This week, Hoboken is announcing its version of a highly successful awareness campaign practiced throughout Europe and, more directly translatable, the UK. In the UK, the campaign is called “20's Plenty for Us”, and in cities that adopt this policy, a 20mph speed limit area is established and signs are posted requiring drivers to obey the lower speed limit.
Ostensibly, the actions today by NJ Governor Chris Christie to cancel the "Access to Region's Core" (ARC) tunnel project seem like a vicious blow to the future of rail in our country (fatal even, given the recent commentary from conservatives country-wide on opposition to the national high speed rail network projects). I myself am extremely disappointed that our state's fiscal circumstances have led the Governor to make this decision, and I am sincerely empathetic to the construction and operational jobs and potential to improve mobility conditions that this cancellation jeopardizes.
Over the past year, we've been guiding the City of Hoboken, NJ towards providing sufficient alternative modes of transportation such that owning a car for a large number of residents becomes more than unattractive, it's simply not necessary. The goal is not to tell residents that they can't own a car, but to make life without a car so easy that every single family in Hoboken can freely choose whether owning a car is what they want to spend their money on. For those who decide that a daily commute by car is most practical, my job is to make it possible to find a parking space and travel in and out of town without too much friction. However, for the overwhelming majority of Hobokenites who commute daily on foot, bicycle, or via transit, life without a car should be as
The parking “epidemic” in Hoboken is so bad that no parking garage conceivable by man can contain our demand. So this week, Hoboken ventures where no city has gone before; we are rolling out the nation’s first city-wide on-street car-sharing program as a public-private partnership between Hoboken and Connect by Hertz.
With the brilliant help of graduates from Hoboken's Stevens Institute of Technology, our local community shuttle bus (a.k.a. The Hop, formerly known as The Downtown Crosstown Shuttle) can now be viewed live on the city's website as it cruises along narrow Hoboken city streets from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM (EST), Monday through Friday. If you're not near the internet, try texting “crosstown” to 41411 to get a return text with the location of the bus' whereabouts whenever it's running, then run down to the corner before you miss it!
When I inherited the Hoboken Parking Utility last year, it was hobbling along with all of the forward planning of a Friday night Rock-and-Bowl last call. With no time to build a new budget from the bottom up, I was left to remold what I found into something a little less status-quo and a little more innovative. In a scrutinizing political climate and tough economic conditions, the changes had to be both necessary and serve as an example of ways to reduce costs.
The beauty of street paint is that it costs next to nothing and it can have a huge effect in a very short period of time. Anyone watching how New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan transforms public streets into public spaces with paint, planters, seating, and signs knows how the installation of these materials overnight works like magic.
As if all this inclement weather hasn't been hassle enough for those of us who cherish our cars, I practically careened into another tragic loss for the rightfully auto-minded recently in Hoboken, New Jersey. It seems the needs of lofty pedestrians et.al. have once again been imprudently prioritized over us drivers in a result that is sure to make your muffler ratlle: a one-block segment of an historic belgian block street has been closed off to the ideal form of personal mobility (read: car) so that silly people with nothing better to do than run around frivolously in streets have another place off the sidewalk to inconvenience the driving majority of our great nation.
So, I'm out at a site visit with the city engineer last week and we're talking about ways to implement curb extensions to reduce pedestrian exposure to vehicular traffic. We're discussing inexpensive ways to accomplish this, and then on queue, as is the right and obligation of all civil engineers, the ugly villain subject of all things bumped-out rears its head: drainage.
For those who either have been wondering about, or not regularly following, the private life and times of your correspondent, I believe some sort of explanation is in order for what appears to have been my abrupt and complete disappearance off the face of the Earth. No, I did not get hit by an electric bus. No, there were no sinkholes in my proverbial bike lane. No, I didn't fatally discover an improperly phased pedestrian “Don't Walk” message on a recent signal timing field test. In fact, I have not disappeared from the face of any planet; rather, I have been devoured by the political wranglings and machinations of a very complex and tumultuous mayoral campaign in my fantastic hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey. More importantly, one week after being appointed Provisional Director of the Hoboken Parking Utility, my wife gave birth to a wonderful boy. But – sniff – I did miss you!
You probably already know that the largest mass transit system in North America is in New York City. Perhaps you didn’t know that this system is supplemented by a very heavily used sister-system between New York City and New Jersey called the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, or PATH for short. PATH runs two lines through Jersey City, Newark, and Hoboken, carrying tens of thousands of passengers daily. My hometown, Hoboken, is considered one of the most densely populated cities in the country, and a large number of those residents commute via PATH on a daily basis. As the popularity of living in the city has increased, so have the swarms of passengers crowding onto PATH each morning and afternoon in their daily commute between New Jersey and Manhattan. The cars are very old and make for a rickety, sometimes enthralling ride. So it is not with anything but a huge warm welcome that we began to receive new rail cars over the past month.
America's so-called “love affair” with the automobile, although cliché, provides a vivid description of how attached we really are to driving. Public policy, and the historically overwhelming effect of auto industry lobbying, is only partly to blame for the endemic traffic jams and smog of the twentieth century. Bruce Schaller, a transportation consultant hired by New York City advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, recently demonstrated that urbanites with multiple transportation options still choose to commute by car for rational reasons of privacy, convenience, and speed. A chart of his, shown below, demonstrates how perplexing this choice is. Overcoming these reasons is a ser
A friend introduced me yesterday to rambunctious bicycling advocate Fred Oswald via a recent article out of Cleveland’s press. Much debate swirls around his not-so-uncommon opinions. Mr. Oswald’s argument can be boiled down to two points: supporting a critical need for much more bicycling education on sharing public roadways with other vehicles, and fighting an industry-borne fallacy that breaking up streets with allocated spaces, such as bike lanes, is good for the biking community. The former is, of course, not contestable. We all agree that safety and training are absolutely critical to developing a strong and healthy bicycling community.