Bhalla outlines 11-person working group for Hoboken’s e-bike delivery licensing


In a letter to the Hoboken City Council yesterday, Mayor Ravi Bhalla outlined an 11-person working group for Hoboken’s e-bike delivery licensing process ahead of this evening’s council meeting at 7 p.m.

Photo courtesy of the City of Hoboken/City of Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

” … I am appreciative to the City Councilmembers who are taking this initiative seriously and have proposed safety changes surrounding electric-bike (e-bike) delivery in Hoboken, which I believe is an important and needed initiative,” Bhalla wrote.

“Nonetheless, I also believe the ordinance as currently proposed should be rewritten to achieve this goal that we all share. My administration and the Hoboken Police Department have substantial concerns about the proposed ordinance’s lack of any accountability for large companies employing e-bike delivery riders such as DoorDash and GrubHub, the potential targeting of immigrant populations and the practicality of forcing transient workers to register their employment with the City and law enforcement, among others.”

The working group would include an e-bike delivery driver, Vision Task Force member Ron Bautista (who has been outspoken against the current ordinance), retired Police Capt. John Petrosino, Police Sgt. Frankie DeRosa, and Lt. Keith Rotondi – of the traffic division.

On the governmental side, 1st Ward Councilman Paul Presinzano (the primary ordinance sponsor), Councilman-at-Large Joe Quintero (who voted no on first reading), Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour, and 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos (another ordinance sponsor) were invited to join.

Transportation and Parking Director Ryan Sharp would round out the committee proposed by the mayor.

“Each of these individuals brings a unique perspective and expertise to the table, and I am confident that their collective insights will be invaluable in our efforts to address this issue effectively,” Bhalla wrote.

He reiterated that his concerns are a lack of accountability for delivery services, an impact to immigrant communities, and enforceability, as well as asking the group to consider Transportation Alternatives recommendations.

“As I have stated previously, I now believe that the City made a mistake several years ago during the Washington Street redesign in not taking the opportunity to install protected bike lanes along our main commercial corridor. It is my hope that we will learn from this going forward and consider protected bike lanes whenever possible in Hoboken, such as in our upcoming Sinatra Drive project (which includes an extended protected bike lane),” Bhalla added.

“Expanding protected bike lane infrastructure is another conclusion in the report issued by Transportation Alternatives, and should go hand-in-hand with any proposed legislation designed to reduce sidewalk riding. I am respectfully asking for the working group to also provide recommendations on how this important infrastructure can be considered in the short and long term.”

Presinzano, who has taken up food deliveries to try and better understand drivers’ challenges, said that while he appreciates the thought, he does not see the working group as the most effective option available.

“I appreciate the Mayor’s thoughtful response for a working group; however, he has not addressed this significant quality of life concern. Why has he all of a sudden realized sidewalk safety is an issue? What he is proposing kicks the can down the road and effectively is inaction. It’s delaying safety measures for our residents,” he said.

“His proposed committee includes most of his team and lacks representation of the residents who want to see action and enforcement happen today. The city should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. The residents want action, which is why the Complete Sidewalks Ordinance was introduced by myself, Councilman Ramos, and Councilman Russo.”

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  1. Exactly what role does Ron serve here? His claim to fame is losing a recent primary, and yet he is now ordained by Bhalla to represent the city’s residents on an issue he is clearly not in tune with residents but instead chooses to support big business and unlicensed delivery workers?

  2. Ravi trying to hijack an idea that he can’t take credit for and attempting to bludgeon it with Regressive virtue-signaling while inserting his favorite communist to cover his rear.

    None of the proposed Ravi Committee to Cover His Rear were elected to anything. This is a sabotage operation to stop the City Council from acting. An 11 person cluster committee to protect us from food deliveries. 🤣

    When Ravi was eliminating parking spaces all over Hoboken with his bollards, does anyone recall him setting up any 11-member study group?

    Bollards? Bhalla? Bueller?

  3. It’s unfortunate that our Mayor will now turn this ordinance into a forum for protected bike lanes on Washington Street, an idea that was voted down years ago. Also disappointing that there is no public representation on this task force – only people with ties to government or pro-bike organizations.
    Time to move forward and come up with creative solutions for the current problem. Thank you, Councilman Presinzano, for bringing this issue to the fore. Something needs to be done soon.