Ambitious Bike-Ped Plan Latest Hoboken Livable Streets Coup

Near the Hudson Bergen Light Rail line, the Hoboken bike/ped plan calls for new crosswalks, __, and continuous sidewalks across __.
Near the Hudson Bergen Light Rail line, the Hoboken bike-ped plan calls for new crosswalks, colorized pavement to emphasize the intersections, and continuous sidewalks across driveways, instead of curb cuts.

It’s official. When it comes to livable streets, Hoboken is pulling out in front of every other New York City suburb. In some ways, the one-square-mile town is even lapping New York City. The latest in a string of envy-inducing projects under Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Parking and Transportation Director Ian Sacs is the city’s new bike and pedestrian plan.

As the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Zoe Baldwin writes, Hoboken has quickly emerged as a model of sustainable transportation policy in the last year. On Streetsblog, we’ve covered their Corner Cars program, which brings car-sharing to every corner of the small city by using on-street parking for shared vehicles; the Surrender Your Permit push, which offers a basket of incentives for residents who give up their cars; and the new 20’s Plenty campaign, urging drivers to slow down for safety. There’s also the revitalized shuttle bus service, the Hop, which has doubled in ridership since Zimmer took office a year ago.

Now, the city is developing a master bicycle and pedestrian plan. A draft is available online, and the public is invited to comment through this Monday. As currently written, the plan is an ambitious one. Here are just a few highlights from the document:

To calm traffic, extra-wide lanes would be narrowed, with the space reused for things like wider sidewalks or bike lanes. On-street parking could be repurposed for bike parking, sidewalk space, or parklets. New signage would sprout across the city, helping cyclists find their way (and remember to ride in the right direction) and reminding drivers of things like school zones or the right of cyclists to take a full lane. There’d be car-free Sundays on Sinatra Drive, and Observer Highway would be remade and renamed as Observer Boulevard.

But wait, there’s more. Bike boxes, pedestrian countdown signals, and walking school bus routes would be a part of the city landscape. There would be bike racks on board the Hop, NJ Transit, the light rail, PATH, and ferries. Hoboken would start looking into ambitious projects like a Chicago-style bike station at the train station and a bike-sharing program. Pedestrians would enjoy Barnes Dances, in which there’s a pedestrian-only signal phase, and raised intersections, which shift the grade of the vehicular grid rather than the pedestrian realm.

The bike-ped plan isn’t even limited to these engineering changes. It calls for strict enforcement of speeding, and greater numbers of bike police patrols. There would be pedestrian decoy operations, where the police nab drivers who don’t yield properly. Bicycle and pedestrian safety would be introduced into the school curriculum.

Perhaps most importantly, the plan calls for passing a special levy that would raise dedicated funds for bike and pedestrian programs, which could turn these ideas into a reality.

  • ChrisC

    Hoboken’s really old neighbourhoods are by fare the best from a pedestrian-standpoint. A lot of the townhomes built in the last 40 years have garages out front with curb cuts unfortunately. And because the homes are so narrow, in places they create an almost continue, wide driveway.

  • ChrisC

    Also, Washington Street is way too wide. It’s only supposed to be one moving lane and one parking lane in each direction. But the moving lane is so wide, that when motorists are waiting for a parallel-parked car to leave, there is room for other cars to pass. The moving lanes are literally two car widths each. They could easily have a protected bike lane in each direction between the parked cars and the sidewalk.

  • J

    Although, I’ll use this rarely, if ever, this is pretty cool stuff. It’s not groundbreaking, but it will definitively give bikes a place in a city which is so perfect for biking: flat & compact. Also, this includes some of this first bike boulevards on the east coast. Very cool.

  • Rob Durchola

    What Hoboken should do on Washington Street is ban parking totally and use the space for a bus lane. They could do something similar on Observer Highway. Both streets have enough bus volume to support bus lanes.

    Hoboken does need to be careful that in narrowing streets on which bus service operates they do not slow down all traffic, including buses. Buses are essential (with good bikeways and walking routes) to a successful urban environment.

  • Yes, competition!

    Hoboken to NYC: “We’ll see your parking-protected cycle tracks and pedestrian plazas and raise you enforcement and education campaigns, robust pedestrian-safety intersection treatments, and a 20 MPH speed limit.”

    Ball’s in your court, NYC! Because it’s ON!

  • A

    FYI, Hoboken is not a suburb.

  • Excellent that Hoboken is becoming a leader in sustainable street design. I believe their car free incentive program is one of the very few in the country.

  • ChrisC

    >>What Hoboken should do on Washington Street is ban parking totally and use the space for a bus lane.<<

    Washington Street is so wide, that they could have, from curb to centre of the street: bus lane, floating parking lane, moving lane in each direction. As I mentioned above, the moving lane in each direction is literally two car widths as it is.

  • steve

    Why is there no pedestrian or bike crosing from Hoboken/Jersey City/Weehawken to NYC!  Until there is.. bikers and pedestrians have to rely on the overcrowded PATH and bus service.

  • Melissa Blanco

    left people stander in hurricane Sandy when the City of Hoboken had no evacuation plan.

  • Melissa Blanco

    best point of any article I have read regarding this area.

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