The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) has awarded a $1.39 million grant for Vision Zero upgrades on Willow Avenue in Hoboken, officials said.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The funding, awarded to both the city and Hudson County, will be used to upgrade Willow Avenue from 11th Street to 16th Street, which is a key action item of the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan as the corridor is part of the High Crash network.
Specifically, the grant dollars were allocated for Hoboken and Hudson County by the NJ DOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program (TAP).
“Constructing improvements to the city’s Willow Avenue gateway is critical to protecting vulnerable pedestrians, including our senior citizens at Fox Hill, children and families enjoying recreation at 1600 Park, and young students at Wallace Elementary School,” Mayor Ravi Bhalla said in a statement.
He also thanked state and county partners for making the Vision Zero funding possible.
According to the crash analysis in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan, 10 street segments, including Willow Avenue from 14th Street to the Hoboken/Weehawken border, accounted for 40 percent of all injuries and deaths during 2014 through 2018.
Furthermore, between 2019 and 2021, 31-injury causing crashes occurred on the corridor, resulting in seven pedestrian and four bicyclist injuries.
The city and county will launch a public planning process to solicit community feedback on proposed improvements to the corridor, which will focus on making the area safer for all modes of transportation.
“The TAP funding awarded for this project will help us further the partnership between the City and County to create a safer Hoboken,” noted Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.
“With the remarkable growth of uptown Hoboken, the need to do so has never been more pressing.”
Potential improvements include the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proven safety countermeasures such as crosswalk visibility enhancements, pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, bicycle lanes, leading pedestrian intervals, and other traffic calming improvements.
“I look forward to working with Hoboken in the implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program funding for Willow Avenue Vision Zero improvements,” added Hudson County Commissioner Chair Anthony Romano (D-5).
“This collaboration reaffirms the NJDOT’s commitment to communities and to the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.”
The Vision Zero improvements also aim to make it easier for residents to access mass transit options, as one in three Hoboken households do not own a car and more than 75 percent of residents access work without a vehicle.
The upgrades will help the City achieve its Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 as well as the City’s Climate Action Plan to be carbon neutral by 2050, as the proposed upgrades aim to incentivize walking, bicycling, mass transit, and reduce automobile dependency.
5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen expressed satisfaction with this area of the 5th Ward, particularly near Trader Joe’s and Walgreens, safer, as did 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos, the chair of the council’s Transportation and Parking Subcommittee.
The $1.39 million award marks the fourth grant the City has received through the last six highly competitive TAP funding cycles.