Letter: Jackson Street BLOWS

Will Jackson Street ever be done right?

4th Ward Councilman Tim Occhipinti sent out this letter to residents regarding the Jackson Street mess, and encourages everyone to watch or attend the Hoboken City Council meeting Wednesday at 7pm.

“Friends and Neighbors,

As many of you know, I have made a strong push on Council to continuously address quality of life issues in the 4th Ward throughout my term of serving you, and traffic congestion has been at the forefront. We may not be able to solve every issue, but it’s very important to shine light on the problem and work with all of the community to make things better.

The 4th Ward is the gateway to Hoboken, and the changing of the road configuration on Jackson Street between Newark & Paterson Avenues has been a cause for concern. I am sponsoring two ordinances at the next council meeting addressing this very important issue, and I hope you will attend to voice your opinion. I am also very open to hearing your suggestions at any time.

To recap, on street parking was added to both the east and west sides of Jackson Street in addition to a bike lane on the west side of the street reducing two lanes of traffic into one. The bike lane runs in the middle of the road, splitting two lanes of traffic. Both Newark & Paterson Avenues are county roads, but for some reason, the Hudson County Department of Roads & Public Property, nor the Hoboken Police Department, were consulted regarding these changes.

I would have suggested following the recommendations of The Jersey City/Hoboken Subregional Transportation Study from over a year ago which suggested a new traffic signal at this location. This could have assisted in making a bad traffic situation much safer.

The new road configuration has led to a significant increase in traffic congestion as commuters return to Hoboken during evening rush hour. Traffic is now backing up into Jersey City as vehicles have difficulty making the left turn onto Jackson Street from Newark Avenue. This affects residents in the 4th Ward and many other commuters throughout the city, as Jackson Street is a main point of ingress for the city. Also, Jackson St. is a designated truck route in the city and that portion is in an industrialized zone.

At the next council meeting, Wednesday September 5th at 7 pm there will be a public hearing prior to a second reading and final vote for an ordinance to return Jackson Street back to its original configuration.

I sponsored this ordinance as a temporary fix until Hudson County completes its scheduled installation of a new traffic signal on Newark Avenue at Jackson Street in the spring of 2013.

Some neighborhood residents favor keeping this new configuration permanently in the hopes of slowing traffic in the area and creating safer pedestrian crossing conditions. I fully support pedestrian safety, especially when there is a private day care center a few blocks away.

I have also put forth an ordinance for 1st reading adding a new stop sign at Jackson Street and Observer Highway. This signal costs approximately $200K and is the responsibility of the city. In following the recommendations of the Jersey City/Hoboken Subregional Transportation Study, this signal should have been budgeted this year.

I recommend we move forward with a cost effective traffic-calming device, a stop sign, at this location to increase pedestrian safety. Common sense dictates supporting the stop sign at Observer Highway if the council votes to change Jackson Street back to its original configuration, even temporarily. Otherwise traffic will become more congested, making a bad situation worse.

I believe that once the county installs the new traffic signal next spring that we will have an opportunity to evaluate returning the on street parking and bike lane on Jackson St.

Whether we agree or disagree, please consider taking the time to attend tomorrow night’s meeting and speak to the council on this issue. I would like to see the Council hear pros and cons from residents with differing opinions so we can make an informed decision. Too often, personality gets in the way on Council, and emotions run out of control. I live two blocks from this area. I would much rather this be done correctly, than worry about who gets credit. Hopefully my fellow council members agree.

Best,
Tim Occhipinti
4th Ward Councilman
timothy.occhipinti@gmail.com

Zimmer & Sacs – what do you think about the mess you made?

8/29/2012:

Below is a letter and some photos from Hoboken411 reader Brian – who is fed up beyond belief about the mess the Jackson Street traffic change that accommodated just a few leftist bicycle riders.

To Mayor Zimmer, the City Council, and Mr. Sacs:

I would like to express my gratitude for the changes that you have implemented on Jackson Street, between Newark and First, over the course of this summer.

Over the last year, I have put up with a lot, from floors to fires, hurricanes to early morning construction, but the ignorance and neglect that you have shown to the well being and commute of tax payers, residents, and those who otherwise experience this corner of Hoboken has re-affirmed my belief that come the first opportunity, I will do my best to get ANYONE else in office.

Since painting Jackson Street, making what functioned as 3 lanes (whether it was intended to be or not) into 1 driving lane, 2 parking lanes, and a zig zagging bike lane wide enough to fit a Hummer, my commute takes about 20 minutes longer than it previously did. Today, it took OVER AN HOUR for me to go from the Turnpike exit to Jackson Street. Not only did this more than double my commute, but it caused me to miss an A/C repair appointment, meaning I will be without cool air for all of Labor Day Weekend.

Now, before you respond (or don’t) with some of the things I’ve already educated myself on, let me just say that if you think residents should be patient until a light comes in the Spring, you are probably to far off-base to have read this far. If you think voters are blind to that neglect, you need a reality check. More over, if you think people will buy slowly opening Madison Street as a solution (let’s not talk about how it’s taken more than a week to remove 2 metal crowd barriers), I wonder if you’ve ever driven this commute. I’ve read all about that and that will not help anyone coming from the turnpike in the short or long term. To the points Mr. Sacs has made publicly, these changes only slow down traffic on Jackson because your research radar gun was sitting in a parking lane next to where traffic is now at a stand still on a daily basis, and how you can say putting large, solid, inanimate objects (Cars/Trucks/More often delivery vans) on a street corner with parking spots benefits pedestrian visibility is just silly. Again, I really hope you don’t think voters are blind to this.

Finally, because I sincerely believe many of you voted off of paper and not experience (or some simply lied to residents when they did experience according to online comments), I have included some pictures from the hour I spent wasting gas and polluting the environment this evening. In no particular order, they show:

  • The line of traffic where I sat in the same spot for 7 light cycles on Grove Street between 17th and 18th in JC because Newark was backed up to the Turnpike
  • Me then sitting on Marin BLVD after I turned around off of Grove, and the ensuing line of traffic.
  • The “2nd lane” that people then created on Marin, tired of sitting in traffic for an hour
  • THe line of traffic heading south on Newark, past the firestation (So opening Madison will help…. what?)
  • Missing 5th picture, because I did put my phone down the few times I was actually moving, of the 2 motorcycles that used your “Bike Lane” to “safely” navigate their way through the “much slower, safer” corridor of Jackson Street. Don’t worry though, they zig zagged with the lane when it cut in between the turn and straight lane (then turned left onto Patterson).

Personally, I can think of a plethora of better ways to make this corridor safer, and I don’t need any experience or data to tell me that. Hopefully you all will spend some time, no matter what your data or beliefs tell you, and take the drive thousands of us do over the coming week and realize the err in your ways, and at the very least repeal the lane changes until the light is installed. I CAN’T WAIT until next week, when thousands more are doing this commute every day instead of spending time at their shore houses.

Thanks for that nightmare.”

Leave a Reply

19 Comments on "Letter: Jackson Street BLOWS"


Member
Civic66
2 years 10 months ago

Now they have a cop (I believe Hudson Country Sheriff) there during rush hour to direct traffic?!?! What a waste of tax payer dollars just to put a bike lane on one block of roaway that bikers don’t even use.

This may be really drastic, but is there any realistic way to connect Coles St in Jersey City to Marshall St by going under the train tracks? That could possibly help alleviate the traffic coming into Hoboken from Jersey Ave.

Member
Skelly
2 years 11 months ago

…seems like it’s all too late, folks! Hoboken dumped the big money into painting all the lane lines and bike lanes, got the lights all setup to let everyone LEAVE town. Don’t think it would be likely they would revert and set the street back to the way it was. IF they decided to setup a PM time setting on the traffic lights that are so kind to let us out of town, in order to let us back in, maybe it might work sightly smoother. Yes we’re all screwed every PM rush hour now, waiting to zipper in the merge onto Jackson street, and everyone else onto Observer Hwy, but like the bike lane lines painted BEFORE paving all the wonderful suspension-destroying streets, they’re here to stay, no more money to use, and to wait yet another 10 years to see if more ‘improvements’ will take place. Remember the kind police officers that made the morning commute out of town slightly more efficient? We need them now to let us back in, NOT a stop sign, how would that work at all?

..possibly some kind resident will post a “Honk if this traffic sucks!” poster on the Welcome to Hoboken signs, and bug others enough that more letters will pour into City Hall. Pigeon shit, indeed.

Member
whineanddineinhob
2 years 11 months ago

Wouldn’t worry too much about entering and leaving town because if Dawn Zimmer and Christie have their way with the NJ Transit project, you won’t be able to afford living here withing 10 years. You’ll be pushed out of town just like others before you. It’ll be a city for the wealthy, and you renters just don’t fit the bill if rent control is abolished. I’d be very careful and concerned on how I vote on future municipal elections. Think you’re worthless 401k’s, company profit sharing, and a most likely very adjusted Social Security, is going to keep you in this town? Not likely, if Zimmer and her croonies have anything to say about it.[quote comment=”216994″]…seems like it’s all too late, folks! Hoboken dumped the big money into painting all the lane lines and bike lanes, got the lights all setup to let everyone LEAVE town. Don’t think it would be likely they would revert and set the street back to the way it was. IF they decided to setup a PM time setting on the traffic lights that are so kind to let us out of town, in order to let us back in, maybe it might work sightly smoother. Yes we’re all screwed every PM rush hour now, waiting to zipper in the merge onto Jackson street, and everyone else onto Observer Hwy, but like the bike lane lines painted BEFORE paving all the wonderful suspension-destroying streets, they’re here to stay, no more money to use, and to wait yet another 10 years to see if more ‘improvements’ will take place. Remember the kind police officers that made the morning commute out of town slightly more efficient? We need them now to let us back in, NOT a stop sign, how would that work at all?..possibly some kind resident will post a “Honk if this traffic sucks!” poster on the Welcome to Hoboken signs, and bug others enough that more letters will pour into City Hall. Pigeon shit, indeed.[/quote]

Member
jackson3
2 years 11 months ago

Wow. Someone sticking up for Ian Sacs. Never thought I’d see the day.

Unfortunately, the person doing so is operating under the naivety that he and Zimmer attribute to all of Hoboken Residents.

I exchanged a few emails with Mr. Sacs about this corner right after it happened and it started drastically affecting my commute. Not only do I live on this corner and my property has likely devalued itself because of the significant increase in noise at this intersection with honking, but I walk through it on the way to my parking spot every day, and drive through it getting in and out of town each day.

To buy into the argument that this is safer for pedestrians is lunacy. There are parked cars on the street corners now. You think it is safer having them unable to see anyone at the street corner actually not acting like an entitled walker and waiting? You think they can react in time to see those who walk right into the intersection as an ignorant entitled pedestrian? I don’t… because I don’t have the ability to see through cars… so at least 4 times a day I am now more likely to be hit or hit someone.

To complicate that, now drivers are pissed off for sitting in longer-than-usual traffic and driving pissed off, quicker through there when it does open up, adding to pedestrians danger.

Close it off to 18 wheelers. Stop letting delivery trucks block lanes. Make it 2 lanes (with the bike lane on a curb), with the plastic dividers in between so people can’t hit each other. Install the light. These are the only things that MAY make it better than it was, before Sacs f’d it all up.

Conveniently, this town hall is on the night of the Giants season opener and a big DNC speech… good luck getting a turn out, Tim!

Member
2 years 11 months ago

Going into the Councilman’s letter there are 2 paragraphs that I have a problem with…

“I have also put forth an ordinance for 1st reading adding a new stop sign at Jackson Street and Observer Highway. This signal costs approximately $200K and is the responsibility of the city. In following the recommendations of the Jersey City/Hoboken Subregional Transportation Study, this signal should have been budgeted this year.”

The ordinance is for a signal or for a stop sign? Because the first sentence is regarding a stop sign which is maybe $8K including labor to install and maybe a new stop bar. The second sentence out of nowhere he is randomly talking about how much a new signal costs. It seems like one of those reading comprehension quizzes we took in grade school where topics come out of nowhere.

“I recommend we move forward with a cost effective traffic-calming device, a stop sign, at this location to increase pedestrian safety. Common sense dictates supporting the stop sign at Observer Highway if the council votes to change Jackson Street back to its original configuration, even temporarily. Otherwise traffic will become more congested, making a bad situation worse.”

Typical politican…Stop Signs are NOT traffic calming devices. They are regulatory signs used when traffic dictates their use. They are not to be used to slow traffic. There are many accepted ways to slow traffic speeds and increase pedestrian safety such as speed humps and bumps, narrowing roadway geometry, increased warning signage, textured roadways, etc. But installing a stop sign is not an acceptable way to calm traffic. Similarly just reducing a speed limit isn’t a proper way to reduce speeds.

Member
2 years 11 months ago

“I recommend we move forward with a cost effective traffic-calming device, a stop sign, at this location to increase pedestrian safety.”

Stop signs are NOT traffic-calming devices. Where and when a stop sign is warranted is regulated by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 39:4-8b(1), a sign has to be approved by NJDOT to be enforceable, unless the street is fully under municipal jurisdiction.

To get a stop sign approved the city needs to conduct an engineering study, which must include traffic counts and crash data, and optionally, speed data. Other criteria to be considered are the need for additional control for left turns or vehicle-pedestrian conflicts. Then NJDOT then has 90 days to review this information.

And regardless of whether or not the street is under municipal jurisdiction, the City has to pass an ordinance or resolution first.

This makes me wonder how many of the recent stop signs installed around Hoboken are legitimate. Were there any ordinance or resolutions passed for them, or approval from NJDOT, where necessary?