A Thing of Beauty
In an effort to be pedestrian friendly, the City of Hoboken succeeded in
opting out of New Jersey's "Residential Site Improvement Standards,"
which mandate the parking lots and garages that invite autos into city
centers. The Hudson River-side town's unique and historic character are
preserved by the availability of mass transit, and sound planning by Hoboken
Mayor Russo, who wants stringent controls on future parking space creation.
The city received an exemption along with Harding and Long Branch.
Election Year Bonus Points
Governor Pataki and Amtrak announced a joint investment of $185 million in
Amtrak's Empire Corridor over the next five years. The funds will improve
infrastructure and passenger service between New York City, Buffalo, Syracuse
and Albany with high speed trains. The program will also address immediate
needs like construction of a second track between Albany and Schenectady,
upgrading a Hudson river rail bridge, improving curved track sections and
maintenance facilities. The state's contribution to the project is supported
by Federal TEA-21 allocations.
Also announced by Governor Pataki, the Port Authority will spend $23 million
on Staten Island's Howland Hook Container Terminal, which now handles 10% of
the NY/NJ port's container traffic. Some 65% of the funds will go across the
river for a freight rail connection in Union County, NJ that would give
Howland Hook cargo access to the North-South Chemical Coast Line.
Just Drop It
After three years of ardent local opposition, the Port Authority is still
pushing its plan to build a new twin highway bridge alongside the Goethals
Bridge between Elizabeth, NJ and Staten Island. Estimates show the new span
would draw additional traffic onto I-278 and further clog the S.I. Expressway.
Area environmentalists also oppose the project in the interest of protecting
the Pine Oak Woods and Arthur Kill habitats.
Stop the Madness
In light of a documented rise in cab-caused crashes involving cars,
pedestrians and cyclists alike, two large cab fleet owners have proposed
returning 125 taxis to the old driver commission system. It would be part of a
two-year study to see how to best mitigate intense pressure on drivers who
now, because they lease their taxis, often speed and drive recklessly to
collect as many fares as possible in a single shift to cover initial costs.
The NY Post wrote recently that "the leasing system makes driving a taxi
the urban version of sharecropping. The driver bears all the risks of the
industry - whether they come in the form of a bad day, bad weather or a
massive traffic jam."
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Pave the Forest to See the
"The roads to the open spaces we save, and the infrastructure that must
be put in place to support the natural resources are just as critical as the
open space itself," said Governor Whitman in a speech to the State
Building and Construction Trades Council. Apparently, she is having a tough
time balancing promotion of construction jobs and preservation of open space.
Her administration is still backing the development of another highway in NJ:
Route 92, through some of the state's last rural towns, open space and
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