For the last 22 years I worked in Manhattan. Every day I would go to work. I used to take the 126 bus to the Port Authority. I also used to take the PATH to Christopher Street. Now I recently leased a Ford Edge, and drive to Rockland County to my new office. It's been over two weeks now, and these are the things that I have noticed now that i'm driving in Hoboken on a daily basis.
1. The streets are in terrible shape. I remember reading this often on social media and hearing it at city council meetings. I would shrug and think, "Oh, City Hall will take care of it." and not think much more about it. The streets in Hoboken aren't just bad...they are terrible. Uneven, potholed, I place the blame squarely on Mayor Zimmer here - and i'm a huge fan of hers, but clearly her agenda of "BIKES! PARKS! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!" somehow has placed fixing the basic needs of our streets on the backburner. Hoboken's biggest issue is they are a reactive government. It isn't until enough people complain that they do something. Add my name to the list, the streets are beyond bad - and we need to come up with better job at maintaining and upgrading the roadways.
2. The police aren't doing enough to stop bad drivers and bad pedestrians. Chief Kenneth F. Ferrante has done a much better job at being an accomodating and active chief. Probably the best I can remember living in Hoboken since 1995. But I still would say far too many drivers speed in Hoboken. Also, I think far too many pedestrians jaywalk along Washington Street - and i'm not talking aboout people crossing the street when there is no traffic, i'm talking about people who walk into traffic and expect cars to stop for them. I will keep saying this until i'm blue in the face - but I think my Hoboken Roadway Patrol is a good idea. We need cops who have ONE job - patrol the streets for bad drivers by setting up more speed traps, double parked cars and people who blow through stop signs.
3. Traffic at rush hour is a joke. Zimmer's plan to fix Observer Highway is a failure. The traffic at 14th street is only going to get worse when Trader Joe's opens. I have no choice, I have to drive to work. I very much loved not owning a car, but now it isn't a choice. I got off the ramp at Weehawken the other day at 4:35pm. I didn't get to my home on Newark and Willow until 4:55pm. It took me 20 minutes to get from one side of town to the other side of town - 3 miles. My pace was 9 Miles Per Hour! I could jog that fast. The easiest solution is we really do need to add more lanes, and have traffic cops at lights to move the traffic. Again, this would be part of the HRP solution, in which we had police at the Hoboken borders to move traffic faster.
4. Washington Street Quick Parking. I was going away for a weekend, and dropped off Rocco at a friends house. Then, I wanted to grab something quick from O'Bagels (chorus: That's not paleo!) along Washington Street. I didn't see any open parking spots, so I kept driving. Then I thought, maybe I can pick up a bottle of wine to bring to my friends house, but there were no parking spots near Sparrow Wine and Liquor. As I passed, I thought, I would stop at Buddy's and grab his canoli dip, which was a hit at my brother's house for Thanksgiving - nope there were no parking spots. I drove 6 blocks, and not one parking spot was open, and I really didn't want to park in a parking garage, pay $10, walk a few blocks, grab some wine, go back to my parking spot, pay, leave and continue. I just wanted a parking spot for 10 minutes. The fix, my friends, is easy. You need to make it MORE expensive to park on Washington Street. Yes, MORE expensive. This would cater to people who simply want to shop for 10-30 minutes, rather than people who park for 2-4 hours on the busiest street in town. If you are parking for 2+ hours, you should be in a garage, not on the street. Raise it to $5 per 15 minutes, with max parking for 1 hour. I'm not the first person to suggest this, and major cities have raised rates to combat street congestion.
5. Raise the price of street parking from $15 a year to $350 a year. I rent a parking spot for $185 a month, which is basically $6 a day. It makes ZERO sense that a street parking pass for a Hoboken resident costs $.04 cents a day. I think senior citizens should pay $15 a year, but for the rest of us, it isn't asking too much to pay $1 per day to park your car on the street. I'd hazard to say with a city of 50,000 people that there are 8,000 cars parked by residents on the street, which generates $120,000 in revenue at $15 a day. $350 per car would generate $2.5 million a year (i'm reducing slightly to exclude seniors). Now the city has 2.5m a year they can use to create a street paving schedule. 2.5m a year to pay for police. 2.5m a year that they didn't have before. Also it would dissuade people who own cars that don't "really need them". I have a neighbor of mine we will call John. John owns a 15 year old banged up Jeep that he doesn't drive to work, he only uses it occasionally, like weekends or holidays. He moves the Jeep once a week for the street cleaning schedule, but keeps the car because there is NO INCENTIVE FOR HIM TO NOT HAVE A CAR. I have written in the past how I was able to use ZipCar and Avis for my car needs and save a ton of money. As long as we need the street parking at $15 a year, I hazard there are likely about 1,000-2,000 parking spots for people that don't NEED a car, like me.