With years of advocacy and widespread support behind the initiative, Protected Bike Lanes (PBL) may finally be coming to Hoboken.
In 2016, following vigorous public debate in a packed City Hall, the Hoboken City Council decided to scrap plans for Protected Bike Lanes on Washington Street, the city’s main commercial thoroughfare. While bicycling advocates and other points of view spoke out in favor of the bold move, local business owners and a large number of residents were wary of the impact on Hoboken’s chief commercial artery, and the Council voted 8-1 in favor of the current Class II bike lane.
When asked about the possibility of PBLs on any street but Washington, Peter Cunningham, Councilman for Hoboken’s 5th Ward told hMAG that he was on board with that concept, stating, “I think we are moving in a more collaborative fashion.”
That was three and a half years ago, and since then Hoboken Protected Bike Lanes issue have been little more than a political football.
At the time, then-Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla noted that, “although bike lanes consumed all the oxygen in the air during the debate of this issue, the project passed last night also includes upgrading our water system for the full length of Washington Street and installing modern traffic signals that can be synchronized to improve traffic flow.”
Today, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced that the city will be planning over two miles of protected bike lanes on Clinton, Grand, Jefferson, and 11th Streets. Installation will reportedly occur over the next year, with more information to be revealed at a community meeting on October 3rd.
As a part of @VZHoboken we’re planning 2+ miles of protected bike lanes on Clinton, Grand, Jefferson & 11th over the next year to provide safer streets for all users. Join us Oct 3rd, 7pm at Wallace (1100 Willow Ave) for a community mtg to learn about our plans & provide input 🚲 pic.twitter.com/lBQjLRsrTe
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) September 24, 2019
Hoboken will add to its PBL on Observer Highway, as part of the City’s Vision Zero initiative announced last month. “Eliminating traffic-related injuries and deaths will involve a collaborative approach with all of our residents and stakeholders,” said Bhalla, “and I look forward to working with our community as we create a stronger and safer Hoboken for everyone.”
With Municipal Elections looming in November, 5th Ward Council Candidate Phil Cohen—running on the Team Bhalla Slate—is among those pushing for Washington Street PBLs.
Some on #Hoboken Council say fixing their error in 2016 on Washington St. design & adding protected bike lanes is too hard. A solution like this wouldn’t require “ripping up” anything. Bump outs remain and bikes and scooters are protected. #NewIdeas #Phil4TheFifth #Cohen4Council pic.twitter.com/9t3udXaxFw
— Phil Cohen (@PhilipHCohen) August 6, 2019
The PBL Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on October 3rd, 7pm at Wallace School (1100 Willow Ave). The public is invited to add their input.