NJ Transit / Hoboken Terminal Yards Redevelopment Plan update
We’ve been covering the NJ Transit Rail Yards “redevelopment plan” for the past six or seven years. And this
political football topic has been around for more than 15 years! And look – still nothing done! Yet they keep talking about it as if it’s going to happen “any day now!”
We’re here to tell you it’s NOT.
Hoboken terminal plan is just rhetoric (and bad ideas!)
There’s yet another
meeting dog and pony show tonight at City Hall to “discuss” this “plan.” Countless other “sideshows” disguised as “community input meetings” have been held over the years. These accomplish a few goals.
- Make the community feel as if their input matters (it rarely, if ever does)
- Give attention to politicians, make them appear competent, knowledgeable
- Mask incompetence, divert spotlight from failed promises
Why the plan will not happen any time soon
political football pipe dream may seem within touch for some people, but the reality is that it is nowhere near close to happening. It’s all rhetoric.
For one, before any building is built – a TON of infrastructure work has to be completed.
PSE&G is in the midst of ripping up streets all over town. They “project” they’ll have the “upgrades” down in two or three years (not including any unforeseen “discoveries” and other un-planned for circumstances). Any projection from a public utility can easily be doubled. So say five years is more realistic.
And that doesn’t include any of the work that United Water needs to do as well.
Add in a healthy mixture of legal battles, environmentalists, hearings, a revolving door of politicians, elections, unforeseen weather events, economic intangibles, and scandals – and I’d be very surprised if anything is even started by the year 2025.
Why the plan (in general) is a bad idea
Let’s say they “break ground” tomorrow (they’re not), only for sake of discussion. We think this plan is another one of those Utopian “pies in the sky.” Urban planners all over the world have a massive track record of failure to plan for growth appropriately. Not just here in Hoboken, but everywhere. Highways too narrow, bridges & tunnels too small, over-developing in climatologically risky areas, etc.
In this case – they want to redesign the downtown area with a full suite of accouterments that are currently ranking high (in terms of progressive “buzz.”) Like bike lanes, “eco-friendly” drainage, pedestrian (homeless) piazzas, green roofs, and all the other lingo. Missing from that batch of fuzzy feel good propaganda is a healthy dose of logic and reality.
Another big part of progressive plans like these are “traffic and pedestrian safety measures.” Including speed bumps, curb cutouts, special lanes for bicyclists, handicapped people, and so on. They also like to throw in “traffic calming” features as well, which slows movement. Let’s sum up what would really happen if they built this massive project as proposed today:
- Traffic bottlenecks will drastically get worse (even with fancy signals and timing mechanisms).
- Minor incidents will now result in catastrophic delays in terms of the effects they’ll have on volume.
- Desperate drivers will seek alternate routes – quite possibly increasing volume on streets that normally don’t experience it.
- Adding offices, jobs, and residential units will only compound the problem (i.e., people still love cars).
- And most importantly – parking will get even MORE difficult.
It sure would be nice if someone stood up and said “wait a minute, are we really thinking this through?”
Sucks that only profit and political scores are the lone things that result from projects like this. All that happens is that (realistic) issues are “kicked down the road” and become someone else’s problems (sort of like how every headache in Hoboken today was effectively caused by someone else 10, 20 or 100 years ago).