A new plan designed to calm traffic and beautify the streetscape is in the works for one of Hoboken’s busiest streets, and it hopes to strike a balance that will make drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists all feel more at ease when traveling the corridor.
Planners from New York-based Kimley Horn presented their vision for a four-block stretch of Newark Street during a community meeting late last week, which seeks to physically and visually narrow the road. Currently, the street has limited pedestrian crossings and a low rate of vehicles stopping for those on foot, plus there’s no clearly defined curb on parts of the road’s southern side.
The redesign will create curb bump-outs at intersections, install a raised crosswalk that would essentially double as a speed bump at Newark and Jefferson Streets, add four additional crosswalks along the road, and paint a protected bike lane on the south side of the corridor. Loading zones would be added at some parking spaces for a few hours along the street in an effort to discourage vehicles from parking on the sidewalk, a problem that can plague the neighborhood.
The plan could potentially add Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacon signs (or RRFBs) at crosswalks, which are designed to get a driver’s attention and light up when a pedestrian pushes a button on the corner. Sidewalk areas would also be “greened up” with landscaping, and planners stressed that no driving lanes or parking spaces along the road would be lost in the redesign.
Some immediate improvements to the road are coming in the Spring, as county officials at the meeting said a physical barrier of bollards will be installed on the south side of the street soon. That portion of the project was scheduled for last year, but was postponed due to the Transportation Fund dispute.
For the remainder of the redesign, the plan would require county and city council approval, as Newark Street is a county road. Mayor Dawn Zimmer said during the meeting that the city has already bonded for part of the project and is looking to get the improvements done by the end of this year.