Design plans

The following video report comes courtesy of Michael Rodriguez for the Hudson County View:

For the complete report, please see the Hudson County View:

Talking Ed Note Correction: Yesterday MSV's Horse Sense editorial referenced a possible referendum option for the Washington Street redesign. A referendum is available only for an ordinance required for the funding of the plan.

Tonight's City Council meeting  will vote on a resolution which may be revised before final introduction.