HOBOKEN, NJ - The Hoboken City Council advanced a plan on Wednesday to close off part of Sinatra Drive from August 1 through October 15. The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Mike DeFusco and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, would see the roadway between Newark and Fourth streets closed off to traffic and transformed into a pedestrian plaza.

“Hoboken’s waterfront is a destination for hundreds of people each day and it’s critical we do all that we can to create a more pedestrian and businesses friendly atmosphere,” said Councilman Mike DeFusco, when he introduced the measure earlier this month. “We’ve seen cities throughout the country successfully take a similar approach in closing streets and now it’s time for Hoboken to follow suit. Innovative and thoughtful legislation like this has put Hoboken at the forefront of helping small businesses throughout the pandemic and I’m appreciative to Director Sharp for sharing with us his ideas and expertise to push this forward.” 

The section in question runs parallel to the Hoboken Waterfront Walkway, adjacent to Pier A and Pier C parks. The roadway currently provides automobile access and on-street parking for establishments along that corridor. The plan entails relocating on-street parking from the east side to the west side of Sinatra Drive between First Street and Fourth Street, making it possible for those restaurants to expand their outdoor dining space along the curbside in the form of parklets or streateries.

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"As Parking & Transportation Subcommittee Chair, I was happy to work with Director Ryan Sharp and the administration to push forward and co-sponsor Mike DeFusco's idea to make Lower Sinatra pedestrian-only for the rest of summer," said Fisher. "This supports business and addresses safety and nuisance issues in the area."

In addition to the reconfiguration of Sinatra Drive, the Hoboken Business Alliance has announced an expanded "Summer Streets" program that will officially kick-off on Thursday.

“We’re thrilled to extend Summer Streets to provide Hoboken businesses with the opportunity to expand their space outdoors and engage with customers in a safe environment,” says Gregory Dell’Aquila, President of Hoboken Business Alliance. “We received positive feedback from the businesses who participated in our pilot on First Street that the program drove more customers and increased overall sales. These are exactly the kind of results we’re looking for, and we encourage everyone to go show support for the hardworking small business owners that are the heart of Hoboken.”

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said, “I’m thrilled the City Council is supporting the City’s efforts to provide additional outdoor space for residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud that in just a few months, we’ve been able to successfully implement a number of initiatives including open and slow streets, over 50 parklets and streateries, Summer Streets to close streets for dining and shopping, and now our Sinatra Drive ordinance, all of which facilitate safe, socially distant outdoor activities that enhance the quality of life within Hoboken. These programs have also provided a boost to our small businesses, many of whom have been struggling given the limitations indoors. Thank you to Director Ryan Sharp, Kimberli Craft and all City Hall staff, as well as the Council for working together as we continue to adapt to COVID-19.”

The decision came during a special meeting held late Wednesday afternoon, in which the Council also voted to override the Mayor's veto of a bike parking ordinance.

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