October 2016 Archives

How To Fix Traffic In Hoboken

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Last May, for work, I needed to get a car because my office moved from the West Village to Orangeburg, NY. It was the first time in 22 years of living in Hoboken that I would have to commute to work via car. 

It has been...challenging.

My hours are 7am to 4pm. So, I have to leave Hoboken by 6:10am to make it to work by 6:50. My morning commute usually is pretty good, about 40-45 minutes.

Getting home its pretty easy until I get to the Hoboken exit by the Holland Tunnel.

The first problem is the exit needs to be completely redesigned. This is the current traffic flow:
currentdesign.jpgComing off the highway (marked in red), the traffic can pick Gregory Ave or Pleasant through Weehawken to avoid JFK Blvd. 

I think the easiest fix, besides a complete redesign, is to figure out a way to get to where the black arrows are located, which is Park Ave (in Weehawken) which eventually turns into Willow Ave (in Hoboken).

currentdesign2.jpgBefore everyone cries that Weehawken doesn't want this traffic - people are already cutting through Gregory and Pleasant to get to Hackensack Avenue. This would reduce traffic along all the corridors and even things out.

Also we need to fix the traffic at the Weehawken / Hoboken border. The first key issue is there are buses trying to get from Weehawken to the Holland Tunnel and it completely blocks JFK Blvd with about 20 buses lined up to get into the city.

mayhem.jpgThe easiest fix is to create more one way streets into and out of Hoboken. Fix the flow of traffic via Harbor Blvd to a right hand only turn on 16th (and get rid of the light at 16th). Willow will have 3 lanes for traffic, make Willow 2 lanes outgoing northward traffic, but add 1 express bus lane for NJ transit buses coming from the Holland Tunnel southward to Willow Ave. 

mayhem2.jpgSpecial notes:
#1 we would need to expand 19th street to add 1 more lane of traffic for buses that turn right from JFK Blvd trying to turn to the Holland Tunnel.

#2 Changes Willow and Park to one way streets. 16th street takes the traffic from Harbor Blvd. 15th street allows traffic to turn off Park - or keep going down Park to 14th. 

#3 This creates The Loop. Willow stays a 2 way street between 15th and 16th, so that car traffic from 16th can turn right or left onto Willow to get out of town. Incoming traffic can turn right or left at 15th street, or keep going straight to 14th.

Is it a perfect solution? Well, everyone will be a critic, i'm sure. But the current "Wild West" mayhem we currently have doesn't work. We need to simplify the traffic pattern for traffic that is leaving Hoboken and traffic that is coming into Hoboken, rather than the free-for-all that we have now. 

Recently, the Zimmer Administration tried to create protected bike lanes on Washington Street, only to have the idea voted down by concerned business owners who would rather see double parked cars than bicycle safety

Now, the city is trying to create new protected bike lanes on Clinton, Grand, Harrison and Newark. Bike Hoboken has also proposed protected lanes on Jefferson & Madison. A protected bike lane is designed like this:

protected bike lane.pngProtected bike lanes are a simple concept, really: they're like sidewalks for bikes. Because they use planters, curbs, parked cars or posts to separate bike and auto traffic on busy streets, protected lanes are essential to building a full network of bike-friendly routes.

Not every street in Hoboken is ideal for a protected bike lane. Clinton, for example, is very wide. Also, some are concerned with loss of street parking, but that can be addressed by making a protected bike lane like they have created in other cities which includes parking: View image.

Over the last year I have used the Hudson Bike Share, NextBike. It isn't as good as CitiBike, I think it takes too long to lock/unlock bikes, but I still use it very often, for one key reason - parking in Hoboken is terrible. Many times I need to do quick errands, like get a haircut. I go to Hoboken Man on 11th and Maxwell Lane. But, I live on Newark and Willow. What are my options? I can walk, which would take me about 15-20 minutes. I can get an Uber, which would cost about $5-7. I can take the bus, which costs only $1.60, but the frequency can be difficult, and I have to walk up to Washington Street to catch one. Or, I can use NextBike.

When I use the bike, and i'm in the middle of town, my first thought is...how do I get to 11th and Maxwell? I rode my bike along Park to 11th street, and then turned at 11th street to Maxwell Place. This, my friends, is a nightmare. I'm a pretty big guy at 6'4 and i'm used to riding bikes my whole life in the suburbs and with CitiBike in NYC. It is like the Wild West riding a bike in Hoboken - every man for himself. 

My head is on a swivel, looking at car doors to make sure they don't open up quickly, nearly getting clipped by vans on the street, keeping an eye on pedestrians on the street corners (especially baby strollers). When I got to my haircut, my heart was racing - because I was stressed out from the bike ride. 

Having protected bike lanes would solve this crisis. It would make it easier for able bodied pedestrians to get around town without having to use taxis or buses. We aren't a large town, but walking up to 14th street can be a daunting proposition. The new Trader Joe's is coming soon, and I would love to wake up on a Saturday, grab a bike, and do a quick shop there. Maybe, I want to try brunch at the new restaurant Porter Collins that is opening on 15th street by Chef Anthony and Liz Pino, owners/founders of Pino Hospitality (which own Bin 14 and Anthony David's). 

What are we going to do, jump in a car, street parking is impossible. I love Uber, but paying $7 every time I just want to go to the other side of town...plus another $7 to get home, who wants to pay that extra money? Walking just takes too long, I have done it multiple times over the years. After riding bikes for the last year with NextBike, I dread the idea of riding a bike in Hoboken because I don't feel safe. 

Here is a recent picture I took on Clinton Street, outside of Piccolo's where cars park for lunch in the bike lanes:


This happens all over town. There is lack of parking, and the mindset of these drivers is they want to eat at Piccolo's. Their solution - is to double park. If people want to drive into town, we need to make it easier for people to park on the street. I think a good solution is the Zimmer proposal to add metered parking on all streets. I'm all for it, especially if the meters generate revenue to keep our streets clean and for timely street repavings.

We won't be able to solve all our solutions, in a year, but I know we need protected bike lanes on key Hoboken streets to encourage people to use their bikes, rather than driving their cars.

How To Watch Hockey Without Cable?

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Last night, I watched Rangers vs Flyers in HD on my iPad. No suspect links to Russian sites or credit cards needed. Just went to www.reddit.com/r/nhlstreams - found the game I wanted, and people post links to the games. 

I would buy the NHL.TV single team package for $112, but there are three key reasons why I won't.

1. They blackout all the Rangers, Islanders and Devils games when my Flyers play - there is a workaround here in which I could get a VPN and connect to that to watch the games, but it's just too much work.

2. Flyers have another 15-20 games this season on NBC Sports - those are all blacked out. Once I calculated all the blacked out games, i'm missing almost half the season.

3. Tivo can stream baseball with the MLB.com link but for some reason can't do NHL.TV, which is absurd.

So, yeah, I will use the reddit site until the day comes that I can get ALL the Flyers games for a fair price.

I pre-purchased Amazon Fire TV Stick for $40 so I can watch the HD games on my TV instead of my iPad. I'm getting it in a few weeks and will write up how I like it. 

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

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