Reader Mail: Transportation Suggestions
Hoboken411 was supplied a letter that 411 reader “mistermarr” had recently sent to both Mayor Roberts and 3rd Ward Councilman Russo.
He proposes half a dozen “achievable” suggestions in order to improve Hoboken’s transportation infrastructure and overall safety for local residents.
Set your stopwatches and see if (and when) our city officials acknowledge and address his letter.
“Dear Mayor Roberts and Councilman Russo,
Every day I risk death and serious bodily harm. I’m not a soldier in Iraq. I’m a pedestrian, runner and cyclist in Hoboken.
Just three weeks ago while my wife was running on the sidewalk, she was almost struck by a brick that fell three stories from a Seventh Street construction site. Every time I am biking and walking, I have close calls with several cars rolling through stop signs. On my bicycle commutes between the west side of town to the PATH train, I routinely encounter intersections that have zero visibility due to illegally parked delivery trucks, city vehicles, and cars. I ring my bell and hope someone is obeying the law on the other side and driving at a reasonable speed, which is usually not the case. The recent spate of pedestrians being struck by vehicles is evidence of the deteriorating situation.”
Read the rest of his concerns and see his suggestions (plus one bonus idea) after the jump.
“On Monroe Street, a mountain bike is necessary because the pavement has been so severely damaged by construction and large trucks that go down the street, usually leaving the Shoprite or one of the may construction sites on the west side of Hoboken. What’s worse, as the trucks hit the potholes they shake the surrounding buildings and in the case of my building, causing an inordinate amount of noise, settlement cracks and structural damage.
I hope the city can do a better job of addressing these safety issues. We all know that parking and transportation will become worse and worse as Hoboken’s population increases. Making Hoboken safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists should be your primary concern during this rapid redevelopment, especially if you purport to support “green” initiatives.
It in the city’s interest to encourage more bikes on the road. If you continue to allow the more remote western and northern areas to develop at a rapid pace, you have an obligation to address how all of these new people are going to commute to work. The light rail at 9th Street is okay, but it’s disappointing that NJ Transit and PATH did not work together to provide a quick and well-timed connection between the two. If you haven’t noticed, they’re at opposite ends of the station and the schedules don’t align. I can get to the PATH in 6 minutes by bike or up to 20 minutes by light rail. My bike is faster, cheaper, keeps me in shape and uses no natural resources.
The city’s current attitude towards cyclists is on display at the PATH station. The bike racks themselves are in disrepair, some occasionally turned on their side. The racks are always beyond full, and there are several abandoned bikes decomposing on the racks. Every time I see them I wonder if some were left by September 11th victims. It’s depressing. Because of the inadequate rack space, cyclists resort to chaining bikes up and down the chain link fences and on the railing across the street. Furthermore, NJ Transit, PATH and city police routinely impede access to the side racks by parking right in front of them.
Here are my completely achievable suggestions for Hoboken’s transportation infrastructure:
- Enforce existing parking regulations that are meant to make intersections safer. This city is happy to enforce meters and residential parking rules to make its money, but I never see vehicles that are impairing visibility ticketed, booted or towed. Blind corners are deadly for cyclists and pedestrians, particularly at night because drivers are more likely to run a stop sign if they don’t see approaching headlights.
- Enforce stop signs more aggressively. Increase penalties and awareness. Drivers in Hoboken routinely run them or merely slow down. It’s dangerous and potentially deadly. Drivers never look in the opposite direction of a one-way street because they’re only looking for other cars, so they never notice joggers and pedestrians. Drivers act like they’re in a bubble with no regard to the bodily harm their vehicles pose to pedestrians and cyclists. If enforcement doesn’t improve the situation, implement four-way stops or more traffic lights.
- Fix the bike racks at the PATH terminal, remove the abandoned bikes and add racks. Keep them clear of vehicles. Send cyclists some signal that you encourage and appreciate their healthy and environmentally-friendly choice of transportation. Hoboken is an ideal town for bikes. It’s compact and relatively flat, like Amsterdam. But there’s almost no encouragement from the city.
- Repave Monroe Street or ban heavy trucks from using it. It’s atrocious, dangerous, and passing trucks will continue to damage property and be a nuisance.
- Consider creating bike lanes on a couple of east-west corridors. These streets are all narrow and dangerous for cyclists and the west side is adding residents at a fast pace.
- Consider bike lanes on Washington Street. They could exist where people routinely idle while double-parked.
- (Somewhat off-topic) Negotiate a flat fee to Hoboken with NYC’s taxi drivers. Even if it is horribly over-priced, at least it would be predictable. Think about what a $25 flat fee to Hoboken would do for property values given the glut of new condominiums coming onto the market. The fact that you can pay $50 for a fifteen minute ride through the Lincoln tunnel is a big strike against Hoboken as a “sixth boro,” and will continue to drive people out and keep people away.
I look forward to hearing how you might address these issues.”