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Construction to Begin on Complete Streets Redesign of Observer Highway

Observer Highway Plan
Beginning on or about Monday, April 27, 2015, construction will begin on the Observer Highway complete streets redesign project. The improvements along Observer Highway will include new synchronized traffic signals and dedicated left turn lanes that will create a more organized, efficient, and safer driving experience. Between 2010 and 2012, there were an average of 37 crashes per year along Observer Highway. The new design will reduce traffic delays and prevent collisions. Along with these essential changes, the Observer Highway and Vezzetti Way corridor will be converted to a more pedestrian-friendly street with new, redesigned crosswalk signals and other pedestrian safety improvements as well as a two-way protected bike lane.

“I am very proud that this project, fully-funded through grants, will create an attractive and safe gateway into Hoboken for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit riders of all ages and abilities,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “While the main purpose of this project is to make the street safer, it will also have the benefit of reducing traffic delays along one of our busiest corridors.”

The project, which will also include a redesign of a portion of Newark Street later this year, costs $2.7 million and is completely funded by grants. The majority of the funding was secured by Senator Robert Menendez through a $2 million Congressional earmark for Observer Highway and a $240,000 earmark for Newark Street. Hoboken was fortunate to have access to these funds as cities across the United States are now no longer afforded Congressional earmarks.

Statement from Mayor Zimmer and Police Chief Ferrante


Last night, multiple police agencies responded to a bomb threat called into Hoboken Police Headquarters. The threat was made to 66 Willow Ave, the Neumann Leathers building in southern Hoboken, and police took the threat seriously and took all necessary precautions to protect the safety of residents. The building was searched multiple times by the police and was deemed to be neutralized from any threat. Due to the investigation, Observer Highway was closed to traffic and reopened early Sunday morning, once the police determined it was safe for the public.

The Hoboken Police Department is still investigating the person who called in the threat, and is working with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s office and the FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce to determine where the call came from.

Police Chief Ken Ferrante gave the following account: At approximately 7:35 p.m., a call was made into police headquarters from a male who stated that he had a bomb and threatened to blow up 66 Willow Ave. Police responded immediately and began an evacuation of the building. Upon completion of the evacuation, the individual called police headquarters again and threatened to kill himself and police, after thanking the police for evacuating the building. The individual further stated that he had several weapons and bombs, and again threatened the life of police officers.

A series of phone calls continued with a multitude of threats and demands. Based on the severity of the threats, the area surrounding the Neumann Leathers building, which is a large factory and home to over 45 artist and music studios, was shut down. Observer Highway, Newark Street and Willow Avenue were closed and a frozen zone was placed around the building. During the night, the Port Authority Emergency Services Unit performed critical services as the officers performed three searches of the building for the individual and then went in a fourth time with bomb sniffing dogs from New Jersey Transit Police, Jersey City Police and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Department. At 2:30 a.m. the scene was deemed to be clear and safe. 

Update on Police Activity in Southern Hoboken


Based on a phone call made by an individual to the Hoboken Police Department, multiple law enforcement agencies responded to a bomb threat in southern Hoboken. Police are taking the call seriously and certain roads were closed as a precaution to ensure the safety of the community. A series of checks of the building have proved negative, but law enforcement is still investigating the call. Additional information regarding this situation will be provided as soon as possible. The following roads will remain closed until further notice:

  • Observer Highway (from Park Ave to Henderson St/Marin Blvd)
  • Willow Avenue (from 1st St to Observer Hwy)
  • Newark Street (from Jefferson St to Willow Ave)

Drivers are advised to expect traffic delays and to seek alternate routes if possible.

Hoboken Launches one of First Residential Compost Programs in New Jersey

CCC

The City of Hoboken is partnering with the Community Compost Company to implement one of New Jersey’s first residential composting programs. The program offers residential pickup service now and will offer drop spots at three locations in Hoboken starting in June.

“Hoboken is proud to be a leader in sustainability with the first residential composting program in Hudson County and one of the first in New Jersey,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, composting could save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. While it costs us $100 per ton to dispose of trash in a landfill, it would only cost about $40 per ton to dispose our food waste at a composting facility. We especially look forward to partnering with schools, food establishments, and larger apartment buildings to address our largest sources of food waste.”

Residents can choose compost pick-up service for $20-35/month, or on Saturdays beginning in June, residents can bring their separated food scraps and other organic materials to one of three drop spot locations in Hoboken for free. Residents may bring their materials in any containers they choose, however garbage bags and non-compostable refuse will not be accepted. Residents can visit www.communitycompostco.com to sign up for pick-up service or to get more information about drop spot locations and timing. Businesses and organizations interested in composting should email info@communitycompostco.com to discuss services.

“We’re very excited to work with the City of Hoboken to expand our organics recycling program,” says Eileen Banyra, Owner of Community Compost Co. “It is absolutely the right place at the right time to advance such a program. Bringing awareness to the complexities surrounding food waste and the benefits of composting is key to our mission.”

Garbage from Hoboken is transported to a landfill in West Virginia and tipping fees alone cost $100 per ton of waste. Separating organic materials for composting is an easy way to divert waste from the landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in addition to helping the City of Hoboken save money by cutting down on landfill fees and the volume and frequency of garbage collection.

Community Compost Company takes collected food scraps to farms where they are recycled into compost, which is used to fertilize the soil.

What can you compost?
All food (including fruits, vegetables, meat, bones, dairy, grains, eggshells, coffee grounds), food-soiled paper, napkins, paper towels, uncoated paper, plates, and tea bags.

What can’t you compost?
Plastic, metal (aluminum foil, staples in tea bags), Styrofoam, liquids, frozen food boxes, chemicals, compostable plastics.

Hoboken Community Invited to Fire Department Promotions Ceremony

GROUP D

The City of Hoboken invites all members of the public to attend a promotions ceremony for members of the Hoboken Fire Department. The ceremony will be held on Friday, March 20th, 2015 at 1:30pm in the City Council Chambers at Hoboken City Hall, 94 Washington Street.

Firefighters Matthew Markey and Walter J. Lehbrink will be promoted to the rank of Fire Captain. Recently retired firefighters Alexander Badamo and Thomas Cutillo will also be honored for their service to the community.

City of Hoboken Announces Road Repair and Repaving Plan

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The City of Hoboken is implementing a faster, more efficient, less expensive, and longer-lasting approach to repairing potholes and will be completely repaving more than 50 blocks of roadway beginning this spring.

The City has contracted for “Pothole Killer” trucks to make repairs city-wide. With spray injection technology, a single vehicle operator controls a hydraulic boom, which clears the pothole of debris, applies liquid asphalt to fill and seal it, and then tops it off with a dry aggregate coating. The whole process takes roughly 90 seconds per pothole.

“I thank Director Pellegrini for bringing this great new technology to Hoboken that will save us money and make long-lasting repairs faster than ever before,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “We’re committed to quickly completing these repairs and repaving more than 50 blocks of our worst roads this spring.”

In three days in January and two in April, a single Pothole Killer truck filled nearly 1,000 potholes. The truck will continue to be used to make repairs in the days ahead. Residents can assist by reporting potholes via www.hoboken311.com or through the Hoboken 311 application for iOS and Android. The City is coordinating with Hudson County for repairs to County roads, especially 1st Street and Observer Highway.

“In the past, we used cold patch to temporarily repair potholes and then had to make permanent repairs in the spring with hot asphalt when the asphalt plants opened,” said Environmental Services Director Leo Pellegrini. “To make matters worse, the cold patch material would often be ripped out, requiring us to contract for heavy duty equipment to vacuum up the gravel and rocks from roads. This new approach eliminates an entire step and is faster, safer, less expensive, and even works in below freezing temperatures. In addition, by not tying up our resources on repairing potholes, our crews are all focused on cleaning up our streets now that all the snow has melted.”

Crime & Ambulance Calls at All-Time Lows for Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day


Since the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day parade was last held in 2011, there has been a dramatic reduction in crime during the annual St. Patrick’s Day event, an event organized by various Hoboken bars and restaurants. This year there were 39 ambulance calls, a 58% reduction since 2011, 11 arrests, a 68% reduction since 2011, and 95 summonses issued for quality of life violations such as open containers and urinating in public, a 68% reduction since 2011. Five bars received tavern sheets: two for assaults, two for overcrowding, and one for a medical issue.

“A big thank you to the Hoboken Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Community Emergency Response Team, Parking Utility and sanitation team,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “There has been a huge drop in crime and quality of life issues and a reduction in public safety costs since the last year of the parade in 2011. In addition, the Police Department received only three calls regarding house parties this year. I especially want to thank Chief Ferrante for his proactive and cost-effective policing approach and Lieutenant DeTrizio and Sergeant Aguiar for their quick action that saved a man’s life in an unrelated suicide attempt that night.”

“Ambulance calls and arrests are at all-time lows – strong indications that instances of major fights and dangerous intoxication are greatly reduced,” said Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante. “Instead of having to react to fights and other emergencies which take officers away from their assignments, they could stay at their posts and focus on proactively controlling crowds. As a result of the decreased amount of arrests, large fights, and persons going to hospitals which takes officers off the street, more officers were able to focus their attention on quality of life issues.”

Street Cleaning Enforcement Suspended for Thursday, March 5


Due to the forecast for snow, street cleaning enforcement will be suspended for Thursday, March 5, 2015 so that crews can focus on salting and plowing roads. Enforcement will resume on Friday, March 6, 2015. All other parking regulations remain in effect.

Due to the weather, PSE&G will not be conducting work on the Energy Strong project on Thursday. As a result, Temporary No Parking signs posted on the following streets can be disregarded for Thursday, March 5, 2015:

• Washington St (5th – 8th) West Side
• Washington St (8th – 9th) East Side
• Washington St (9th – 10th)
• Washington St (10th – 11th) East Side
• Washington St (11th – 13th) West Side
• Washington St (13th – 14th)
• 9th St (Hudson – Washington)
• 12th St (Hudson – Washington)
• 12th St (Bloomfield – Willow)
• 14th St (Washington – Bloomfield)
• Willow Ave (6th – 9th)
• Willlow Ave (9th – 11th)
• Grand St (5th – 6th)

Public Hearing for CDBG 5 Year Action Plan (Online Survey)


The City of Hoboken Department of Community Development will conduct a public hearing regarding its 5-Year Consolidated Action Plan for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The public comment session will gather public input on the content of the Consolidated Action Plan, which will direct funds for public service activities in-line with HUD CDBG rules and regulations for a five (5) year period.

Members of the community are invited to complete an online survey to provide their feedback. The survey will be available until March 18, 2015.

Public service activities include, but are not limited to:
· Child Care
· Youth Services
· Health Care
· Job Training / Job Creation
· Literacy program
· Recreation programs
· Education Programs
· Public Safety Services (Crime Prevention)
· Services for Senior Citizens
· Services for Homeless Persons
· Drug Abuse Counseling and Treatment
· Qualified Veteran Services
· Welfare (as defined by HUD)
· Code Enforcement Services

The public hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 2, 2015 from 6:30PM-8:30PM at the Hoboken Multi-Service Center, 124 Grand Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030. Public input will inform the City’s anticipated 5-Year Consolidated Action Plan, which the City intends to submit to HUD for review and acceptance in May of 2015.

Persons requiring special accommodations to participate in the public hearing may call Department of Community Development Principal Planner Christopher Brown at 201-239-6642 or email at cbrown@hobokennj.gov.

Public Invited to Police Promotions Ceremony


The City of Hoboken invites all members of the public to attend a promotions ceremony for seven members of the Hoboken Police Department. The ceremony will be held on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 3:00pm in the City Council Chambers at Hoboken City Hall, 94 Washington Street.

Lieutenant Kevin Cruz is retiring and will be honored at the ceremony. Police Sergeant John Petrosino will be promoted to Police Lieutenant. Police Officers Saverio R. Binetti, Jonathan Butler, Arbend Drishti, Edward M. Sellick, Steven C. Kranz, and Robert Fulton will be promoted to Police Sergeant.