HOBOKEN - The City of Hoboken continues its trial run of opening streets to bikes and pedestrians, as it will close several blocks to traffic on Sunday.
"To help with additional space for social distancing, glad to announce we are continuing with our 'open streets' this Sunday (8 am - 8 pm) on Park Ave (btw 5th and 11th), and on 10th Street (btw Garden and Grand)," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla, "creating a connection between Church Square Park and Columbus Park."
Of the 2,280 people who filled out the City’s open street survey, 88% want “open streets” to continue during the COVID-19 pandemic, while 74% want open streets to continue when COVID-19 is no longer a factor. Meanwhile, 84% indicated that they were in favor of seeing Washington Street to operate as an open street—even if it meant a temporary loss in parking.
Respondents represent roughly 4% of Hoboken's estimated 55,000 residents.
Amid the height of the COVID-19 public health emergency, local officials weathered a steady stream of criticism on social media for their unwillingness to open spaces for travel and/or recreation. At the time, authorities maintained that the public health risk and logistical concerns for the safety of frontline personnel superseded the squeaky wheels clamoring for more space. With COVID-19 cases currently trending in the right direction, those same authorities are now willing to make conditional accommodations.
"Minimal complaints and logistical issues, excellent social distancing and mask wearing—having streets closed to vehicular traffic deeper into the city makes this program a positive one for residents," said Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante earlier this month. "If we did this on Sinatra Drive, it would have been a huge welcome mat for out-of-towners, and with our COVID numbers drastically better than surrounding cities, I believe that could have presented a negative issue for us."
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