In a letter to the editor, Fund for a Better Waterfront board member Nicholas Borg says that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and NJ Transit shouldn’t interfere with Hoboken’s process to acquire Union Dry Dock.
I am writing to publicly appeal to Governor Murphy and the Board of New Jersey Transit (NJT) not to interfere with the City of Hoboken’s (City) acquisition of Union Dry Dock (UDD) for a public park.
I urge them to objectively consider the facts of the matter and then make the right public policy decision: locate this facility to a site that has been vetted and clearly shown to be the most cost-effective option by far.
In doing so, they will be acting in harmony with over-whelming public sentiment, and preserving, as public open space, a very special place on Hoboken’s magnificent shoreline.
As a professional policy analyst, I have spent a good part of my career in the public service analyzing policy issues that have had significant impact on local communities.
When creating good public policy, the political aspect of a decision (which typically benefits an entitled few) is only one measure among many that helps the policy maker decide the best choice among competing alternatives.
In making the UDD decision, cost to the public (our tax dollars), overall feasibility, environmental impact and community sentiment are significantly more important than political considerations.
NJT and the City both funded independent site analyses to identify the most appropriate location for the NY Waterway (NYWW) refueling and repair facility.
After identifying a number of potentially viable sites and weighing each against similar sets of objective criteria, UDD ranked lower than six other sites; in other words, two independent site analyses identified six other locations more suitable than the UDD site.
Both studies showed that the most cost-effective choice, hands down, is located adjacent to the Erie-Lackawanna terminal at the south end of Hoboken.
That site is already owned by NJT, thus: no acquisition costs; it will require little work or money to adapt it to NYWW’s needs (it’s already set up for ferries); it is environmentally friendly (little or no addition damage to Hoboken’s delicate and vulnerable marine eco-system, especially the eco-rich Hoboken Cove, which includes the UDD site); it will allow public access to this important segment of the waterfront; and, perhaps most important, the city’s elected officials and public sentiment are overwhelmingly in favor of relocating the repair and re-fueling facility to the Erie Lackawanna site.
As a lifelong resident, the waterfront has always been a special part of my Hoboken experience.
As a child, I remember “the Hoboken docks” being alive with a bustling commerce all along River Road (now called Sinatra Drive).
The memory of its cobblestoned, pot-hole rutted surface with train tracks in the middle, often crowded with lengths of box cars, has been indelibly imprinted onto my memory.
The amazing transformation from this uninviting gritty maritime corridor along the eastern edge to its current splendid state of publicly accessible parks and walkways is a true demonstration of rational public policy making in action.