Last week, the City Council voted 9-0 on first reading on an ordinance to implement the Southwest Traffic Circulation plan. The plan would improve connectivity for vehicular traffic between Hoboken, Jersey City, and Union City, improve pedestrian safety in an area that is seeing more businesses, more residents, and soon, a new park, and result in a net increase in on-street parking spaces. A second reading of the ordinance will be held at the next Council meeting. Highlights of the plan, which based on Synchro and SimTraffic models of future traffic volumes is estimated to reduce traffic delays by more than 25 percent, include:
- Opening up Jackson Street to two lanes by removing on-street parking and the bicycle lane.
- Creating safe pedestrian access to the Southwest Park, businesses, and residences in the area while improving traffic flow by adding new traffic signals at Jackson Street at Observer Highway, Harrison Street at Observer Highway, and Madison Street at Observer Highway.
- Fixing the gridlock at Monroe Street and Observer Highway that affects the entire southwest area. The three-way intersection of Monroe Street, Observer Highway, and Paterson Avenue requires longer traffic signal cycle lengths, creating significant traffic backups. By converting Paterson Avenue to one-way westbound between Monroe Street and Harrison Street, the intersection is simplified and allows for adding 20% more green time for Monroe Street and Observer Highway. This recommendation from the Hoboken-Jersey City Subregional Connectivity Study commissioned by Hudson County and funded by the NJTPA in 2011 was confirmed with traffic modeling by Hoboken’s engineer.
- Opening Madison Street to create more options for entering Hoboken. The addition of a second turning lane on Madison Street between Newark Street and Observer Highway and allowing vehicles to go left, right, or straight from Madison Street by removing the existing bollards, will create a new option for entering Hoboken and greatly reduce vehicular volumes turning onto Jackson Street.
- Converting the Jersey Avenue/Newark Street gateway into Hoboken from two to four lanes to improve circulation into and out of Hoboken, adding a dedicated right turn lane from Harrison Street onto Newark Street, and creating a second lane on Harrison Street for traffic turning east onto Observer Highway.
- Optimizing the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail signal at the intersection of Paterson Avenue and Marshall Street to improve coordination with other southwest traffic signals and reduce delays caused by light rail crossings.
- Adding parking along the south side of Paterson Avenue and west side of Jackson Street will help buffer the Southwest Park from traffic.