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May, 2018

Update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla on Union Dry Dock/NY Waterway

I wanted to take this opportunity to update residents on the City’s ongoing efforts to acquire the preserve the property known as Union Dry Dock publicly accessible waterfront space.

Regretfully, I was informed recently New York Waterway’s (“NYWW”) permit application was granted by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) to operate a repair and maintenance depot in Hoboken. However, the approval of the permit is expressly conditioned on the receipt of all necessary federal, state, and local approvals. In other words, NYWW has a long way to go before they can start operations in Hoboken.

In fact, before any work can begin at the site, the Army Corps of Engineers (“ACOE”) must first review NYWW’s application for an individual permit. Such a permit requires a heightened level of scrutiny, and importantly, a more open, transparent, and public process, including the opportunity for a public hearing. In an effort to ensure full transparency, I have formally requested that the ACOE hold a public hearing in Hoboken to allow our residents a voice in the process.  I am extremely gratified that my request has been publicly supported, and echoed, by Senators Menendez and Booker and Representative Sires.

The permit review process also includes a review of public input, and I encourage all residents to submit to the ACOE in writing their thoughts on NYWW using our waterfront as a repair and maintenance facility. In addition, I have directed City attorneys to explore all legal options available to safeguard Hoboken’s waterfront. My Administration has been collaboratively working with our City Council on this matter, and we will be briefing the Council in closed session at the next meeting to discuss the options available to us regarding the granting of the DEP permit.

Secondly, members of my Administration and I also had a productive meeting on May 15, 2018, with New Jersey Transit’s (“NJT”) new Executive Director, Kevin Corbett at his offices in Newark. NJT is currently conducting a clinical analysis expected to be completed by September of all alternative sites that are suitable to house a ferry repair and maintenance facility. Hoboken has also retained engineering professionals to conduct our own analysis.  Director Corbett agreed that his professionals would review and consider the data and analysis conducted by Hoboken’s professionals in identifying a suitable site. Furthermore, Director Corbett agreed to provide my Administration with a draft of NJT’s analysis and report prior to its final version, so that Hoboken has an opportunity to review the document and offer further feedback.

It is worthy to note that while the City and NJT are presently analyzing alternative sites, NJT actually conducted a similar study in 2009 of suitable locations for a repair and maintenance facility and ranked each site accordingly. Based on NJT’s own analysis, the Union Dry Dock property is ranked only sixth out of nine potential locations. This strongly suggests that there are at least several alternatives better suited for NYWW’s facility and operations.

My administration is actively involved in discussions with all interested parties, and I will continue to fight to protect our waterfront. I am grateful to the many organizations and individuals who have joined in this effort, especially the Fund for a Better Waterfront and Hoboken Residents for a Public Waterfront. As developments happen, I will continue to provide updates to our community.

Mayor Bhalla to Host Rainbow Flag Raising for LGBTQ Pride Month

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla will hold a raising of the Pride Flag to commemorate LGBTQ Pride Month on Monday, June 4 at 1 p.m. outside of City Hall. The lamp posts outside City Hall will shine in rainbow lights beginning that evening and will last for the duration of June.

“I am honored to commemorate my first Pride Month as Mayor,” said Bhalla. “It’s a symbolic act, but it’s important to understand how far the LGBTQ community has come in fighting for equal protection under the law as we continue the work of unraveling centuries of legalized discrimination.”

Speakers at the flag raising include:

  • Mayor Bhalla
  • Sergeant Major Jennifer Long (Retired)
  • Michael Billy, Chief Executive Officer of Hudson Pride Center

At the flag raising, Billy will announce details about Hoboken’s role in the Hudson Pride festivities in August.

“The events of Pride month exemplify the strength and growth of our LGBTQ+ & allied community,” said Billy. “This year, for the first time ever, the city of Hoboken will officially kick off Pride Month in Hudson County. Hoboken Pride emphasizes the importance of diversity in our community, making it stronger and more accepting of all individuals and their contributions to society.”

In April, Bhalla introduced a city-wide ordinance, which was signed into law earlier this month, protecting restroom access for transgender and gender non-binary individuals. Also in May, the City repealed an archaic ordinance which had outlawed “female impersonators” in Hoboken bars.

Finalized 2018 Hoboken Master Plan Rexamination Report and 2018 Land Use Element Now Available

The 2018 Hoboken Master Plan Reexamination Report and 2018 Land Use Element have been finalized, following nearly a year of public meetings, surveys, and input. The 2018 reports address how Hoboken’s socio-economic characteristics, population, vision, and needs have changed since the 2010 Master Plan Reexamination.

 

“This new master plan gives the City of Hoboken a clear vision of the future,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla. “I’m excited about what’s next for our city, particularly in the areas of housing affordability, flood mitigation, and transportation.”

 

The Master Plan serves as a blueprint for the City, providing guidance to elected officials on what changes residents want to see in the long- and short-term.

 

“The 2010 Reexamination was drafted at the height of the Great Recession and before Hoboken endured Superstorm Sandy,” said Community Development Director Brandy Forbes. “Hoboken has come a long way since then, and thanks to all of the public comments, our new priorities reflect that change.”

 

The Master Plan addresses five main themes with a range of recommendations, including:

 

  1. A Complete Neighborhood
    1. Promote enhancement of facilities and events for arts, culture, and education
    2. Maintain the scale and experience of the City’s shared streetscapes and built environment, particularly within Hoboken’s interior residential neighborhoods
    3. Preserve historic properties and protect architectural heritage
    4. Build, upgrade, and connect park and open space amenities

 

  1. Shared Prosperity
    1. Support local businesses, arts and industries
    2. Provide affordable housing options for family and non-family households, and for lower-income communities
    3. Diversify the local economy by encouraging non-residential uses particularly in underserved areas of the City

 

  1. A City of Connected Places
    1. Make Hoboken a better place for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders while improving driving conditions
    2. Improve efficiency of the roadways, particularly in and out of Hoboken and through the Central Business District
    3. Improve parking conditions and convenience of public transportation and other green alternatives

 

  1. Becoming a Sustainable and Resilient City
    1. Upgrade and innovate infrastructure systems
    2. Adapt to climate change impacts and improve response capacity for emergencies and natural disasters
    3. Mitigate climate change impacts by improving waste and energy systems

 

  1. An Engaged and Efficient Partner
    1. Standardize processes for information sharing, engagement, and feedback
    2. Increase municipal capacity, efficiently manage resources and track government performance
    3. Employ “smart city” technology infrastructure
    4. Work collaboratively across municipalities and agencies

 

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing to consider the 2018 Master Plan Reexamination Report and the 2018 Land Use Element at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 11that the Multi-Service Center, located at 124 Grand Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030. The full reports can be found here http://masterplan-cityofhoboken.opendata.arcgis.com/pages/documents–resources

 

Restricted Parking on Washington Street

Please be advised that starting on Tuesday, May 29th through Thursday May 31st, there will be no parking on either side of Washington Street from Observer Highway through 3rd Street as the green Endura-Blend Bike Lanes will be installed.

Mayor Bhalla Releases Letter to State Officials on Rebuild By Design Proposals

Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla released today a letter he has sent to the Commissioners of the State Department of the Environment and Department of Transportation regarding the Rebuild By Design flood resistance barrier options that are being considered by the State. These protection options will help protect Hoboken and run east-to-west from the Hudson River to Marin Boulevard. A copy of the letter can be found here.
While Mayor Bhalla’s position underscores the Administration’s primary interest in completing the Rebuild by Design project to protect Hoboken from the growing impacts of climate change, a southern alignment for this project that accommodates the development contemplated by the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan is, without any doubt, of tremendous economic benefit to both Hoboken and the State of New Jersey. The contemplated development would activate a sorely underutilized asset of NJTRANSIT and transform the property, from the second floor of the Hoboken Terminal all the way along the redevelopment area, into a world-class transit oriented development. This project has the potential to be an international model for responsible private-public partnership and development that strengthens our mass transit infrastructure while providing multi-million dollar job economic benefits to a cash-strapped state transit agency.

 

Accordingly, an alignment that both preserves this historic economic development opportunity for New Jersey while also protecting Hoboken and State assets from the growing threat of climate change, creates a win-win for everyone and should be vigorously pursued by the State of New Jersey.

Hoboken has already invested significant time and financial resources in adopting the Hoboken Yard Redevelopment Plan in 2014 to make this vision a reality for our city. The Bhalla Administration remains committed to this vision and remains ready and willing to work with all stakeholders to identify a solution that advances all legitimate interests.

Mayor Bhalla to Participate in Mayor Exchange Program

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla will travel to Villalba, Puerto Rico on Thursday and Friday to meet with Mayor Luis Javier “Javi” Hernández Ortiz to discuss hurricane recovery efforts and issues still facing both cities.

“We here in Hoboken know what it’s like to suffer a devastating storm,” said Bhalla. “It’s been almost six years since Hurricane Sandy, and we’ve learned a lot in that time. I hope our visit will help the people of Villalba on their long journey towards recovery.”

At a later date, Mayor Hernández Ortiz will come to Hoboken to learn how local storm recovery efforts, such as Rebuild By Design, may be applied in Villalba.

“My trip there will help me understand what they went through and how it relates to what we went through after Sandy,” said Bhalla. “When Mayor Hernández Ortiz comes to Hoboken, he will get to see how we’re addressing the impact of flooding. At the same time, there’s a lot we can learn from them about potential future issues, including what did and didn’t work for them.”

The educational trips are financed by the Open Society Foundation and come at no cost to taxpayers.

Rebuild By Design Workshops Announced for May and June

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and engineering firm AECOM will be hosting a series of Design Workshops in May and June to solicit feedback on the Rebuild by Design Hudson River project. The Design Workshops will focus on characteristics and amenities of the project that correspond to either the Northern or Southern portions of the Resist alignment.

  • May 30th 7–9 p.m.: 1600 Adams St., North Hudson Sewerage Authority Board Room – Design Zones 2 & 3. This workshop will discuss the alignment in the North end of the project area from the border of Weehawken, through Harborside Park, to the termination on Washington St south of 14th St.
  • May 31st 7–9 p.m.: 124 Grand St. Multi-Service Center Community Room – Design Zones 2 & 3. This workshop will cover the same material presented on the 30th – the alignment in the North end of the project area from the border of Weehawken, through Harborside Park, to the termination on Washington St.
  • June 6th 7-9 p.m.: 22 Hackensack Ave, Weehawken, NJ St. Lawrence RC Church – Design Zones 1 & 2 Weehawken Tie-in and Harborside Park.
  • Late June TBD – Design Zone 4 – Observer Highway
  • Late June TBD – Design Zone 5 – Jersey City Tie-In

Fliers for the workshops can be found here.

Hoboken’s 120th Annual Memorial Day Parade to be Held Wednesday

Hoboken’s 120th Annual Memorial Day Parade will take place on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. The parade will assemble at 6 p.m. and step off at 6:30 p.m. from City Hall (1st Street and Washington Street) and proceed north on Washington Street to the reviewing stand on 10th Street & Washington Street in front of the Hoboken Elks Lodge.

This year marks the 120th year of marching up Washington Street to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice. It is also the oldest continuous parade in the State of New Jersey.

Washington Street will be closed between 1st Street and Observer Highway at approximately 6 p.m. for the assembly of the parade. NJ Transit buses will be diverted to Hudson Street and Bloomfield Street at that time. Washington Street and side streets will be closed as the parade proceeds northbound. Police officers will be on hand to direct traffic throughout the area. Drivers should expect delays in the area during the parade.

Mayor Bhalla Honors Fallen Officers During Police Week

Dear Residents,

This week, we honor law enforcement officers who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives in the line of duty. Police Week and Police Officers Memorial Day date back to 1962, and the annual tradition honors the more than 21,500 officers who were killed in the line of duty throughout the history of our country.

Since Hoboken Police Department’s inception in 1855, seven of our officers have fallen.

It’s with a heavy heart that we commemorate their sacrifice. They are:

PTLM. Charles Gebhardt        End of Watch: July 26, 1898

PTLM. John J. Condon           End of Watch: August 15, 1902

PTLM. Bernard Murray          End of Watch: October 2, 1918

PTLM. William Gudehus        End of Watch: October 10, 1918

PTLM. Joseph M. Jaeger        End of Watch: July 6, 1924

PTLM. Patrick J. Lane            End of Watch: March 9, 1928

PTLM. Thomas F. McIntyre   End of Watch: October 6, 1951

We are fortunate that we have not lost any officers in more than 60 years, but that does not mean they’ve all been spared from harm.

On average, an officer is assaulted in the US every nine minutes. It’s not enough to simply honor the fallen, we must respect those currently serving.

From August 2017 to January 2018, 15 of our officers were attacked, mostly at night by intoxicated bar patrons. It’s why one of my first acts as Mayor was to crack down on establishments that encouraged reckless behavior during SantaCon. As a result, Hoboken saw one of its most peaceful LepreCons to date, thanks to bar owners working with our police department to ensure public safety.

I hope Hoboken will continue to respect the well-being of our officers as we honor the legacy of those we’ve lost.

Very truly yours,

Ravi Bhalla

Mayor Bhalla Hires Caroline Caulfield as Constituent Affairs Chief

Hoboken Mayor Ravinder S. Bhalla has hired Caroline Caulfield to head the city’s newly formed Office of Constituent Affairs. Caulfield, a fourth-generation Hobokenite, joins City Hall from Senator Cory Booker’s Newark office, where she served in the area of constituent relations and correspondence.

“Caroline’s stellar professional qualifications and strong family ties to Hoboken make her the perfect choice to head the city’s new Constituent Affairs office,” said Bhalla. “She has a love and knowledge of Hoboken that is key in helping address the needs and concerns of residents.”

Caulfield carries on a family legacy of public service to Hoboken.  Both her grandfather and great-grandfather worked for the City.

“I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to continue this legacy of service,” said Caulfield. “I have tremendous pride in being from Hoboken, and I believe City Hall has an obligation to make our city more responsive to the needs of residents. I look forward to serving all of the city’s residents, paying close attention to the needs of our lower-income residents and those who have been impacted by our city’s rapid growth.”

Prior to working for Senator Booker, Caulfield interned for the New York City Department of Education and canvassed for the Human Rights Campaign. Caulfield earned her B.A. in Political Studies and Human Rights from Bard College.

Caulfield’s first day will be on Tuesday, May 29.

Caroline Caulfield and Mayor Bhalla