Can't we all just get along on the proposed new-and-improved Washington Street?
Apparently NOT (yet!)
GA watched last night's City Council Special meeting; specifically the T&M presentation, complete public portion and the DeFusco, Fisher and Russo comments.
In summary, the vast majority of speakers: business owners, residents, local activists, and politicos opposed the "Complete Street " bike lanes, while supporting its proposed infrastructure improvements. Mayor Dave Roberts and Freeholder Anthony "Stick" Romano, were among them.
Fewer resident-speakers supported the bike lanes, including 4 adorable, smart Girl Scouts- who spoke directly after Mayor Roberts.
The evening's most emphatic speaker was Melissa Blanco, who called the proposal "asinine" and waved a bandaged wrist, inferring that she had been injured due to... the City (?) and described being afraid to leave her house.
|Melissa Blanco emphatically opposed the Washington Street Plan|
In fact, there is no room for error; an open door, a car backing in could injure a Girl Scout bicyclist or an adult rider. T&M replied that 4' bike lines are allowed by code as long as there is no curb on both sides., but admitted the proposed lanes were designed to minimum allowable dimensions by code.
I am also concerned about the options for the Baptist churchgoers.
Alternatively, several speakers claimed that the bike lane concept appeared out of "out of the blue" with complaints the administration had suddenly foisted this concept upon the public, the business community.
In fact, that's false.
Whatever one's thoughts are on the bike lanes, or the redesign proposal in its entirety, the Complete Streets concept for Washington Street (with bike lanes) has been a part of public discourse for nearly 2 1/2 years. The administration has held public meetings since 2013, with an apparent Hoboken Chamber of Commerce buy-in.
The timing of a public outcry is natural, because the project approval looms and folks are starting to pay attention. Their concerns are valid and can shape the project into something better.
But to say the public was not invited nor informed of the Complete Streets plan is WRONG.
Thus, political spin that 'the administration sandbagging the business community and public with bike lanes' should be taken off the table, and the community should focus on the issues, not the politics.
GA's issues: is our 50 foot wide street main street 'over-programmed'? Is temporary double-parking 'evil' that needs elimination? Won't bike lanes improve Washington Street business?
There may never be consensus. GA believes the matter can be decided by public referendum.
In the meantime, did you know there was an App for buying Girl Scout cookies?