Washington Street Redesign is the Next Step for a Bike-Friendly Hoboken

Washington Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets. | Image: Google Maps

With the launch of its own bike-share system last October, Hoboken took a huge step towards becoming a truly bike-friendly city. And now it’s preparing to take the next leap: redesigning Washington Street, a dangerous and highly-trafficked corridor, to better accommodate people on foot and on bikes.

Washington Street is home to Hoboken City Hall, numerous businesses and residences, two bike share stations, three bus stops and connections to Hoboken Terminal. And it’s Hoboken’s most dangerous road: between 2013 and 2015, there were more than 300 traffic crashes, including a pedestrian fatality. The redesign would narrow the four-lane corridor to a two-lane street with parking-protected bike lanes while adding loading zones, traffic signals, floating bus stops, curb cuts and ADA ramps.

Proposal for typical downtown street in Washington Street redesign. | Image: City of Hoboken

Proposal for typical downtown street in Washington Street redesign. | Image: City of Hoboken

The majority of Hoboken commuters don’t drive and more than a third of city households are car-free. As a major thoroughfare for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders alike, Washington Street should be redesigned to emphasize the safety of all road users. The proposal, however, has not been without a few bumps along the way. A 2014 proposal for the street’s redesign reduced the 17-block street’s 555 parking spaces by 16 spots (a 3 percent reduction) to the ire of local businesses and residents. The revamped proposal now preserves all the spaces thanks to 60-degree back-in angled parking uptown and relocated fire hydrants.

Still, Washington Street business owners and stakeholders have been vocal about their opinions on the new design–specifically regarding the bike lanes. At a business community meeting last Friday, some suggested the relocation of the lanes to less trafficked streets or to the waterfront. Other attendees also expressed concerns that the lanes would negatively affect businesses by deterring double parking and potential customers.

A number of studies, however, have proven the opposite: that more bikes mean more business. Luckily, Mayor Dawn Zimmer has made the connection between complete streets and better business, telling the Hudson Reporter the plan would help, rather than hurt the business community.

Hoboken is hosting a community meeting tonight, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers, to discuss the final design for the plan. City Council is expected to vote on resolution for the plan on Wednesday, February 17.

4 Comments on "Washington Street Redesign is the Next Step for a Bike-Friendly Hoboken"

  1. Rob Durchola | February 8, 2016 at 6:57 pm |

    A small correction: Hoboken has 14 bus STOPS on Washington St. (7 in each direction). These bus stops are served by three bus ROUTES, one of which operates every two minutes in the morning to New York.

    This means the bus volume is very high (and that the buses probably carry far more people than the cars do). Currently, the bus stops are curbside; so if the bike lanes are along the curb, bicyclists will need to stop at red lights to yield to pedestrians crossing the street, including those heading for bus stops.

  2. I hope that plan includes a way to daylight the bike lanes at intersections. Given the way people double-park on Washington St., I can see people shoving cars right up to the corners, no matter the “no parking” paint. Cyclists have a lot to fear from turning traffic if the sightlines aren’t kept clear.

  3. Tim Noordewier | February 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm |

    As a Hoboken resident and Traffic Engineer, I think this is a much needed project to improve the safety of pedestrians/cyclists and to make Hoboken’s commerce district more aesthetically pleasing!

    Now if only my bike hadn’t been stolen from the PATH station… I’ll buy a new one once the city does more to combat bicycle theft. Sting operations?

  4. the combined risks are too great. revenue has already been leaking because of the risky environment of the unenforced streets and sidewalks w bikers not following laws. Safety dictates separation of modes.

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