What’s up with 1600 Park?
More traffic lights arrive in Hoboken at 1600 Park
The new traffic light at 16th & Park went into effect recently. While some folks love the traffic control for the sake of “pedestrian safety,” ask any driver caught in a weekend log-jam on this bridge how they feel, and you’ll get an entirely different message.
Oh – they put a giant net around the park. So only the strongest guys will whack balls onto the roadway now. Maybe A-Rod will be playing some pickup games here during his suspension?
Is 1600 Park even consider a “real park” in Hoboken?
The wacky parcel of land uptown, after many botched sequence of events is getting closer to “opening.” Why do I put “opening” in quotes? Well, because for one, it’s not true open space, such as other places like Pier A Park, Columbus Park or Stevens Park. 1600 Park is an artificial surface “playing field” which requires PERMITS from City Hall to use when you want. This has to be scheduled and PAID for in advance. In other words, if you feel like playing catch with a friend, and walk down there – and it’s being used by a softball league – you’re shit out of luck.
What if balls cause traffic wrecks on Willow or Park?
Additionally, I did some quick estimations – and it appears that the distance from “home plate” on the southern “field” to the lane of travel on Willow Ave. is just 170 feet give or take.
Imagine Red Bull infused softball players regularly whacking home runs into cars driving in and out of Hoboken?
And imagine it causes a fatal head-on collision on the already treacherous tight road? Oh boy. I bet some lawyers are having wet dreams already with potential lawsuits that may come on down the line. The city is trying to relieve itself of responsibility by having folks who pay the $125 per hour fee SIGN A LIABILITY WAIVER. Well, I don’t think that would be enough for the city to shield itself from future lawsuits if it is deemed that the actual design of the park itself is flawed.
We’ll see what happens. But wow – what a fee! If the park is used 8 hours a day, that’s $365,000 a year! This is less of a “park” than it is a “cash machine” for city coffers. What crap! It used to be that property taxes would cover all city services (even leaving a surplus for emergencies). This added fee is just insane considering the $100 million+ city budget. Oh well.
1600 Park botched by Hoboken administration?
For one, apparently the wrong building material was used for the dirt section of the field. This is causing issues with the light poles (which are also precariously close to natural gas lines, etc.)
The city tried “blaming” the mistake on the contractors – who then showed the exact “approved plans” the city gave them for construction. Whoops!
I’m also hearing from insiders – that this project is potentially so screwed up, that the ENTIRE FIELD might have to be ripped out and re-done from scratch.
What a frickin’ waste. Property taxpayers should be pissed about the blatant mismanagement from our inept city officials.
Maybe Tropical Storm Andrea can save us some money and sweep the whole thing into the river….
Will 1600 Park divert future flood waters in Hoboken NJ?
Just looking at the construction at 1600 Park with the naked eye – you can see that this whole entire surface is about 5 feet above street level. And as you might already know – this area uptown was one of the break points where tidal surge ravaged the city during Hurricane Sandy – and was one of the proposed areas from Hoboken Sea Walls.
What if we get another Sandy? It appears that this park will act as a wedge for incoming floods – diverting water around and possibly to areas that were unaffected by the flooding previously (to the south at least – the Shades section of Weehawken was crushed regardless).
Makes you wonder if the city knows what they’re potentially getting into. But then again, it’s not that a team of lawyers for hire can’t fix future problems when the arise!
Walkway from Hoboken to Weehawken now open
Those looking to extend your walks or jogs a bit further would be excited to know that as of this morning – the walkway portion connecting Hoboken to Weehawken is now open. See previous sneak preview shots below…
Sneak Peek at 1600 Park Waterfront Walkway in Hoboken
Big hat tip to Hudson County, for the progress they’ve been making at the 1600 Park construction site uptown recently.
Walkway leading to Weehawken is practically complete, and work is ongoing for the so-called “open space” part at the present time.
Once railings get installed (it’s currently unsafe for out of control kids and reckless drunks), I see no reason why that part of this “park” couldn’t be opened up. However, there are some other speed bumps for the remainder of the project (other safety issues like a traffic light – and political in-fighting at Hoboken City Hall).
Either way – I don’t see why this waterfront area couldn’t be partially operational by Spring.
Is the design at 1600 park too ambitious, costly?
I’ve seen various iterations of this “park” uptown over the past couple years – and boy – take a look at this so-called “final” design below.
There are so many “features” in this park – it’s as if they were trying to make everyone happy, but with no regard to (property taxpayer) cost. I’m not saying I don’t like it, but it does seem like overkill somewhat.
Did they design this with a Chinese menu and an “open checkbook,” or were there any limits in terms of what could and couldn’t be implemented. Where were the budget restrictions and parameters?
Common Sense Rule of Thumb: The more complicated it is – the more it costs to build and the more it costs to maintain, the more that can (and will) break. Sometimes simplest is best, and for this area uptown – some plain ‘ole grass might have been good enough.
1600 Park Progress in uptown Hoboken
Amazing the difference between projects the city of Hoboken is solely responsible for – and projects that are in the hands of capable organizations.
The 1600 Park project was all set to be completed last fall, but as soon as Hoboken got involved it came to a screeching halt. However, Hudson County is back at work and the park is taking shape quite nicely. While this park will fall far below expectations once complete, almost anything is still better than a rocky shoreline that was inaccessible to the public in the past.
No sign of construction action on the uptown Hoboken waterfront cove
The construction scene over by the upcoming waterfront cove area near the Hudson Tea Building and Harborside Lofts has been quiet as of late. I vaguely recall that Director Brandy Forbes said this was supposed to start back up already, and be completed within 60 days (this time in September.)
However, several residents have expressed concerns over rushing this project in such a haphazard manner – especially since pedestrian safety in this area is suspect. This section of Hoboken is a traffic war-zone, almost all hours of the day. Nothing has been done to address what provisions will be made to protect residents and their children once the recreation areas are completed. But the council voted to forge ahead with the construction contract anyway, so we’ll see what happens (and when.)
Hoboken wondering – what’s going on at 1600 Park?
Park activists in Hoboken have been fighting for the area known as 1600 Park to become a nice recreational space in town for over 12 years. You can see much of what has taken place in the past after the jump.
Not yet, Hoboken, not yet!
But you should know that according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, 1600 Park is considered a toxic and contaminated site. The activity you see going on up there is site remediation only, and they’re nowhere NEAR putting in a park for us to enjoy.
From what I last heard, it will be years before you see anything resembling a park. Expect a lot of politicking, election time posturing and more municipal madness until then. And of course – developer Mark Settembre had to go ahead and build that wacky building in between, further complicating the situation.
NOTE: Uptown Green Coalition website has been offline since late 2008.
The Uptown Green Coalition (website inactive) had a meeting, uh, uptown, this week to get residents up to speed on various park issues. I video’d the whole thing, but something went awry.. so here’s Jeff Laylon’s take on what was discussed.
1600 Park progress, so far
Thanks to everyone (25-30 strong) who attended the June 23, 2008, Hoboken Uptown Green Coalition meeting. Special thanks to Beth Mason, 2nd Ward Councilwoman and Leah Healey, HobokenParks.org for their valuable insight into the 1600 Park area, where we have come from and where we are today. I also want to thank Cassandra Wilday for being there and shedding some new light on things to come.
First of all, you should know, I am not a professional urban planner by any means. I’m just a guy who wants a useful park nearby. I am going to slip up on all the proper “terms” or “buzz words” when talking about the open spaces in question so get over it. (talk to me about dogs). I do know, however, that we all want a park to be created on the plot of land known as 1600 Park, already purchased by the city and waiting for someone to do something. If you were at the meeting, it was very evident that this process is slow going and is often bogged down with many layers of politics both locally and on a state level.
The next step in planning for 1600 Park is the hiring of a landscape architect to hold public meetings and create a conceptual plan for the area. This will happen. The park will not be created without public input – that much we know. As far as we know now, Margie Ruddick, www.margieruddick.com a renowned landscape architect is up for the job of beginning this process. When, you ask, will she be hired? That’s a good question and will probably depend on public pressure to be sure that she is on the agenda for the next, or next, upcoming city council meeting. Write your council person, write the Mayor, send a letter to Hoboken411 and beg for the process to begin, sign up for the public speaking portion of the next City Council meeting and ask the council what they can do. There is no reason that this process should not have already begun, but with the city concentrating on “$millions$” of other things, this will fall by the wayside unless the public speaks out.
At least two other important points came out of this meeting. People are questioning why the play area next to the Toll Brothers Building, the Harborside Lofts at 1500 Washington, has not been opened yet (411: Exciting ribbon-cutting today), and what is happening with the area commonly called the 16th Street Pier, the pier directly east of the Tea Building.
The Harborside Lofts website boasts amenities including a 6-acre park with children’s playgrounds, but the playgrounds are fenced in, and bogged down in paperwork and politics and will not open until a public outcry demands it happen. Again, the solution seems to be to make noise. Write Toll Brothers and demand that the issues be settled and the park opened. It’s obvious that the park is ready and it’s a shame that the powers that be have not moved to open the park for public use.
The 16th Street Pier, east of the Tea Building is an open space area that is somewhat up for grabs. Before we find out that a developer has grabbed hold of the space and won’t let go, we need to move swiftly and make sure that this land is protected for open space. It was agreed that a conceptual plan for this area might be a good place for the HUGC to start. Create a picture of what could be. David Downs (yes, I am going to put you on the spot) is a professional urban planner and advocate for useful open space. He is responsible for raising $250,000 for the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse that will be part of the 1600 Park area. In a future meeting, David has agreed to share more with our group about what the plans for the boathouse entail. I will quote David as saying:
“I am definitely interested in helping out your organization as a rep from HCCB and an uptown resident. Until last night I had no idea about the need to rally around the 16th Street Pier; I can best help by compiling research on urban waterfront parks, develop a conceptual plan, etc.”
This could be a great beginning for establishing the 16th Street Pier as an area to be earmarked for open space. David, we will take you up on your offer to help.
So what now? Make noise and be present. Letters to the Hoboken411 do garnish some attention. Write a letter questioning the delinquent development of 1600 Park, the not yet open play area next to Harborside Lofts and the “space the needs to be protected” on the 16th Street Pier. Sign up to speak at a City Council Meeting and ask our council members what is happening with these open spaces. The theme for the evening seemed to be “Make Yourself Heard.”
Please USE our website to not only manage your subscription, but interact with blog entries. On a side note, thanks to Perry from Hoboken411.com for being there and supporting not only this effort, but just about every effort in town. Hoboken411 is an invaluable resource for keeping in touch with the open space issues in Hoboken.
On ANOTHER side note, the Hoboken Uptown Green Coalition is in need of funding. All of this does not happen without some bucks. We have already spent money that we don’t have as an organization. Richard Scharfenberg donates his time to design our website and we have spent hundreds in creating the LLC and maintaining the HUGC. If you have some spare change you can give directly through our website at HobokenUGC.com (website inactive). Thanks to those of you who have made contributions and thanks in advance for anyone thinking about making a contribution. Ok, stop thinking already and – well, you know what to do.
Thanks for reading this wordy entry that I will end here.
Hoboken Uptown Green Coalition
The Uptown Green Coalition
The following was sent to 411 by Jeff Laylon, an Uptown Green Coalition (website inactive) member. Sounds like they have reasonable expectations of those that represent that area in Hoboken. Nothing more frustrating than someone that is unable to answer a simple question like: why?
Now is the time we need to be meeting with candidates and hearing from them regarding parks and open space. Besides the attached letter, here is what we are trying to do:
How We Roll
- We want discussion. Open discussion with city officials and developers in regard to the waterfront and open space being developed. If you have a say, we want to hear from you.
- We want input. We live here, we pay taxes and we want a say in the space that will ultimately be part of our back yard.
- We want information. Who, what, when, why, how? Before you bring in the backhoes, give us a heads up.
- We want cooperation. We are not here to batter or bicker. We believe that you want what we want, but we want to work together to make sure it gets done.
He goes on to write:
On February 22, 2007, a group of concerned citizens met and formed a group that we are now calling the Uptown Green Coalition. The Uptown Green Coalition, www.HobokenUGC.com (website inactive), will concentrate our efforts on areas at the north end of Hoboken, such as 1600 Park, the 16th Street Pier and the Maxwell House Park Project. We fully believe that the public must be informed and be a vital part of the developmental process to take place in these park areas. It is very important that selecting the architect and designs for these areas being developed should be an open process including input from the public all along the way. We have, unfortunately, lost some ground already and we are not willing to sit back and watch what little open space is left in this area be designed with pretty pictures that get wiped away once development begins. Where is the baseball field at the Maxwell House project that was so prominently displayed before development? It’s gone. What is happening at 1600 Park Avenue and why hasn’t the public been asked to get involved in groups and committees to decide what will be best for this area? What is happening to the 16th Street Pier that was promised in the last election?
In the near future we will be requesting meetings with city officials responsible for development in this area. The council persons looking to be elected in Ward 2 and Ward 5, the Mayor, developers and anyone who has possible influence in developing the North end of Hoboken.
If you are interested in joining us in our efforts, please go to our website where you can join the group and stay informed regarding upcoming projects and meetings.
We look forward to working with the city. We want to have meaningful discussions that will be helpful for everyone involved and can result in a more beautiful Hoboken for all.
Jeff Laylon. Member
Uptown Green Coalition