HOBOKEN, NJ - Late Wednesday afternoon, Hoboken City Council met for a special meeting to address the Mayor's veto of an ordinance they had previously passed regarding bicycle parking in municipal garages. By a vote of 6-3, the Council opted to override the veto.
The ordinance will create a system to allow residents to store their bicycles for $1 a week for a covered parking space in municipal garages. Originally, Ordinance B-278 passed the Council on July 8 by a vote of 7-2. When Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced his veto of the measure put forth by Councilman Michael DeFusco and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, questions emerged regarding the Mayor's motivation behind the veto, and the process involved in its development.
“As more Hoboken residents begin to rely on bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, it’s important for us to invest in infrastructure that reflects this shift,” DeFusco. “It is only sensible that we begin creating affordable bike storage for cyclists, especially in an urban setting where far too often residents are limited on space. The mayor’s initial veto was nothing more than a ploy to discredit those of us on the City Council who do not always agree with him politically. Politics and good local government should never mesh and unfortunately we have an administration that continues to put politics over policy in effort to divide us. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the Department of Transportation and Parking, my Council colleagues and the administration to make this plan a reality.”
According to the Mayor's initial veto statement, "The Ordinance contains no information on how bicycles would be parked/maintained in 'designated areas' within the municipal garage, what the application process would consist of, how many spots would be available, what enforcement mechanisms would be implemented to ensure that a permit had been obtained and was maintained on a yearly basis, or who would be responsible for running this program both from an oversight perspective and on a day-to-day basis within the garages. Further, it is not clear from within the Ordinance, nor are there any explanatory 'Whereas' clauses, as to how the annual fee was calculated/determined. Therefore, although I am supportive of the idea behind this Ordinance, it is not fully developed in a manner that would allow the proposed program to get off the ground, let alone be successful."
Bhalla's arguments were backed by established political allies, including the president of Bike Hoboken, but in the end the Council voted yet again to move forward with the ordinance.
“I am proud to co-sponsor this piece of legislation to provide a valuable amenity to Hoboken’s bike enthusiasts who are tired of locking their bike outside, carrying it up a flight (or more) of stairs or storing it in their living room,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, Chair of the Parking and Transportation Subcommittee. “This is just a small step, but one of many the Council Parking and Transportation Subcommittee and the administration are considering together to support and expand bike use in Hoboken.”
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