Thursday, February 18, 2016

Councilman Bhalla: Washington St. redesign a historic turning point

From the desk of Councilman Ravi Bhalla:

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last night was a historic turning point in a multi-year long process led by Mayor Dawn Zimmer, the Hoboken City Council, residents and stakeholders to rebuild and redesign Washington Street.

Bike lanes are coming to Washington Street, which is progress and wonderful news.  While I supported the integration of “Class I” protected bike lanes on Washington Street, it was the will of the Council to approve unprotected Class II bike lanes from Observer Highway to 8th Street, and shared bike lane markings north of 8thStreet.  This policy change, while a compromise, represents substantial progress towards the integration of bike lanes on Washington Street in our efforts to make it a Complete Street for use of all modes of transportation. 

The next important step will be to proactively work to reform our parking policies to facilitate more legal parking, minimize double parking, and ensure the Class II lanes on Washington Street will be a safe corridor for bicyclists to travel and utilize the wonderful retail shops and restaurants Washington Street has to offer.
It is critical to note that, although bike lanes consumed all the oxygen in the air during the debate of this issue, the project passed last night also includes upgrading our water system for the full length of Washington Street and installing modern traffic signals that can be synchronized to improve traffic flow.  The project also includes pedestrian countdown times and bump outs to make Washington Street safer for pedestrians.  It also includes green infrastructure that will beautify Washington Street and capture rainwater during storm events.   Finally, a conduit for a micro-grid will provide backup power for our critical facilities in the event of a major emergency.
The approval of this plan shows that today, local government in Hoboken can put politics aside for the greater good and work hard towards solutions that address the interests of divergent stakeholders to the greatest extent possible.  For this, great credit should be accorded to Mayor Zimmer for leading the process over a period of years, to Council President Jennifer Giattino and the Transportation Subcommittee, the business community and all the residents and others who cared enough to take time to offer their input and get involved in the process.  When democracy works, people win.  I looking forward to a Washington Street we can all be even more proud of for generations to come.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at


Ravinder S. Bhalla
Hooboken Councilman-at-Large

HCV: Hoboken's City Council approves Washington St. redesign

The following report comes courtesy of Jeannette Josue of the Hudson County View:

  For the complete story, see the Hudson County View:

Mayor Zimmer hails progress on Washington St. redesign passage

Office of the Mayor announces:


“Thank you to the City Council for expressing support for the Washington Street project at last night's Council meeting. This important project will include upgrading our water main system for the full length of Washington Street and installing modern traffic signals that can be synchronized to improve traffic flow. The project includes pedestrian countdown timers and bump outs to make our vital commercial street safer for pedestrians. It also includes green infrastructure that will improve the beauty of Washington Street and help with capturing rainwater during storm events. The Council also approved the conduit for a microgrid project that once completed will provide backup power for our critical facilities and make our City a model for energy resiliency.”

“I look forward to working with the City Council going forward to try protected bike lanes on other less commercial and busy city streets. It will also be important to implement new parking policies that will ensure that the Class II bike lanes from Observer Highway to 8th Street, on the traffic side of the roadway that the Council preferred to protected bike lanes, can become a useable and safe bike lane for bicyclists on Washington Street. The approved plan calls for shared lane markings, but not bike lanes, north of 8th Street. For the safety of our community, we need to work together to address our double parking issue, otherwise cyclists will be forced into the traffic lane again and again by all the double parked cars and the numerous car crashes will continue. I want to thank Council President Giattino and the Transportation subcommittee for agreeing to work together to implement new parking policies designed to facilitate more legal parking so that our street is safe and convenient for all modes of transportation, including bicyclists.”

“As a result of last night's vote, the City will now be able to move forward with the final design details and a bond ordinance for funding this important project.”