On November 30th, we reviewed the updated plan by the NJTPA and Hudson County during the webinar. It was revealed that three mayors (Weehawken, West New York, and North Bergen) and a few Hudson County commissioners reversed course on the original plan we shared with you a year ago, ignoring the community’s interest in having safer streets for all.
This new plan has eliminated all safety measures to support bicycles on this major crash corridor AND now has dangerous angled parking throughout. While we’re disappointed that three Mayors and a few Commissioners are blocking progress, we recognize our large community disagrees, and will continue to press ahead.
Here are the official points from our parent organization, Hudson County Complete Streets sent back to Jose Siera, Director of Traffic and Transportation last week.
- Inappropriate use of federal funds. $19 million in federal funding should be used in equitable matters. A design with angle parking and little to no protection for vulnerable road users is not.
- The design will make the corridor less safe rather than more safe by introducing angled parking, which despite being NJDOT approved, has been shown to increase the risk of death and injury to pedestrians and cyclists.
- A complete street with multi-use cycle track design would provide safety for all types of active modes of transportation to thousands of people along this corridor of overburdened communities.
- With more than 700,000 residents, Hudson County is the most densely populated county in the most densely populated state in the nation. Studies show that bike lanes reduce traffic, improve travel times, and make the roads safer for everyone, including drivers. There are 600 miles of roadways maintained by Hudson County, yet less than 0.5 miles of these roads include bike lanes.
- The design increases congestion via the principle of induced demand. Adding parking will add cars, which will decrease safety by creating more opportunities for conflict.
- The design increases liabilities for motorists by forcing them to share the road with cyclists rather than separating the modes.
- A frequent refrain of the USDOT is “roads are for all users.” This corridor is being designed for parked cars, not all road users.
- Cycling traffic has increased 50% since the pandemic and bike sales are up 121%. At least 30% of Hudson County residents do not own a personal motor vehicle.
- New Jersey passed a law, which went into effect March 1, 2022, which states that cars must give at least 4 feet of clearance to cyclists on unprotected roads. This increases the need for separated and protected lanes.
- New Jersey traffic fatalities were up nearly 20% from 2020 to 2021 (2020 was already more deadly than 2019). Pedestrians made up 31% and cyclists made up 3.2% of those deaths.
- In Hudson County, more than 50% of traffic deaths in 2021 were pedestrians and cyclists (16 total). One of these deaths occurred within the JFK Boulevard East Corridor improvement area.
- The county has failed to meet USDOT guidelines with regard to community involvement on this corridor. The majority of communities served by this corridor are overburdened communities with a high proportion of minority residents and residents with limited English proficiency.
- There have been no surveys, in-person community meetings, charettes, focus groups, or any other kind of community outreach. Neither the Dec 2021 nor the Dec 2022 public meetings included a Spanish language option.
- The design fails to respect or comply with the county’s Complete Streets resolution.
- The design fails to address the county’s needs for a north-south protected lane for people on bicycles, ebikes, scooters and other mobility devices.
This is the last public opportunity for us to get this right as a community; please reach out to the following individuals who are responsible for correcting this issue: