Monday, September 23, 2019

Hoboken's youngest council candidate focused on local transportation issues

The uptown fifth ward of Hoboken covering the northwest portion of the Mile Square City is suffering growing pains as any other.

The long bus lines in the morning with people trying to make their way to work is a recurring problem; one that prompted Nicola Maganuco to begin the twitter account HobokenCommuter more than a year ago.

Seeing no solution or as he notes, since no one on the City Council or the mayor's office lives with the issue, Nick, as he goes by with friends, decided to throw his hat in the ring last July via his Twitter account.

The exclusive story was reported here.

Nicola Maganuco, a finance professional in the fifth ward is one of three candidates vying to replace the departing
Councilman Peter Cunningham who is exiting public work after three terms.

The 27-year-old financial professional who came to Hoboken in early 2016 is one of three candidates vying for the City Council seat Councilman Peter Cunningham is exiting after 12 years and three terms.

It promises to be one of the most interesting and competitive races with Phil Cohen and Tim Crowell rounding out the field.

Originally from Wayne, NJ, Maganuco came to Hoboken for a better quality of life commuting into Manhattan. He discovered there were some problems getting to the office from uptown Hoboken.

"It inspired me to create Hoboken commuter. It's my way telling the mayor and City Council nothing was being done but no one reacted, no one responded," he says.

The issue has become he says the "root of my campaign." He's hitting the fifth ward neighborhood heavily and talking to residents who share a similar concern. Maganuco also wants to see tech solutions added to the Mile Square transportation mix like in New York City with express uptown pickups on Clinton St, with western bus routes and smart tech featured in bus shelters.

"They have it in New York City, we should too," he adds matter of factly.

Another issue neighbors discuss frequently Maganuco says is an old but familiar refrain on development or what many would call over development. "We have to be smart about it. We have too much residential and it has implications on transit and our quality of life."

More commercial and retail shops are what Maganuco is looking to see implemented in Hoboken's future. He has some ideas on seeing it happen. "A boulevard (west) and added retail will make this side of town more welcoming like Pier 13," he suggests.

As he's hit the campaign trail Maganuco hears a lot about the e-Scooter pilot. Prior to the banning of the Ojo e-Scooter, he said in this interview, "People are extremely concerned for their kids and their own safety." 

Calling the six-month pilot a "net benefit" Maganuco believes the program can work for Hoboken with "more enforcement and education." He adds that most use public transportation in Hoboken and the e-Scooters can be helpful to the mix. 

"We need to see someone who can advocate for commuters," he emphasized adding, "and be the voice of commuters."

Of his two fifth ward council opposition, Maganuco stakes out his position to the voters concluding, I'm the only one that's running on a cause.

Talking Ed Note: Nick Maganuco looks like the prototype of a candidate who gets into local government for all the right reasons. While he became interested in local government with Councilman Mike DeFusco's ascent, it would be categorically unfair to consider him an extension of the first ward councilman. 

He's already seen what happens to an independent candidate who enters into Hoboken politics and knows what it's like personally to be targeted by political operatives of Mayor Ravi Bhalla.

More to come.