The battle over NY Waterway‘s purchase of the Union Dry Dock property rages on, as the City of Hoboken held a press conference to release the results of a study conducted by Boswell Engineering that examined the viability of the all potential sites for the ferry company’s repair and refueling station.
The study concluded that the “Hoboken South” location, located at the Lackawanna Terminal, was the “preferred alternative,” ranking higher than Bayonne Peninsula, Binghamton Ferry Site (Edgewater), Union Dry Dock and the existing location at Port Imperial—in that order. Criteria for these conclusions were Capacity, Zoning/Use Compatibility, Development Timing, Environmental Constraints, Future Expansion and Cost.
“New York Waterway provides a valuable service to thousands of daily commuters and is an integral part of the regional transit system,” said Boswell’s Vice President/COO Joseph A. Pomante. “The continued operation of their ferry refueling/maintenance facility is critical to ensure safe and uninterrupted service. However, it is essential that the siting of this facility is the result of a properly vetted and widely accepted solution that minimizes adverse impacts and promotes smart growth principles.”
The results are similar to a study conducted by NJ Transit in 2009, which also concluded that the best option is Lackawanna Terminal. The City of Hoboken wants Union Dry Dock for the purpose of completing the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway and for public open space and recreation.
Thank you to the hundreds of residents that came out tonight to rally for our waterfront. We showed that when we work together we can make a real impact. We must continue to fight for our environment, to fight for a transportation solution, and fight for our #Hoboken. pic.twitter.com/1M8XCuMjNl
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) April 20, 2018
Union Dry Dock bought the Hoboken property in 1976, and have been running their operations there since the 1980s. Previous efforts to sell the land have fallen through. In 2001, Stevens Institute of Technology planned to construct a soccer field on the site. In 2005, there was a $15 million contract for the property, but the buyer backed out. In 2009, a developer hoped to build residential towers on the land, but local zoning didn’t permit it. And in 2012, New Jersey Transit considered obtaining the land for NY Waterway’s ferry maintenance and refueling.
In June of 2017, Fund for a Better Waterfront began an initiative to purchase the property, sensing the urgency of securing the land for public use.
“Hoboken’s waterfront has been transformed over the past several decades. It is no longer an industrial waterfront,” says Fund for a Better Waterfront’s Ron Hine. “Nearly all of the waterfront in Hoboken is now a recreational resource enjoyed by joggers, strollers, cyclers, toddlers and kayakers. Thousands of residential units are within several blocks of [Union Dry Dock]. It is absolutely the wrong spot to concentrate scores of diesel operated ferries for maintenance and refueling.”
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla is calling on New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to urge New York Waterway to choose an alternate location, namely Lackawanna Terminal, and allow the City of Hoboken to purchase the Union Dry Dock property at a fair market value.
“I’m sure there are people saying this is a NIMBY issue, that we don’t want this in our backyard. We’re saying the exact opposite. We’re saying yes, we do want this in our backyard. We just don’t want it in a residential area of Hoboken. We want it in an area of Hoboken that’s appropriate, and that appropriate location is our transit hub at Lackawanna Terminal,” said Mayor Bhalla.
New York Waterway faces a self-inflicted need to vacate its current 25-acre ferry maintenance property in Weehawken, which is being repurposed for residential properties. That land is owned by Arthur Imperatore, Sr. —owner of New York Waterway.
The ferry company bought the 3.15-acre strip of Hoboken Waterfront known as Union Dry Dock for $11.5 million last November, and have since maintained that it is the only place for them to relocate.