HOBOKEN, NJ - In an effort to create more space for outdoor retail and hospitality amid COVID-19 restrictions, the Hoboken City Council advanced a plan to close a section 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. “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.
“As we enter into the summer months, residents and visitors alike are eager to get outside and we are seeing increasing crowds coming to enjoy Hoboken’s amazing waterfront,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “Working together, our goal was to repurpose the southern part of Sinatra Drive to reduce recently increased congestion and noise, but doing so in a way that supports the neighboring restaurants and small businesses all while making it a safe place for people to enjoy our waterfront. This simple piece of legislation accomplishes all three.”
According to Gregory Dell'Aquila, of the Hoboken Business Alliance, "We are trying to operate our businesses in very uncertain times. These types of actions by our govt will support small businesses by keeping them afloat until we slowly fully reopen."
Hoboken was among the first in the nation to close its retail and hospitality venues in the face of the COVID-19 threat. After staying closed for several months, they're looking at every opportunity to breathe any sort of life back into their businesses.
"These actions are exactly what we need to see, as they give the business community hope and fortitude," says Dell'Aquila.
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