A green light at the end of the tunnel?

Hoboken to pilot traffic circulation changes to improve travel times

In a bid to ease the traffic congestion which has become all too familiar to Hoboken’s Southwest and a headache to residents and commuters, the city will pilot a new traffic pattern.

The yearlong pilot aims to give drivers more “green” time while increasing on-street parking and pedestrian safety.

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“We are at the final stages of what has been years of trying to improve the southwest,” said John Jahr, the city’s consultant with Bright View Engineering.

Hoboken – with approval from Hudson County and the support of Union City and Jersey City- will convert two blocks of Paterson Avenue from two-way to one-way westbound between Monroe Street and Harrison Street.

As a condition of the pilot, Hoboken has agreed to pay for engineering costs, including the development of signage and striping plans, traffic signal plans, traffic signal electrical plans, traffic signal timing plans, and signal modifications. Hudson County has agreed to pay for construction costs, including milling and paving, striping and signage of Paterson Avenue per a Dec. 10, 2020, memo.

County contribution 

Hoboken has long pushed for the county’s help in easing congestion in this corner of town, especially as Paterson Avenue is a county road.

The city began studying southwest traffic in 2016 and implemented several changes the following year, such as adding three new traffic signals on Observer Highway, a second southbound travel lane on Harrison Street between Paterson Avenue and Observer Highway, a right-turn lane from Newark Street onto Madison Street, and a new receiving lane on Jersey Avenue from Harrison Street.

Last year, the city completed a follow-up study showing that the circulation improvements implemented in 2017 in southwest Hoboken resulted in an average reduction in travel time by over 20 percent, exceeding the eight percent prediction.

“Every time we have done something it’s been a 10 or 20 percent improvement, and this is going to be a very noticeable improvement because we’ve got the other ones already in place,” Jahr said.

Hoboken will also change the traffic pattern along a portion of Marshall Street and Second Street as part of a concurrent one-year pilot.

Marshall Street from Paterson Avenue to Second Street will be northbound only, and Second Street will become a two-way street from Marshall Street to Jackson Street.

Intersections along Second Street will get all-way stop signs and new brightly striped crosswalks that Jahr said will help calm traffic.

According to the city, during the course of the pilot at least 15 on-street parking spaces will be added, particularly along the southern portion of Paterson Avenue.

Second Street will continue to have parking on the street, though these spaces will be for compact cars only due to the width of the road and to accommodate two lanes of traffic.

Director of Transportation and Parking Ryan Sharp said the city will have the flexibility to eliminate some of the parking due to the narrowness of the travel lanes and parking lane. This does not mean the city would have to remove parking entirely but could remove some parking spaces to create safe spaces for vehicles to pull over.

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.

 

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