A roadmap to safety

Hoboken Vision Zero Draft Action Plan released

The city held a virtual public meeting of the draft Vision Zero Action Plan on Jan. 13.
×
The city held a virtual public meeting of the draft Vision Zero Action Plan on Jan. 13.

After months of planning and research, Hoboken released its draft Zero Action Plan that aims to eliminate all traffic-related injuries and deaths in Hoboken by 2030.

“Hoboken is committed to creating safer streets for all users, and our Vision Zero Action Plan will create the roadmap to make this a reality,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “At the same time, we aren’t just waiting for the plan to achieve zero pedestrian injuries or fatalities; we’ve implemented a number of safety projects, including curb extensions across the City, five miles of new bike lanes, new traffic signals, a raised intersection next to Columbus Park, the Newark Street Complete Street Redesign, open and slow streets, and more. I look forward to building on this progress with our Vision Zero team in the weeks and months to come.”

In August 2019, Bhalla signed an Executive Order establishing the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

Since then, the Vision Zero Task Force has held three meetings to guide the creation of the action plan and solicit feedback, the Vision Zero team has reviewed and analyzed crash data from 2014-2018, the city launched the Vision Zero website and social media accounts, the team implemented a slow street along Fifth Street to analyze quick builds’ impact on traffic safety, and conducted a public survey.

Now the city’s released its 81-page draft action plan.

Draft plan

Over the next five years, the Hoboken Vision Zero Action Plan will help achieve the goal of eliminating all traffic-related deaths and injuries by 2030.

According to Dru van Hengel of Nelson Nygaard, the city’s consultant, “The actions proposed are organized based on a safe system approach founded on the premise that human life and health are the paramount consideration when designing, maintaining, and using streets.”

“The principles underpinning a Safe Systems approach acknowledge that people make mistakes on the road that can lead to crashes, but no one should die or be seriously injured because of them,” she said.

Action items include creating a permanent funding source for Vision Zero programs, developing a Traffic Calming Masterplan, and installing speed reduction infrastructure at high crash sites.

Recommendations also include lowering speed limits to no more than 20 miles per hour and establishing a 15 mph school zone speed limit.

The plan recommends implementing camera-based enforcement to ticket drivers who break speed and signal rules, requiring all new city vehicles have the latest crash reduction technology and safety equipment, recommending only protected bike lanes, and conducting annual road safety audits to identify contributing crash factors, among other recommendations.

To view the full draft plan go to https://www.vzhoboken.com/public-input.

More public input

A virtual public meeting was held on Jan. 13 during which questions were answered by the city’s Parking and Transportation Director Ryan Sharp and van Hengel.

Many members of the public voiced frustration with the format.

“It’s very very disappointing to have a public meeting at 6 o’clock,” said resident Michelle Mazurkiewicz. “I completely rearranged my entire schedule with my two children and a million other things to be at this meeting-given one day’s notice for this meeting, and yet the public is not allowed to actually speak at the meeting.”

She said she was a victim of a crash in February when a car jumped the curb as she was walking with her children, leaving her with PTSD.

She asked that the team speak with other more recent crash victims to get anecdotal information regarding current conditions and incidents since the crash data they based their action plan on is from crashes between 2014 and 2018.

According to Van Hengal, planned public input was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents could provide input on the draft until Jan. 27 and watch the full meeting at https://www.vzhoboken.com/public-input.

The final plan will be presented to the Hoboken City Council for a vote, during which members of the community will be able to comment.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.