In 2nd State of the City Address, Hoboken Mayor Bhalla talks infrastructure, climate change

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During his second annual State of the City Address, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla emphasized several accomplishments including new parks, infrastructure upgrades, a climate action plan and Vision Zero implementation, among other initiatives.

First, he highlighted one of the city’s largest quality of life projects: the ongoing construction of the Northwest Resiliency Park that’ll include an ice skating rink, playground equipment for children, a large athletic field for soccer, baseball and lacrosse, as well as a great lawn and amphitheater.

He then noted that the city council will be finalizing the North End Redevelopment Plan, which calls for redeveloping 30 blighted areas in the area. He hailed smart development over projects that prioritizes easy bucks for developers.

“I thank the Council and Director Chris Brown for prioritizing smart development — with responsible residential growth, and an emphasis on commercial development,” Bhalla said at the Mile Square Theatre this evening.

“Hoboken, it’s important you know that the days of prioritizing a developer’s bottom line over the interests of our residents are long gone.”

At a press conference in April, he introduced the city’s first Climate Action Plan, saying that action on the local level was urgent because President Donald Trump (R) and his administration have been rolling back one environmental regulation after another.

With the plan, the city is seeking to become the first municipality in New Jersey to purchase 100 percent renewable electricity for all city-owned buildings.

On an another environmental front, the city last year initiated a single-use plastic bag ban. Now, it wants to institute a full ban on all carry-out plastic bags.

“So, starting on March 8th, when the law is updated, Hoboken will have one of the strongest plastic bag bans in the entire state, in addition to a ban on all carry-out styrofoam,” Bhalla said.

The city last year endured a series of water main breaks that finally compelled the city to file a lawsuit against the water utility Suez.

Then also in April, the city and the utility reached an agreement where the city would be investing up to $33 million to upgrade the Mile Square City’s aging water mains.

The most significant aspect of that agreement is the establishment of a new water utility, where the revenue from the bulk water consumption would be managed by the city, which would then allocate funds towards yearly infrastructure upgrades.

“We are finally implementing plans not just to put band aids on our infrastructure problems, but instead providing lasting solutions for Hoboken’s future,” noted Bhalla.

In another first for the city, the mayor signed an executive order in August to establish a Vision Zero pedestrian safety campaign with the goal of reducing pedestrian injuries and automobile-related fatalities to zero by 2030.

During the press conference for the signing, Bhalla noted that over the past five years there had been 376 people injured, with three people killed due to crashes.

That’s why he wants to reduce the city’s speed limit to only 20 miles per hour, after asking his transportation staff to review the feasibility of a citywide reduction.

“The unfortunate reality is, if a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle traveling 30 miles per hour, they are four times more likely to die from an injury than if struck by a vehicle traveling 20 miles per hour,” exclaimed Bhalla.

Furthermore, the mayor noted that after a years-long struggle, he believes the city’s feud with New York Waterway over Union Dry Dock will be over in the foreseeable future.

” … I would be remiss if I didn’t reiterate my administration’s unwavering commitment to securing Union Dry Dock to create a waterfront park. While you may not have heard many updates recently, rest assured that we are making real progress behind the scenes with both New York Waterway and the governor’s office. I’m optimistic that we will finally see a positive ending this year that preserves Union Dry Dock for public, open space.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Hoboken is facing a massive tax increase and layoffs and Bhalla is talking about anything but. Councilwoman Fisher is a true finance expert but I doubt even she can dig us out if this hole.

  2. Pay no attention to the 7 million dollar budget gap!
    Look over here at the composting initiative and redoing Washington Street to appease the 10 protected bike lane radicals.
    Will a former Mayor’s job an energy company be receiving a fat contract? ( Can you say Hunter Biden?)
    Screw the taxpayer, grab statewide headlines for the next job. That’s the Ravi plan! Power over people!

  3. This is why I voted for this guy, and will continue to support him. He just works. Behind the scenes, he and his administration are clearly working at a break-neck speed, and he gives the credit to anyone but himself. Amazing work by the Hoboken mayor.

      • Specifically, in what ways? Genuinely curious bc i dont see it at all. I see less transparency. more in-fighting, more developer deals, and much more taxes coming our way.

    • Yes, Ravi Bhalla is working at break-neck speed at his second job with that Republican law firm he gets Hudson County legal contracts. In Hoboken, he wasn’t working at all and he’s saddled us with a $7 million budget deficit. The pricetag for Ravi Bhalla is not paid. It will be, by us.

  4. The budget problem is disappointing obviously but I’ve been impressed with how responsible the rhetoric from the various usually warring politicos has been (at least so far).

    Hopefully the comity will continue. The City needs the Mayor and Council working together to solve the problem as painlessly as possible without the overwrought rhetoric and finger pointing that we have so often seen.

    So far so good. Let’s hope it lasts and when the budget is passed everybody can take pride in tackling a difficult problem together.

  5. How convenient that he did not mention the 79 city workers (NONE of his staff) he plans on laying off; papers filed with the state mid January, and is trying to blame as the reason for the deficit but let’s just overlook his reckless over spending i.e. back door contract deals with his political buddies, the most over inflated and over paid administration in the history of Hoboken and his spending upwards of 200k on personal security at the behest of the tax payer; city hall has turned into a prison as he drives around in his bulletproof proof car.

    The true budget deficit is more like 14 million and not 7.5! Seems like the poop is starting to roll down hill with the resignation/jumping ship of the BA Steven Marks (more to come)

    Him jokingly using the phrase “partner in crime” was actually a Freudian slip except his “partner in crime” are “PARTNERS” ….Where are the FBI when you need them; can someone say “investigation

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