In her 2015 State of the City address, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer announced that construction would begin this spring on major improvements to Newark Street and Observer Highway. Last week, the city confirmed that construction would begin April 27th.
Newark Street is part of a major pedestrian artery connecting Hoboken Terminal, the city’s primary transit gateway, and Washington Street, the city’s central business district. It is heavily trafficked by pedestrians walking to and from Hoboken Terminal, especially during weekday morning and evening rush periods, leading to congested sidewalks, crowded intersections that spill into the street, and conflict between turning vehicles and pedestrians who have the right-of-way to cross.
One block south of Newark Street, Observer Highway is one of the primary streets connecting Hoboken with Jersey City and the Holland Tunnel. The “highway” in Observer Highway is a truism. The street is a wide, forbidding expanse for pedestrians to attempt to cross, with two travel lanes in each direction, parking lanes on both sides, and no traffic signals between Washington Street and Willow Avenue. These conditions set driver expectations for a fast, unimpeded, highway-like experience, which then lead to complaints that the street is an inadequate thoroughfare when traffic speeds don’t meet driver expectations.
Complete Streets design can do much to address the types of street conditions found on Newark and Observer. Continues..