Gotham & Hudson

#ResilientCities: UN Designates Hoboken A Role Model for Flood Risk Planning, Management

The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) designated Hoboken a Role Model City for flood risk management as part of its global Making Cities Resilient campaign. Hoboken joins 44 other cities around the world, and is only the second US city, after San Francisco, to be recognized by the UN:

In a letter announcing the designation, German Velasquez of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction wrote: “Your city’s efforts in enhancing its physical infrastructure to improve its capacity in dealing with flood risk have been well-recognized. Moreover Hoboken’s attention to land use regulations and expansion as well as its efforts in informing public through the city website and social media have stood out as exemplary.”

The announcement noted several of Hoboken’s projects, including the City Council’s 7-2 vote February 23rd to approve bonds for the city’s second flood pump; the ‘Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge’ coastal defense strategy that won a $230M Rebuild by Design federal grant; the design completed with public input for Hoboken Cove Boathouse, the first phase of a ‘park as defense’ against flooding; and Southwest Park, a one-acre park that will provide much-needed public space for southwest Hoboken while reducing flooding with rain gardens, permeable pavers, and underground detention chambers that can hold up to 250,000 gallons of stormwater.

In her 2015 State of the City, Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that Hoboken 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. She also announced that the when the city resurfaces 50 blocks later this spring, 11 intersections will be improved with curb extensions that reduce pedestrian crossing distances and house rain gardens to capture stormwater.

The Hoboken Terminal and Yards redevelopment plan, approved by the City Council in December 2014, includes a number of flood mitigation and resiliency measures. Also, NJ Transit received a $146M federal grant to fill Long Slip, a former barge canal adjacent to Hoboken Terminal that was the southern entry point for Hurricane Sandy floodwaters. The agency 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.

100 Works Designed and Constructed by Women: Built By Women New York City

In 2014, supported by grants from the New York Building Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation began a project to identify buildings, structures, and built environments in New York City that are designed or constructed by women. The criteria:

The structure or built environment must have a woman who was directly responsible for leading the design (architecture, engineering, or landscape) or who led the construction, either from the development or construction management team. Projects must be completed or have broken ground and located in New York City.

A jury of eight leading women in architecture, landscape, engineering, design, and planning identified 100 civic, commercial, cultural, institutional, landscape, mixed-use, residential, transportation, and urban design projects, and in December, they published Built By Women New York City (BxW NYC). This is a wonderful celebration of the women who have made New York City what it is today, and the foundation is planning a series of public events to draw greater attention to these important works: Continues..

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”

Continues..