Thursday, February 18, 2016

What's the big deal?

Existing Washington street superimposed with proposed (painted) bike lines. What's the big deal? 


"To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making. The making of laws like the making of sausages, is not a pretty sight."
-Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898)

We can all agree that Mayor Zimmer and our City Council are going to deliver a vastly improved, safer Washington Street with infrastructure repaired..

We can all agree the voice of the people has been heard, and our governing body is respecting it.

We can all agree that the process has not been a pretty sight.

So what? 

This is how government works. 

As of last night, GA thinks the Mayor's Washington Street project is headed in the right direction. The "protected" bike lanes and constricted road are gone, but (as I understand it), the proposal includes a dedicated lane (painted  "sharrows") for those who bike, with no fundamental changes to the street scape- except some additional parking.

Look, we will never ALL agree on what is "best" for Hoboken, but the amended resolution, with sharrows, takes the Mayor's initiative to the next level.  That's my opinion.

Of course, 2017 politicking made an appearance.

Ruben Ramos, (whose political skills GA underestimated)  chastised the mayor and wants the council to claim ownership of the proposal, but remember who initiated the project to improve and repair Washington Street, to fix our infrastructure: Mayor Zimmer.

Anyone who wants to reduce her Washington Street initiative down to "bike lanes" is, IMO, an idiot.

Let's be clear: "bike lanes" have been part of the plan since 2013 with  no public push-back. Until now.

Because now the sausage is being made.

So, GA thanks both the Mayor and the Council for their hard work, still in progress, to bring  Hoboken a much better, safer Washington Street.

Next topic...

GA is immensely thankful for our superb Hoboken Fire Department who fought hard under punishing cold, to battle the fire at 505/507 Washington Street.  According to the mayor's office, fourteen firefighters suffered minor injuries, including frostbite, slips and falls and smoke inhalation,  GA wishes them a swift recovery, and...

Bless them for saving Frankie the cat!


An online fundraiser has been set up for victims who lost everything in the blaze:  The Hoboken Fire Fundraiser.    You can donate by Paypal or credit card, please click HERE  

HPD Chief Ferrante was on the scene, on top of it as always, and GA thanks him for continuing to do a fantastic job for our community.


36 comments:

  1. Totally agree. I was against the bike lanes on Washington but all the surrounding drama is ridiculous. It's the way democracy works.

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    1. Some people live for constantly creating the drama at the City Council meetings as it fills their otherwise empty lives.

      Some people use the drama to jockey for position.

      Some people are just plain nuts.

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    2. Some people also felt the bike lanes as originally presented were a terrible idea. For you to blanket criticize those people as having empty lives is pretty ridiculous given that you are posting on a Hoboken political blog. People who live in glass houses.....

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    3. Anon@12:44, I think the point you miss is there's debate and then there's over-the-top drama. People on each side of the bike lane issue have every right to express their views, and I look at a guy like Eugene Flinn as someone who passionately stated his case in a sensible, non-political way...whereas others were hysterical clearly for the political theater of it. I think bike lanes on Washington were a lousy idea, but I left the tinfoil hat at home.

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    4. Anon@24 Anyone who watches CH78 knows who the crazies are who go bat shit crazy on a regular basis.

      The downside of the drama is people turn off to important issues.

      The remainder of people who even still care have accepted that behavior and discounts their ranting and raving as the price people have to pay for being part of the democratic process.

      Kudos as well to Eugene Flinn and those like him for presenting their point of view in a a civil rational way.

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    5. 12:53

      If you are referring to Assilem, Mel B then I concur

      I saw far more rational people commenting and opposed to the original plan than I did see the crazies.

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    6. The list of crazies is much longer.

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  2. People seem to forget the ugly battles over the waterfront re-development going back to 1989 when the public voted down putting a development on Pier A and then fought tooth and nail to get the park we love today.

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    1. Great point! Recall the battle to the death of the Hoboken public not to surrender what is now Pier A to big development. Terry Castellano was actively fighting to undermine the public against a park at Pier A.

      Funny when she ran for re-election, she published photos of herself with the Waterfront, re: the Vance and Hine crew. The public in this case was heard and the solution is one that is a compromise leaning very much in favor of the businesses on Washington Street.

      A win for all of Hoboken is a win. I'll take it.

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    2. That is true.... many of us (including myself) didn't live here then.

      Yep, public opinion is an essential ingredient in sausage making, hopefully the common good prevails.

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    3. Some of the people that are probably the ones that earlier Anons are calling "crazies" were some of the residents that were most instrumental in stopping the massive development on the piers.

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  3. Hand-wringing is supposed to have good cardio benefits if you do enough.

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  4. When everyone agrees on 90% of the plan but there is complete disagreement over the last 10%, the entire debate on the 100% of the plan boils down to that last 10%. That is just what happens in politics. It may not be fair but if you don't want that to happen then just propose the 90% everyone agrees about and leave the last 10% to be dealt with separately.

    Zimmer easily could have done that but she didn't so now her plan, like it or not, is defined by the 10% of the plan people did not like and she will be judged accordingly. I see a similar thing happening w/ the waterfront wall. I guarantee you, someone will object to some part of that wall wherever it is built. While most of the town will agree with the idea of the wall and even where 90% of it is built, it will be the fight over that last 10% that frames the entire debate.

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    1. Forgot to mention, that unlike the bike lanes which are not necessary for the rest of the road improvements to work, you can't not build that last 10% of the wall and expect the wall to work. Unlike the Washington Street project, we have to build the whole wall for it to work no matter where we decide to build that.

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    2. Sounds like you're saying a person shouldn't fight for something they believe in if there is opposition to it. Or don't propose something that's not 100% agreed upon. That's weird. How about if people fight for what they believe in and let the democratic system sort things out. You know, like happened here.

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    3. In fairness, the last 10% kinda woke up late, and she spoke to the "will of the people" before last nights meeting. That will never be enough for some, so let them vote for crooks. Buh-bye 10%!

      What is admirable about a leader when the public largely agrees with her becomes a fatal flaw when the public doesn't? She is the same person. Zimmer has balls- why she has the respect of her peers outside of Hoboken. Lest we forget she has done admirable clean-up at City Hall- who called in the FBI?

      IMO, anyone who wants to spin the success of a new, improved Washington Street into a failure is a schmuck. Sorry if that offends any schmucks out there.

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    4. It isn't the 10% who woke up late. It is the 90% who object to this.

      And no, I never said don't do the project. But you certainly don't vote on bike lanes without putting it out there what the hell you are voting on. Show me one place where the new bike lane idea was noticed, people saw the plans, discussed the plans and it was mentioned this would be voted upon. They agreed to this behind closed doors. They deliberately did this on the down low because they knew what the reaction would be.

      They could have waited on that part of the plan. No, not they could have waited, they should have waited. But they didn't because all the mayor cares about is bike lanes.

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    5. Happy it is a done deal. Get it done. It is good for Hoboken.
      Some people's egos precludes any compromise.
      They deserve to be labeled schmucks.

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    6. Anon 4:47: The Complete Streets design development has occurred with community input at advertised public meetings since 2013- see Mayor Roberts v The Girl Scouts.

      All meetings are noticed and agendas/resolution go online the Friday before the meeting.

      The plans have been online, on the City website for weeks.

      So, your arguments make no sense, and the statement about the what the mayor is thinking ("all she cares about...") is bizarre and contradicts the known history of this project.

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    7. Show me the schematic of what they voted on last night. It was not at all like what was discussed last week. Sorry, but they drew up what they voted on 2 days ago. Having "a plan" out there for discussion purposes is not at all the same as having "the plan that was voted on" out there. If this were some developer pulling this stunt, you would completely agree with me on this. She pulled a fast one.

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    8. Okay, I see what you mean but I see it differently. The resolution was amended the night before the meeting, and further amended at the meeting so you are right, there was no schematic plan reflecting the 11th hour amended resolution, which passed at first reading. I hope there is a schematic plan for the public to see before the next meeting. I don't see this as a stunt. I see public opinion and some difference of opinion on the council driving the removal of the protected bike lanes. IMO, the changes most disliked were gutted, and what's left should be all good-cosmetic,infrastructure, safety improvements. Yes, let's see some document showing what this all looks like asap, but T&M cannot turn that around in 24 hours. I don't think the mayor "pulled a fast one." New water mains,new power grid infrastructure, lighting, benches, etc. are a stunt? I will agree with you if the public doesn't see the revised plan prior to the final vote.

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    9. The mayor has been pulling a fast one this all along. She is the only reason bike lanes are part of this discussion. None of us disagree with any other component of this plan. We have wanted all the rest of the work done for years. She is holding us hostage because of this bike lane nonsense she keeps pushing. She needs to stop. Nobody voted for her for bike lanes.

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    10. "None of us..." who is this us? I'm sure there are people who don't support bump outs that don't like aspects of this plan. I'm sure there are people who are pro double parking that don't like this plan.

      Personally I like bike lanes and would like to see them be more prevalent. Washington street feels to dangerous to bike which diminishes access to the stores on Washington to those who travel by bike.

      I'm glad we're having this discussion, I want more discussions like this.

      Don't mistake the volume of a groups voice for the numbers who support that argument, like a former HHA director once did.

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    11. Well,Anon @ 9:01-- you've got your story and you're sticking to it. If "no one disagrees with the rest of the plan" and we ARE getting the rest of the plan- NOT the protected bike lanes, why sulk? Unless sulking is an end in itself. Is it?

      I am glad Washington Steet is getting new infrastructure and a makeover. I personally don't bike, so the lanes to ME are immaterial. I was not comfortable with constricting the road, and that appears to be OUT of the project.

      She has "stopped" and conceded on the Class 2 lanes. So why are you sulking? Unless you think she has been a crappy mayor for the last 7 years, and are looking to blow this up. Are you?

      I think some folks need to do a reality check, and see how far the city has come since 2009. I would take an honest, accomplished mayor ANY DAY over a corrupt, do-nothing grifter. I credit this mayor with pressuring the Christie admin to release MORE funding for victims of Sandy through the state's RREM program. I credit this mayor with scoring a $230M grant for rebuild By Design. I credit the mayor with keeping municipal tax rates FLAT. Go cry about your bike lanes, if you like. On the big picture, important matters this mayor has been GREAT for Hoboken.

      I can call you a WAAAAAAHmbulance if necessary. :-)

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    12. Thank you, GA@10:07, this is exactly how I feel. A few loud "anti-bike lane" commenters here and on MSV (most likely the same ones) have hijacked the efforts of more reasonable, non-political anti-bike lane residents and are rather obviously attempting to make it their own Benghazi: keep spinning it over and over and over and over.

      Reformers who opposed bike lanes on Washington (LIKE ME!) said their piece, passionately but professionally made their case, and are pleased with the results. Others are clearly trying to exploit the situation, latching on to it as their latest anti-Zimmer cause straight out of an Al Sullivan column (imagine that!) and will ride it for years to come as some sort of exaggerated political downfall that somehow outweighs everything else the administration has accomplished to date. Luckily that political ploy is clear as day.



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  5. I am a bike rider, pedestrian and automobile owner/drive.

    I ride my bike in the streets. The current bike lanes do not help me get from point A to point B most of the time. Yet I've somehow managed to ride my bike around Hoboken for years without them, without riding on the sidewalk and without breaking traffic laws. It's pretty amazing what I can do when I just hop on my bike and pay attention to what's going on around me.

    I walk in those streets. I've almost been hit by cars and bikes many times because of poor visibility, bad driving, bikes that disobey the laws and my own stupidity from time to time. I don't see how bike lanes on Washington will fix most (all) of those problems. I can see how they'd exacerbate them.

    What bothers me is that the mayor, a person who lives and works in Hoboken, can't see beyond that. She and her cronies at City Hall don't seem to understand that those of us who don't work for the city for 6 figures must leave Hoboken to earn a decent living.

    I'm sorry she's so into bike lanes. I think less of her today than I did 3 weeks ago.

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    1. I'm with you until the last sentence, snoop. Isn't that going a little overboard, considering all the good the mayor has done for this city? It's one issue, and the will of the people was heard. I don't get the degree of negative impact.

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    2. Anon 1:01 - How funny that I happened to log back in just now and you posted.

      Anyway, I knew someone would bring that up. All I can say is this: There have been several issues that have all been minor that on their own wouldn't color my opinion one way or the other. They're so minor in fact, I cannot recall them off of the top of my head. But I remember being annoyed/disappointed with the mayor and saying to myself, "it's just this one thing, let it go." I've done that at least 3-4 times in recent enough memory that I remember doing it. So for me, this last issue is just the straw that broke the camel's back on my opinion of her.

      Do I support her over a corruptacrat? Sure. Do I support her over whichever reformer Mike Lenz cons into believing that they're bigger/better than her and then gets them to run against her? Absolutely. But if it's between her and someone I don't think Lenz can sink his hooks into, I will at least give a thought to that candidate.

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    3. And that's absolutely fair, Snoopy. Where we differ is on order of magnitude: the many good things the mayor has done on hugly important matters so far outweigh the minor disagreements I have with her that it doesn't change my support of her. Always good to keep an open mind to new leadership, no argument there. But keep things in perspective.

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    4. Unless I misunderstood something the Mayor listened to the complaints and ultimately put forward a plan with no bike lanes at all, using the space for turning lanes instead because she was not satisfied that unprotected bike lanes were safe. That doesn't sound like a bike lane fanatic to me.

      The City Council, not the Mayor, decided to put in unprotected bike lanes instead of turning lanes. I can't get too excited about this either way but personally I'd rather have turning lanes.

      I don't think a little paint will make me or anyone else any more comfortable biking on Washington street but turning lanes will certainly help move cars along when there's traffic.

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    5. What does Mike Lenz have to do with anything Snoopy? I haven't even heard his name mentioned in years and I thought he was a pretty good councilman.

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    6. I don't think snoopy's off at all. She has been all about bike lanes for quite some time. Even that idiot cartoonist has been pointing it out for at least 2 years.

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    7. Snoopy,

      I'm not sure who should be more offended, the mayor, who you imply is so feebleminded that someone can "sink his hooks' into her, or Mike Lenz, who has been reviled for years for reasons that are never explained without sinking to Red Haven-esque rhetoric.

      Here's what I think. 1) It's both absurd and sexist to claim that there's a man using Mayor Zimmer as a puppet. I don't always agree with her, but she knows her own mind and goes her own way. She may be politically tone deaf, but she's also honest. She's her own woman and no one's puppet.

      2) You have some skin in this game. At the very least, a grudge big enough to throw Lenz's name and some dire-sounding warnings into a discussion on an unrelated topic.

      I get that you don't want to talk about this, but I wonder why you brought the issue up if you were unwilling to engage in a conversation about it.

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  6. Sad, sick and wrong for Russo to play urban planner. Kudos to Giattino for standing her ground.

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  7. Kudos to HFD for finding Frankie the cat by the way. That is a feel good moment for sure.

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    1. On that we agree, Snoop. :)

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