The Hoboken City Council tabled a measure seeking to spend $1.2 million to install bike lanes on Washington Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, at last night’s meeting.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Councilman DeFusco and Councilman Cohen approached the administration about including work to develop a plan and execute on protected bike lanes on Washington Street,” Business Administrator Jason Freeman explained as last night’s meeting approached 10:30 p.m.
“That was $1.2 million which was estimated by our transportation department. So the $3.5 million plus the $1.2 million is how we arrived at the $4.7 million.”
Freeman was describing the second reading of a bond ordinance that called for authorizing additional funding to complete “various infrastructure projects” such as repaving and resurfacing, which includes a small allocation ($47,000) for public art installations.
Resident Paul Presinzano, who questioned the specifics of the local legislation, was incensed at the fact that this would even be considered during the last meeting of the year without any notice to the public.
“Let’s wake up and do something here: angry Paul is out. You guys just redeveloped Washington Street … you just put bump outs there. If you move the cars out, they are now in the street and those bump outs mean nothing,” he stated.
“If you just watch the fire that happened on 4th and Washington, Chief Peskins can say this, I believe what the fire trucks do is they pull up onto the yellow lines, and that’s what they’re told to do. And if you come from two different points in the city, there’s a whole ‘nother problem.”
Presinzano added that while he supports protected bike lanes, he questioned if any business owners had been appraised of this plan: “guys, your process up here is horrible.”
Hany Ahmed, the managing partner of Pegasus Partners, was one of a handful of other residents who also said they read the agenda and had no idea this ordinance was seeking to add bike lanes to Washington Street.
“It’s concerning: I was in this debate five, no even longer, I’m sorry, seven years ago, eight years ago before you did Washington Street. People were really upset with this,” he recalled.
“Councilwoman Fisher specifically brought up, about the bike lanes, and made it clear that you didn’t have enough [room] for a door opening or something else that would happen in a crash impact – they weren’t even legal lanes that you guys originally drew. So that was withdrawn, luckily so: we don’t want to be sued from every biker who gets hit by a door.”
Next, Cheryl Fallick asserted that Hoboken bicyclists often do not follow the rules of the road, stating that she had been hit by one on nine separate occasions.
” … If there’s a protected bike lane, they’re gonna whiz through every red light and I have been hit crossing Washington Street. I have … Sometimes you have to give some credibility to the people in the room,” she said.
“If you have to pull it, fine, but don’t pass it. Don’t put protected bike lanes behind the backs of all the citizens. Let Hudson County View do a story and let everybody know.”
6th Ward Councilwoman Jen Giattino asked Corporation Counsel Brian Aloia how this ordinance could possibly impact bike lanes on Washington Street when neither term is written in the measure.
He responded that bond counsel was asked that question and the agenda item included their recommended language, which he referred to as “form language.”
Upon further questioning from Giattino, Freeman reiterated that the bond was initially written for $3.5 million, and while it was being finalized 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco and 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen asked what it would take to include the bike lanes.
Giattino called the tactic a “go around,” to which Freeman disagreed, but the councilwoman’s opinion was unwavering: “you’re trying to trick the public.”
“I just want to be very clear: this is not tomorrow there’s going to be construction on bike lanes, this is the bond to do them, so there will be design, there will be conversation. The bond is required per our Department of Transportation,” Freeman added.
4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos said that while he’d like to see the repaving of Sinatra Drive, Court Street, and Castle Point Terrace move forward, he wouldn’t approve bonding for bike lanes on Washington Street on a moment’s notice.
“There hasn’t been one meeting that has been held. Every two weeks, we’ve been pretty consistent, for every council meeting, the transportation committee has met every two weeks twice a month, all year. July and August included, maybe more in some months,” he began.
“Never was this discussed. Not once … We’ve discussed Castle Point a bunch of times, Court Street a bunch of times, never once did this come up. So I would like to pull the Washington Street portion of is, just for discussion.”
Council President Mike Russo noted that if they separated the items out, they’d have to revert back to first reading. Councilman-at-Large Jim Doyle said that there would be no harm in pulling the item since there will be no changes on the council in 2023.
Freeman then noted that there could not be a vote on first reading until it is advertised, therefore a vote could not be had tonight in that scenario.
With that said, Russo believed that it was in their best interest to either vote on the measure tonight or table it, indicating he didn’t have a preference to either.
Cohen, who called into the meeting, pointed out that DeFusco brought this topic up during new business at their previous meeting. Despite that fact, the majority of his colleagues were not persuaded to vote on it immediately.
Doyle made a motion to table, which was seconded by Ramos, and it passed 7-2, with DeFusco and Cohen voting no.
Any sort of idiot that refers to himself in the third person who also happens to have no clue how to do anything should be angry, his parents failed him.
Paul needs to go away. Defusco ‘23!!
Angry Paul move away!!!
Looks like DeFusco has turned on his friends again
He turned on his first supporter Vanessa, he dissed Andrew, he’s backstabbing Ramos, he now is going after Paul…
Oh and he turned on zimmer weeks after running on her slate…
This guy should begging forgiveness from the supporters he screwed over as he was globetrotting in Croatia and renting out his condo on Air B N B
He may have a great Air B and B host rating but his colleagues give him ZERO stars
Paul is one of the biggest horses a$$ Hoboken has seen. Please Paul we are begging for you to spend more time with Joe Branco!! And when you’re done with that, please enjoy comrade Pavel and clown boy Kevin. And after that, I’m sure tiffy will bring a lot to the table.
Paul is a wanna be who pays people with this civic association! Defusco at least isn’t an idiot. Paul is dumber than rocks
Oh now the claws come out … attacking Paul. Mike we know it’s you.
You’re very transparent – as Hobokens part time councilman and council’s only part time resident perhaps it’s time to give back part of your salary
Everyone’s excited for upcoming elections now that it’s evident all team bhalla can muster is Karens and Internet trolls, plus that guy who lost to AoC and the lady whose husband fled across the world because of her antics.
Will Bhalla find a candidate to run against Russo or is Russo again the undisclosed Bhalla candidate?
Mr Presenzano has better attendance than the First Ward Councilman.
City Hall just updated the councilman’s official portraits https://www.pcliquidations.com/p4582-polycom-soundstation-2-ex?gclid=Cj0KCQiAwJWdBhCYARIsAJc4idB9_rbOAtI1-OPPnLmp32fnCV-Rs1rDfd79U7MC35mHjeGz1ejd_ZIaAj51EALw_wcB
How come Mike is missing all of these meetings? Why is he spending more time out of the country than in the 1st ward? Maybe he is renting out his condo on AirBNB again like he did during the pandemic.
Who says the 1st Ward only has ONE Hotel?
There’s the “W”, the new “Hilton” in planning and “The DeFusco Grande Park Avenue”
There is absolutely no way in hell that Cheryl Fallick is telling the truth about getting hit by a bicycle NINE times. I’ve been riding my bike around Hoboken for over 20 years and never hit anyone. However, I’ve had many hairy encounters with cars.
Hoboken is the worst. Why all the hate for bike riders? And who cares what the merchants say? People over profits.
Are merchants not people?
Without stores, we need CARS to shop!
You know it’s bad when Emily Jabbour is voting for a longer runway on bike lanes and Mike DeFusco is selling out his constituents for the Bhalla agenda.
A smart wealthy guy like Paul who actually does community volunteering before ever running for office and is likeable has Mike all a flutter- he doesnt know which side of the fence to be on each day.
Truth is Bhalla doesn’t need Mike in the mid terms, doesn’t need his vote now either.
The only people benefitting from Defusco are Zoom video conference provider shareholders
TICKET BIKE RIDERS BREAKING THE LAW.
Another example of that Team Bhalla has given up on any pretense of public transparency.
Bhalla’s online cyber attack crew here on HCV is truly disgusting.