Gotham & Hudson

99 Hudson Street: A Look at China Overseas America’s Planned 95-Story Jersey City Tower

Development in Jersey City made news last week with an announcement by Mayor Steven Fulop that Chinese developer China Overseas America, Inc. plans to construct a 95-story residential tower at 99 Hudson Street. The building would be the tallest in New Jersey, surpassing the 781-foot commercial tower at 30 Hudson Street that counts investment bank Goldman Sachs as its major tenant.

The single tower proposal replaces a previous two-tower plan from developer Hartz Mountain Industries, who sold the site to China Overseas America in early 2014. According to a press release from Mayor Fulop’s office, the tower would contain 760 condominium units. A condo project of this size reflects the growing number of people who are choosing to stay in urban neighborhoods in close proximity to Manhattan, and the tower’s location one block from the Exchange Place PATH station means that future residents would have a 5-10 minute commute to Lower Manhattan. This project adds significant momentum to the already robust residential development on the Hudson Waterfront that in 2014 surpassed the previous peak seen in 2008. Continues..

PATH Trains to Resume Normal Weekday Service Beginning 5:30AM Wednesday

From Port Authority Media Relations:

Following this morning’s winter storm, the Port Authority announced that PATH will resume its regular weekday service beginning at approximately 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Currently, PATH trains are operating on a weekend schedule with service operating every 15 minutes from Newark to World Trade Center and from Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken. This service will continue until midnight, at which time a normal overnight weekday schedule will resume with trains operating every 35 minutes until the normal rush-hour service begins.

A welcome return. Thanks to all who keep the system running–rain, snow, or shine.

Upcoming Hoboken Public Meetings for Flood Protection, Streetscape & Identity Projects

Two upcoming community meetings will give the public a chance to help shape major projects that will strengthen Hoboken’s flood resilience, improve the streetscape along First Street, and introduce a new wayfinding and identity system for the city:

Rebuild by Design Community Meeting

  • Where: Hoboken Multi-Service Center, Community Room. 124 Grand Street Hoboken, NJ 07030
  • When: January 20, 7PM

Citywide Wayfinding and First Street Streetscape Revitalization Community Meeting

  • Where: Hoboken Multi-Service Center, Community Room. 124 Grand Street Hoboken, NJ 07030
  • When: January 22, 7PM

A press release from the City of Hoboken on the Rebuild by Design community meeting included this helpful list of projects that will make the city less susceptible to flooding:

  • A contract to build Hoboken’s second flood pump to alleviate flooding in western Hoboken is expected to be issued within a few weeks.
  • The City is finalizing plans for the Southwest Park which will include green infrastructure to reduce flooding, with construction expected to begin later this year.
  • The City has issued an offer letter and is in negotiations with BASF to acquire a 6 acre property in Northwest Hoboken for a multi-purpose resiliency park, underground parking, and large-scale underground stormwater detention chamber.
  • The City is in negotiations through the redevelopment process to acquire a one acre property at 7th Street and Jackson Street for park space with stormwater detention.
  • A bid for construction of the City Hall sustainable stormwater demonstration project, which will include rain gardens and cisterns to hold rainwater, is expected to be issued in the spring.
  • A community meeting for the First Street streetscape improvements project, which will include rain gardens, will be held on Thursday, January 22 at 7:00pm at the Multi Service Center. The meeting will also focus on a city-wide wayfinding system and branding for the City. The project is funded by an $880,000 post-Sandy grant.
  • The City’s repaving projects, scheduled for the spring, will include the installation of four new rain garden curb extensions.
  • The City recently installed 64 street trees which help to retain stormwater runoff, with approximately 50 more scheduled for installation in the spring.
  • The City is completing a post-Sandy disaster recovery plan which will include design guidelines for flood-proofing structures, stormwater management plan, and a hazard mitigation plan.

One more: NJ Transit’s plan to fill Long Slip, a former barge canal adjacent to Hoboken Terminal that was the southern entry point for Hurricane Sandy floodwaters. A $146M federal grant will cover project costs, and NJ Transit will build six new tracks on land created by filling the canal, along with three ADA-accessible platforms that will provide step-free access to trains.

Governors’ Proposed Overnight PATH Cuts Indefinitely Tabled by Port Authority

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced today that Port Authority Chairman John Degnan has committed to indefinitely table the proposal eliminate overnight PATH service that was included in a report prepared by Governors’ Christie and Cuomo’s special panel. The move followed strong opposition by local, state, and federal officials, and a unanimous vote by the Hoboken City Council on a resolution opposing service cuts.

In a letter sent to the two state officials after meeting with them on January 13th, Degnan said he had agreed to their request in an earlier meeting to not move forward with any consideration of the proposed cuts, and noted, “the Panel’s suggestion has not even been presented to the board of commissioners.”

Mayors of the two Hudson County cities that would have been affected by the proposed cuts issued statements thanking Degnan for taking the proposal out of consideration. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer:

I thank Chairman Degnan for listening to our voices and for taking the idea of PATH overnight service cuts off the table,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “With 56% of Hoboken residents using public transportation to commute each day – the highest rate not just in the state, but in the nation – the success of our community and region is intrinsically linked to a robust mass transit system. Going forward, we should be focused on ideas to expand, not cut public transportation options within our region.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop:

We want to thank the 20 elected officials that have been a part of this process as well specifically Senator Menendez, Jamie Fox, Speaker Prieto and Senate President Sweeney. Now that [Port Authority Chair John] Degnan has agreed to not cut PATH service, we should start considering the expansion of the service as I think this process has hopefully opened the Port Authority’s eyes to the importance of the service.

Sweeney and Prieto also issued statements thanking Degnan:

PATH Forward: NY/NJ Subway Reports Significant Progress on Sandy Repairs, Signal Upgrades

The controversial veto of a Port Authority reform bill by Governors Christie and Cuomo, and a suggestion by their special panel to cut overnight PATH service have dominated coverage of the bistate transit system, but another important development stands to benefit the system’s 72 million annual riders.

On December 20, 2014, PATH resumed weekend service between Exchange Place in Jersey City and the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. For most of 2014, trans-Hudson service between the two stations was suspended each weekend from 11PM Friday-5AM Monday for repair of infrastructure in the Downtown Hudson Tubes damaged by Hurricane Sandy, and installation of a new Positive Train Control (PTC) signal system that will increase safety and permit trains to run more frequently. To mark the conclusion of the project for the year, PATH published a status report:

Since February, approximately 280,000 square feet of metal tunnel surfaces and equipment were power washed of salt residue left by Superstorm Sandy floodwaters and corroded metal replaced – the entire area along the line impacted by salt. Additionally, significant progress occurred toward installing new computerized signals for increased operational safety with the placement of thousands of feet of new cables.

Sandy’s floodwaters left behind an insidious salt residue that rusts metal cables, equipment and the shell of the tunnel itself. The corrosive salt required a painstaking, labor-intensive cleaning process, beyond what occurred in the initial aftermath of the storm to return train service as quickly as possible.

The Port Authority – like other mass-transit systems around the nation – also is working to meet a federal mandate to install a Positive Train Control (PTC) system to help reduce human or mechanical errors and provide added safety on the rails. PTC is an enhanced signal technology that automatically applies a train’s brakes if an accident appears likely, potentially saving injuries and lives.

Floodwaters in Sandy’s aftermath destroyed much of the substantial prior work PATH had completed on the PTC system, requiring replacement of those components and significantly setting back the agency’s schedule and budget. The Federal Transit Administration helped the Port Authority recoup those financial losses.

The PTC improvements are part of an overall $580 million, comprehensive signals modernization program that ultimately will improve service for PATH riders by allowing trains to run more frequently while maintaining or improving safety.

The 2014 weekend closures allowed PATH to continue with the installation of cable, fiber, compressed air lines and conduit material for signal and communications equipment, which will help meet the PTC requirements. The work also included installation of communication antennas and signal junction boxes.

Since Sandy, infrastructure improvements have been vast, with a myriad of utilities in the tunnel replaced, including power and communications equipment, rail, third rail and track. Nearly two miles of corroded rail fasteners were replaced to better secure the track bed.

PATH notes that work on the new signal system is ongoing, and some weekend closures will be needed in the second half of 2015:

Much has been accomplished, but work remains and additional closures are expected to be needed on weekends in the second half of 2015 on the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line, along with completion of remaining work on the Newark-to-World Trade Center line. Following a cable fire earlier this year that created outages, the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line work will assess the condition of stonework that comprises electrical cable ducts alongside the tracks. Dates and details of these outages will be provided once planning work is finalized. One line will remain open at all times on the weekend and alternative service options are under consideration to reduce inconvenience to riders.

With the significant work completed on the Downtown Hudson Tubes in 2014, maintaining weekend service on the Newark-World Trade Center and Hoboken-World Trade Center lines while work is performed on the Journal Square-33rd Street via Hoboken line could provide service at most, if not all, New Jersey stations, as well as connections to 11 New York City Subway lines within two blocks of the World Trade Center station.

Although disruptions can be inconvenient, the work underway is essential to the performance, capacity, and resilience of the 24/7 transit systems that power the NY/NJ urban economy.