The Hoboken City Council held a special meeting to discuss the Washington Street Redevelopment Plan proposed by T&M Design Group, where the majority of business owners blasted the plan for its placement of bike lanes.
The $15 million project proposes repaving Washington Street, a renovation of water and power main breaks, bike lanes, changed driving and parking lanes, as well as newly designed landscapes for Washington Street.
Representatives for the T&M Design Group gave a presentation for the proposed plan in front of city council and a full house of concerned residence and business owners showing the new concept for Washington Street.
One of the major changes that would come would be the addition of a 6-foot bike lane on both sides of Washington Street which would ultimately eliminate double parking, a common practice for shoppers, which is a major concern for most business owners.
Former Mayor David Roberts addressed city council and the public to stress dire need to rejuvenate Washington Street but to keep in mind the lifestyle of Hoboken businesses for what they are, “Redoing Washington Street is a very important undertaking” later adding.
“I’m here tonight because I thought as this plan was going to substantially impact many of these families and business owners in particular,” he began.
“There isn’t a place in this plan where a car can stop, run out pick up a sandwich, dry cleaning, drop off a child or senior, there’s just no place to do that and I think that’s worthy of your oversight, many business owners are concerned about that and anxious, so am I.”
Eugene Flinn, owner of Amanda’s, Café Elysian, and Shnackenberg’s proposed moving bike lanes off of Washington Street and away from the heavy flow of business stating.
“We want an appropriate place for the bikes to be for safety for everyone’s safety. There’s buses, there’s delivers, there’s tractor trailers that come on Washington Street”, later adding “Let’s move with this plan with an amendment that we move the bike lanes off of Washington Street to make it safer for bikers themselves.”
Armando Luis, owner of Sparrows Wine and Liquor Company and La Isla Restaurant, stressed the usefulness of the ability to double park for his companies but for all businesses on Washington Street as well.
“The biking lane between the side walk and the parking spaces is a bad idea, it is an idea that will probably paralyze my business,” Luis said. “Between La Isla and Sparrow alone there is almost 12 to perhaps 24 hours a week of unloading depending on the seasons.”
Later adding, “If this plan goes into effect every single delivery will have to be made from a delivery space, the guy delivering a pizza, the guy delivering an envelope, the FedEx truck, if his only option is to drop off from a drop off zone, he will be there for an hour.”
Ernie Reyes, from Ace Hardware, had attended a previous redesign meeting and posed a question asking whether the bike lanes were being put in place to encourage biking or to eliminate double parking, and according to Reyes, the answer he was given was to “eliminate double parking.”
Reyes later added, “There’s a Home Depot less than a mile from my store, it has parking, its free parking. You will significantly impact my business if you take away that incremental parking, that temporary two-minute parking.”
Hoboken City Council, who were in the council chambers until after midnight, will vote on this matter on February 10th during a special meeting.