On any given day at almost any hour, Hudson Place in downtown Hoboken is bustling with activity. From people arriving at Hoboken Terminal to those frequenting the bars, restaurants, and coffee shops clustered around the street, the pedestrian activity is plentiful.
But the street itself is decidedly designed with a car-first mentality, as three lanes of traffic, long crosswalks and large metal gates to prevent jaywalking give the road a somewhat detached feeling for those on foot. But one local activist has come up with an idea to transform the corridor into a pedestrian plaza, a change he says the city has already laid the groundwork for.
Stewart Mader, who runs the Subway NJ NY blog and co-founded the PATH Riders Council, imagines stepping off a bus, ferry, or train at Hoboken Terminal and onto a new car-free plaza at Hudson Place. He says his plan, which was conceived after a yearlong study of traffic patterns, pedestrian volumes, sidewalk infrastructure, and proposed developments, would both improve transit access and ease traffic flow.
To make the plaza feasible, Mader proposes reconfiguring Hoboken’s one-way street grid on the blocks surrounding Hudson Place. The plan would make Newark Street between Hudson and River streets two-way, also turning River Street between Hudson Place and Newark Street into a dual-way road.
Hudson Street would then become a one-way northbound on the block just north of the proposed plaza, and on-street parking on Hudson Street would trade places with the current drop-off area. The bike rack on the west side of that road could be moved to the new Hudson Place Pedestrian Plaza to create additional parking or a shuttle bus drop-off/pick-up site.
The pedestrian plaza itself would span a block between Hudson and River Streets, and Mader says it would “create new civic space for community activities in a high-visibility, high-foot-traffic area.” He says that the city, in a way, has already indicated that they share his vision. The City Council did approve the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan back in December 2014, which proposed turning the block into a pedestrian plaza after NJ Transit developed their property. The agency has done little of note at the land since the plan was passed, so Mader is hoping to expedite the plaza portion.
“The way I see it, we just need to find a way to implement [the plaza] now, instead of waiting on that larger redevelopment,” Mader says.
Pedestrian plazas in Hudson county have become popular in recent years, most notably on Newark Avenue in Downtown Jersey City and underneath Hoboken’s 14th Street Viaduct. Mader has shared the latest idea with some members of the Hoboken City Council and is waiting to see how they respond. His full plan can be seen here.
Would this proposal ease congestion and make the area more pedestrian friendly? Let us know in the comments!