One of the most important challenge facing Hoboken in the years to come is bringing our aged infrastructure to the 21st Century. Our residents deserve to have reliable, reasonably priced transportation options that can also help to reduce traffic and improve our quality of life. As your Mayor, I will work tirelessly to advocate for the necessary investments in our mass transportation infrastructure, which include the ideas below.
Upgrading & Expanding the NJ Transit 126 Lines
While we in Hoboken enjoy one of the best waterfronts in the world, in many ways the future of Hoboken looks west – west of Clinton Street. Our two 126 bus lines are packed to the brim on a daily basis during rush hour, and lines are getting longer, especially at the uptown Hoboken stops. While an overhaul of the Port Authority Bus terminal may provide us some relief decades from now, Hoboken deserves better service in the short term, and NJ Transit must reexamine their bus services throughout the State to reallocate its services to those areas, such as Hoboken, that are most stressed. We must ensure that mass transit infrastructure can accommodate much of the growth we are seeing in the western neighborhoods of Hoboken. Therefore, today I am urging New Jersey Transit to add additional north/south 126 bus routes west of Clinton Street, and to dedicate additional buses on the current 126 routes exclusively for uptown Hoboken. In addition, I urge New Jersey Transit to modernize their bus stops in Hoboken with digitally signalized arrival times, similar to what is standard in other parts of the country and world.
New Train Station in Hoboken’s North End
Another critical investment that I am urging NJ Transit to make is a commitment to a new train station in the North End Rehabilitation Area of Hoboken. Recently, I testified at the public hearing held by NJ Transit concerning a proposal to build a $13 billion Hudson Tunnel Project connecting midtown-Manhattan to the Secaucus Junction Terminal. My testimony stressed the need for a Hoboken train station stop to be included in the project. The project envisions constructing a new train tunnel under the Hoboken/Weehawken border, but as currently proposed it service would be directly to Secaucus without any stop in Hoboken. In the years to come, the North End is likely to develop into a thriving new neighborhood focused on commercial development, retail, and restaurants, creating a correlating need for public transit options for Hoboken residents, employees, and commuters. With this in mind, the infrastructure for an actual train station connecting to that tunnel should be created in a manner so the yet-to-be-developed North End will have the means to integrate this critical transit option into any future redevelopment in this area of Hoboken.
In proposing a new train station in the North End, we are not reinventing the wheel. This proposal is very similar to what was done recently with the extension of the Number 7 train in New York City to the Hudson Yards at 34th Street to include a possible additional stop at 41st Street and 10th Avenue in the future. There, planners invested in the necessary infrastructure so as not to preclude the construction of a new station in the future. Here too, as an air ventilator shaft is already required to be located in Hoboken/Weehawken for the Hudson Tunnel Project, forward-thinking urban planning should include a mass transit infrastructure investment to keep open the option of adding a train stop in the North End of Hoboken.
PATH is one of Hoboken’s most important transit links to NYC, and will be the first transit agency in the NY/NJ area to have a new, federally-mandated signal system that increases safety, and enables increased train capacity. But, as you may know, in 2015 the Port Authority reduced PATH service in Hoboken during rush hour and shifted those PATH trains to other locations. I believe it is critical that we advocate with the Port Authority to prioritize additional service from Hoboken during rush hour, whether those investments are to come from developers or mass transit agencies.
Lastly, while the ferry is a pleasant option for crossing the Hudson River, it is currently far too expensive for many commuters to consider as an option, particularly the uptown ferry. New York City has worked in certain areas to lower the cost of a ferry ride to $2.75, the same price as a subway ride. As Mayor, one of my priorities will be to work with state and federal officials, and New York Waterways, to identify opportunities to subsidize the cost of a ferry ride from Hoboken to New York City to make it a more affordable transit option. If New Jersey’s mass transit public agencies cannot provide sufficient rail service in urban municipalities, there is no reason they should not provide required subsidies for residents to cross the Hudson River by ferry at the same price. If New York can do it, so can we.