This past year has been difficult, but I’m proud of the way we’ve come together to confront the challenges of COVID-19.

While we continue to do everything we possibly can to protect our vulnerable populations from the virus, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on a number of additional initiatives we’ve accomplished together in 2020 to make our Mile Square an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

Here are some highlights:

1. Completed historic installation of 7,000 linear feet of water main upgrades after decades of neglect

2. Opened new gymnasium and acre of public, open space with flood infrastructure at 7th and Jackson

3. Completed Vision Zero improvements on Newark Street with curb extensions, new crosswalks, and rapid flashing signal

4. Repaved 14% of Hoboken streets as part of infrastructure improvements and water main upgrades

5. Partnered with NJ Transit to implement new bus stops to increase capacity, reduce wait times, and create efficiencies along 126 route

6. Renovated Jefferson Park with new playground equipment, safety surface, climbing structures and improved spacing

7. Upgraded Church Square, Stevens and Maxwell dog runs with new, modern turf surface and features

8. Achieved perfect 100% rating from Human Rights Campaign for inclusive LGBTQ+ policies for third year in a row
9. Secured historic $10 million grant from FEMA for 5-acre Northwest Resiliency Park, flood infrastructure upgrades

10. Installed new rain garden curb extensions to provide additional flood mitigation and pedestrian safety 

11. Completed installation of raised intersection adjacent to Columbus Park to improve pedestrian safety

12. Enacted single-use Styrofoam ban, full plastic bag ban as part of Hoboken’s Climate Action Plan

13. Expanded open streets program to provide additional space for residents to walk, bike, jog and enjoy the outdoors
14. Promoted Audra Carter as Hoboken’s first-ever female Battalion Chief in Fire Department

15. Upgraded over 150 crosswalks with high-visibility paint and design to improve pedestrian safety

16. Launched first-ever online visitor parking permit system, further modernizing the Hoboken Parking Utility

17. Achieved substantial reduction in LepreCon event in March, with only four bars participating
18. Partnered with the Hoboken Business Alliance to support small business initiatives including “Summer Streets”

19. Upgraded Elysian Park’s underground infrastructure and installed new playground safety surface 20. Completed waterfront upgrades with South Waterfront Board including new trees, irrigation system, upgraded surface, LED lighting
21. Worked with the Hoboken Arts Advisory Committee to launch the “Art Box Mural Project” along Washington Street

22. Launched Vision Zero website and completed crash data analysis to identify areas of pedestrian safety improvement

23. Began demolition of the Zaklama property at 1st and Jackson Streets, removing a blighted building in Southwest Hoboken

24. Expanded composting options to four public sites, to help reduce landfill waste and create a more sustainable city

25. Created framework for over 50 parklets and streateries to expand outdoor dining

26. Initiated “Friends of Parks” groups with residents to help improve Hoboken’s shared public spaces and parks

27. Implemented new technology in City parking garages including capacity signage, online portal for monthly customers

28. Finished installation of over 30 pet waste stations in partnership with property owners, to help reduce dog waste

29. Installed five miles of new bike lanes with Hudson County, including a new protected bike lane on Newark Street

30. Phased in new hybrid/LPR vehicles in Hoboken Parking Utility with 50 mpg to phase out older minivans

We’ve been able to successfully move these quality of life projects forward while simultaneously managing a global pandemic, thanks in large part to the dedicated work of our City Directors and staff, and I look forward to building on this progress in 2021. As always, to stay up-to-date on City initiatives and COVID-19 news, please subscribe to Hoboken’s Nixle email alerts at http://www.hobokennj.gov/alerts.

Sincerely,

Ravi S. Bhalla