Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Update: Washington Street Paving Progress for Hoboken Residents and Visitors

The City of Hoboken on Monday updated the scope of Washington Street to only include from Observer Highway to 1st Street due to changes in the forecast calling for potentially cold weather later this week.

From Observer Highway to 1st Street Washington Street has been milled and is ready
for paving and striping weather permitting as of 12-5-2017.

Update From the City of Hoboken 12-4-2017: Due to the forecast for cold weather later in the week which reduces the amount of time during which paving and striping can take place, the extent of the work has been reduced from 4 blocks to 2 blocks (from Observer Highway to 1st Street).

Original Message:

Milling and paving of four blocks of Washington Street between Observer Highway and 3rd Street is scheduled to take place the week of December 4th, weather permitting. Expected hours of operation are 8:00am to 7:30pm. Efforts will be made to maintain vehicular traffic where possible, however road closures will be required at times.

During construction, NJ Transit buses will operate on a detour. Buses heading toward Hoboken Terminal will travel south along Washington Street, detour east on 5th Street, and south on Hudson Street. Buses heading towards New York will leave the bus terminal from Observer Highway, turn north on Bloomfield Street, turn east on 5th Street, and continue north on Washington Street along the regular route.

To facilitate bus detours, parking will be prohibited on both sides of 5th Street between Bloomfield Street and Hudson Street as well as on both sides of Bloomfield Street near Observer Highway and Hudson Street near 5th Street. Police will be on hand to help direct traffic.

My Update and Commentary:

The third baseline for this project (communicated at a 2016 City Council meeting) had the full completion of this project finished up to 8th and Washington Street by Election Day 2017. Needless to say this project has been severely delayed and appears to be at least 6 months behind schedule given lack of progress to date. Most portions of this project are absolutely necessary and the infrastructure improvements below ground as well as at the street level are worth the inconvenience in the long run. The only debate that I consistently hear on the street is over the bump outs from the residents I have spoken to. Most I have spoken to feel they are unnecessary even if it is shown that they improve pedestrian safety. They are concerned about effect on traffic and many feel the cross walk lights planned to be sufficient.The perception is that the bump outs are the main cause for the additional delays in project completion. Whether or not that is true or not, the perception is there.

The limitations on the window for paving asphalt are very real. The City of Hoboken is trying to take advantage of unseasonably warm weather to try and at least play a little catch up. After all, Mayor Zimmer and her Administration has been criticized and rightly so for the mismanagement of this project from controlling the vendor to proper project communication. Here is a chart from a private sector site showing the minimum temperatures for asphalt paving...

There are also temperature minimums for road striping and concrete as well that have to be taken into consideration.

Below are some photos that show uncompleted bump outs. The questions remain whether we will get 4 streets or just 2 done before the winter temperatures finally hit. The other concern is whether bump outs already in progress will be addressed before the winter shutdown.

Not everyone is a fan of the "Bhalla bumpouts" - Zimmer's big idea
(Ravi is Zimmer's anointed replacement and elected with less than a third of the popular vote)

Will this be done before winter break?
I am hopeful, for the sake of Washington Street business owners, residents and visitors that the weather cooperates and they are able to finish all four planned blocks up to 3rd Street. It would really help the downtown area.

In my opinion Mayor Elect Bhalla should fire whoever is managing this project now, establish a new realistic baseline and then hold that project manager accountable for the new deadlines. Hoboken needs this project to get back on track and managed of whole lot better than what has been so far.