Fourth Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, Jr. has called on the Zimmer administration to temporarily halt the concrete curb work being done as part of the Washington Street Redesign to study and reassess the impact of some of the redesign elements on vehicular traffic and public safety.
“I was proud to help approve the Washington Street redesign because the mayor allowed the streetscape to deteriorate into conditions which were unsafe for cars and pedestrians,” Ramos in a statement. “However, now that work is underway, it’s becoming clear that the impact of some of the new design elements, especially the curb bump-outs, is a lot more problematic in practice than it looked on paper.”
The Washington Street Redesign includes curb bump-outs on all four corners of intersections along Washington Street. The bump outs are intended to aid pedestrian safety by narrowing the distance between curbs as pedestrians cross the street.
“The curb bump-outs are now causing a whole different set of safety problems for people along Washington Street, both in cars and on foot,” added Ramos. “We need to hit pause on this and work with our Police and Fire Departments to make sure their ability to get around on our streets isn’t impacted by the new curbs.
“I’ve expressed these concerns to the administration and was told that the work would continue. I don’t want to have another situation like on Jackson Street or Observer Highway where these kinds of problems weren’t identified until after the work was done and millions of dollars were spent. In their haste to get this done, the city has already committed a major blunder by removing the historic blue stones in front of City Hall. There’s no reason why we can’t continue with the other pedestrian safety features, like the new signage, while we rethink the curbs and crosswalks, and take the time to get this done right.”
According to his press release Ramos is proposing the number of curb bump-outs per intersection be limited to one instead of all four corners.
The next day, Councilman and mayoral candidate Michael DeFusco called for a special council meeting to address the project and the impact on residents and businesses, as well as the unexpected removal of 22 mature trees and destruction of historic bluestone sidewalks.
DeFusco submitted an official request to Council President (and mayoral candidate) Jennifer Giattino asking that the meeting be scheduled immediately given the urgent nature of the subject, and that it be open to public comment about the construction.
Councilman David Mello joins Romano ticket
Councilman at-large David Mello and Hudson County Freeholder and Mayoral candidate Anthony Romano announced Monday morning that Mello would be a council candidate on Romano’s slate.
There are three council-at-large seats up for grabs in the November municipal election, in which the city will also elect a new mayor.
Mello joins Hoboken resident Laini Hammond on Romano’s ticket, leaving just one seat to be filled. In a video announcement, Romano said Mello is an “integral part of the successes that Hoboken has achieved over the past year.”
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be joining this slate,” said Mello. “For the city of Hoboken, I think Anthony Romano, in 2017, is the mayor of Hoboken the people of Hoboken really need. He has a wonderful, proven record of dealing well with outside parties. There are so many outside parties that are at the key to so many issues that are at the forefront of Hoboken and its citizenry today: whether it be Suez Water, New Jersey Transit, the county, the state or federal governments.”
Mello has served on the council for the past eight years and is currently a public school teacher in Jersey City.
But according to reports, in 2015, as council vice president, he spoke out against the Board of Freeholders for imposing a county tax hike. At the time, Freeholders Romano and Bill O’Dea said they had fought against the tax hikes as well.
That makes four council people who were allied with current Mayor Dawn Zimmer now running on separate tickets, potentially splitting the Zimmer-allied vote. Zimmer herself publicly backed Councilman Ravi Bhalla when she announced she was dropping out, without previously soliciting input from her allies on the council. This stoked some frustration among her supporters. See cover story for more on the race.
Police to crack down on impaired driving
Police agencies from around New Jersey are gearing up for the state’s largest annual drunk driving crackdown.
The 2017 “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” Statewide Labor Day was to begin Friday, Aug. 18 and conclude on Sept. 4. During the campaign, local and state law enforcement officers will conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols targeting motorists who may be driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
“Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” is a national campaign designed to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving through high-visibility enforcement backed up by educational activities including national radio and television advertisements, posters, banners and mobile video display signs. The campaign looks to curtail impaired driving during the busy summer travel season, including the Labor Day holiday period.
“Despite years of enforcement and public awareness efforts, too many people still make the unfortunate decision to get behind the wheel while impaired. Nearly 30 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in New Jersey are alcohol-related,” said Gary Poedubicky, acting director of the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “This is a zero tolerance campaign. If drivers are caught operating their vehicle while impaired they will be arrested.”
As part of the initiative, the Division of Highway Traffic Safety provides grants to local police agencies throughout the state to run the two-week campaign. During last year’s crackdown, participating agencies made 1,649 DWI arrests.
The press release offers the following advice: If you plan to drink have a designated driver before going out, take mass transit or a taxi, spend the night where the activity is held so you don’t need to travel, buckle your seat belt, if you’re intoxicated and traveling on foot, the safest way to get home is to take a cab or have a sober friend or family member drive you to your doorstep.
City to host workshop for redevelopment north of Viaduct
The city will host the first community workshop as part of the community planning process for the North End Redevelopment Plan on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. The location for the meeting has not yet been determined and will be announced prior to the meeting date according to the press release.
In December 2013 the City Council declared the North End Area of the city as an Area in Need of Rehabilitation. The area is generally north of the Fourteenth Street viaduct between Park Avenue and the palisades and is bounded to the north by the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks. The city is now in the process of developing a redevelopment plan for the North End in order to determine land uses, development patterns, transportation and transit solutions, and flood mitigation appropriate for the area.
As the first step of the community planning process, an online survey was issued in March 2017 to provide public feedback on the vision for the North End.
The survey results can be viewed at: http://hobokennj.gov/content/wp-content/uploads/North-End-Survey-Results-Memo.pdf.
Community invited to HOPES ribbon cutting
The Hoboken Organization Against Poverty and Economic Stress (HOPES) will host a ribbon cutting on Wed, Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. for their newly constructed four-story annex at 301 Garden St. The new addition will serve up to 45 Head Start children (public pre-K) in three classrooms and house administrative offices. The building already serves over 700 school children.
The local nonprofit has been providing the local community with diverse services for more than 50 years, some of which come from government funding, others of which are aided by donations. Its mission is to provide necessary community services to help individuals overcome poverty through all stages of life.
Executive Director Ora Welch said, “We really want as many members of the public to know about our new annex as possible. This additional space will allow us to help more children, seniors, and families.”
To RSVP go to http://hopesribboncutting.eventbrite.com or call Stephanie Lloyd at 1-855-ok-hopes ext. 1109.
Library open despite closed main entrance
The Hoboken Public Library’s Main Entrance on Fifth Street will be unavailable from Thursday Aug. 24 through Friday Aug 31. The library will still be open during this time, and visitors are asked to use the entrance around the corner on Park Avenue. The elevator entrance on Fifth Street will remain open as well.
For more information or questions call the library at (201) 420-2347.
New exhibit at hob’art launched this weekend
All are invited to an artists’ reception that was scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. for their latest exhibit “Unseen.” The exhibit runs through Sept. 16.
“Unseen” is an exhibit of photographic, collage, and mixed media works, which focus on the essential elements that are often overlooked in everyday comings and goings. The images delve into the subject matter to reveal the unseen or unintended.
Ann Kinney’s photograph’s focus on the images within the commonplace as she finds things are not what they seem. In her collages, she juxtaposes images to redefine their ordinariness. She sees her work as a photo-fusion of images and materials, combining colored pencil, watercolor, pastel, ink and mixed media and her photographs.
Don Sichler’s discovers art in the images he photographs in looking for the things that most people don’t see. His photography uses color and distortion to draw us into the picture leaving us with a sense of more than meets the eye.
Free parking is available at the side of the building on Seventh Street and is wheelchair accessible. Gallery information may be obtained on the website www.hob-art.org and from the Director, France Garrido, (201) 319-1504 or email@example.com. The gallery is located at 720 Monroe St., Suite E208.