Gotham & Hudson

Editorial: Hoboken City Council Should Vote Unanimously to Fund Uptown Flood Pump

Update (February 23): The Hoboken City Council voted 7-2 to approve a resolution to issue bonds for the uptown flood pump. Council Members Bhalla, Castellano, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mello, and Occhipinti voted in favor; Council Members Mason and Russo voted against. The 7-2 margin means the resolution achieved the two-thirds majority necessary to authorize the expenditure, which means the City can move forward with its application for the low-interest loan for the project.

In December, the Hoboken City Council unanimously approved moving forward with construction of a second flood pump in uptown Hoboken. The project would be funded by a bond issuance, the proceeds of which would be used to pay back a low-interest loan provided by the state at a historically low 0.5-0.75% interest rate. In addition, 19% of the loan’s principal would be forgiven at closing using federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds. The pump would be operated by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) under a 99-year lease from the City.

Last week, a second vote was held on a resolution to authorize and approve the issuance and sale of up to $11,950,000 in general obligation bonds for the project. A two-thirds majority (six votes) is required for the City Council to authorize an expenditure, but the resolution passed by only a 5-2 margin. Of the seven Council Members present (Council Members Occhipinti and Russo were absent), Council Members Bhalla, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, and Mello voted in favor, but Council Members Castellano and Mason voted against the resolution. In a statement released after the vote, City Council President Ravi Bhalla said: Continues..

Performing Arts Center for Hoboken? City to Explore Location Near Hoboken Terminal

The City of Hoboken plans to explore the feasibility of constructing a regional performing arts center near Hoboken Terminal. In a press release announcing the initiative, Mayor Dawn Zimmer noted Hoboken’s strength as a hub for mass transit, and the city’s growing commitment to the arts:

“With almost unparalleled access to mass transit, southeast Hoboken could be the ideal place for a regional performing arts center for music, theater, dance, and more,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Along with the resurgence of the Monroe Arts Center, the preservation of Neumann Leathers through a proposed Rehabilitation Plan, and the construction of Mile Square Theatre’s new facility next to the Viaduct, the Hoboken community is demonstrating its commitment to artists and the arts.”

Hoboken has the highest rate of transit ridership in the nation at 56%, and its character as a transit city is defined by the landmarked transit hub that anchors its southwest waterfront. Hoboken Terminal houses five modes of transit – New Jersey Transit regional rail, buses, and Hudson-Bergen light rail, PATH subway, and NY Waterway ferry service – which make it an ideal neighbor for a performing arts center that would serve as a cultural destination for the region. Continues..

State of the City: Mayor Zimmer Shares Vision for Resiliency, Infrastructure & Quality of Life

Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer delivered her 2015 State of the City Address Tuesday night at DeBaun Auditorium on the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology. She outlined a vision for the city focused on resiliency, infrastructure, and quality of life. Highlights of the address, followed by video of the speech, and the Mayor’s full remarks:

  • Hoboken has 3,500 affordable housing units, the highest number per capita among similarly-sized cities in New Jersey, and the city will gain up to 900 jobs with the relocation of Pearson Education to Waterfront Corporate Center III
  • Flood Resiliency – City Hall will become a model for stormwater mitigation, with rain gardens, permeable sidewalks, and cisterns that can retain the stormwater from a 6-hour-long, 100-year storm
  • Hoboken Cove Boathouse – Conceptual design completed with public input; goal to build as first phase of ‘park as defense’ against flooding
  • Hoboken Terminal and Yards – The Mayor noted the opportunity presented by the redevelopment plan approved by the City Council in December
  • Parking – New meters to be installed citywide in first phase of Comprehensive Parking Plan; time can be added directly from a phone
  • Public Transit – The Mayor spoke of the importance of public transit infrastructure to Hoboken, and noted the successful effort to table overnight PATH service cuts proposed by Governors Christie and Cuomo
  • Rebuild by Design – Planning, feasibility, and design work underway for $230M Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge coastal defense strategy
  • Shade Tree Commission – 50 residents now care for street trees planted in front of their homes, and more will be planted in the Spring
  • Southwest Park – Groundbreaking later this year on one-acre park that will provide much-needed public space for southwest Hoboken, and help reduce flooding with rain gardens, permeable pavers, and underground detention chambers that can hold up to 250,000 gallons of stormwater
  • Streets & Intersections – 50 blocks to be resurfaced; 11 intersections to be improved with curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and house rain gardens to capture stormwater; utility replacement work underway throughout the city, including on Washington Street, which is a precursor to a complete streets redesign unveiled last fall
    • Newark Street – Block east of Washington to be converted from asphalt to cobblestone; intersection improvements with curb extensions; public plaza with chairs, tables, and trees at Washington Street
    • Observer Boulevard – Reconstruction in Spring will convert it “from a dangerous high speed thruway into a safer street with shorter crossing distances and a two-way protected bike lane from Marin Boulevard to Hoboken Terminal”

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Space Under Hoboken’s New 14th Street Viaduct Will Anchor Neighborhood Development

In 2011, Hudson County broke ground on a $55M project to replace the 14th Street Viaduct, an elevated structure connecting Hoboken with the Jersey City Heights and Union City. The original viaduct, completed in 1908, had become structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, and after the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Hudson County accelerated plans to replace the aging structure. Major construction of the new viaduct structure and roadway wrapped up in mid-2014:

The new Viaduct is an eight-span, 1177-foot long structure, constructed entirely of multi-steel girders and includes extensive traffic improvements such as modern LED 12-inch traffic signals for the intersections at each end. In terms of total cost, the 14th Street Viaduct replacement was the most expensive—and perhaps the most challenging—local roads project in Hudson County history.

In 2010, Hudson County and the City of Hoboken unveiled plans for public spaces underneath the new viaduct, including multi-use spaces spanning two blocks, a basketball/roller hockey court, and a pocket park surrounded by a children’s playground and dog park. Continues..

First Look: Draft Designs for Hoboken Wayfinding System, First Street Streetscape

In December, the City of Hoboken announced that it hired T&M Associates to lead a Citywide Wayfinding and First Street Streetscape Revitalization project. Funded by an $880,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery, the streetscape improvements will extend along First Street from the western edge of the city at Paterson Avenue to the intersection with Bloomfield Street in the city’s central business district.

This is an important first step for Hoboken to create a more navigable city that promotes the use of all forms of transportation, including biking, walking, buses, rail, taxis and parking,” says Jaclyn Flor, PE, PP, a Supervising Engineer and Planner with T&M and lead for this project. “The project will also establish a well-defined brand identity for Hoboken that captures and represents the unique attributes of the city.

At a community meeting January 22, T&M presented an early look at the plans. These are known as 30% construction documents in industry parlance, and show the streetscape improvement elements planned for each intersection. The next step in the process is community input to refine the design and ensure it meets the needs of a complete group of street users, including pedestrians, cyclists, businesses, and drivers. The final design, and corresponding 100% construction documents, will be used by contractors to guide work during construction. Continues..