Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla and the City of Hoboken today announced the City was awarded over $1.3 million in grant funding by the NJ Department of Transportation (NJDOT) to construct Vision Zero safety improvements to Willow Avenue, through a partnership with Hudson County.
The funding will be used to upgrade Willow Avenue from 11th Street to 16th Street, which is a key action item of the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan as the corridor is part of the City’s High Crash Network. According to the crash analysis in the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan, 10 street segments, including Willow Avenue from 14th Street to the Hoboken/Weehawken border, accounted for 40 percent of all injuries and deaths during 2014 through 2018. Between 2019 and 2021, 31-injury causing crashes occurred on the corridor, resulting in seven pedestrian and four bicyclist injuries.
The City and County will launch a public planning process to solicit community feedback on proposed improvements to the corridor, which will focus on making the area safer for all modes of transportation. Potential improvements include the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) proven safety countermeasures such as crosswalk visibility enhancements, pedestrian refuge islands and curb extensions to reduce pedestrian crossing distances, bicycle lanes, leading pedestrian intervals, and other traffic calming improvements.
“Constructing improvements to the City’s Willow Avenue gateway is critical to protecting vulnerable pedestrians, including our senior citizens at Fox Hill, children and families enjoying recreation at 1600 Park, and young students at Wallace Elementary School,” said Mayor Bhalla. “I look forward to working with the community to ensure this highly trafficked corridor is safer for all modes of transportation. Thank you to NJDOT and NJTPA for funding this crucial project and to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Commissioner Anthony Romano for partnering with my administration to ensure these much-needed improvements are made.”
“The TAP funding awarded for this project will help us further the partnership between the City and County to create a safer Hoboken,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise. “With the remarkable growth of uptown Hoboken, the need to do so has never been more pressing.”
"I look forward to working with Hoboken in the implementation of the Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program funding for Willow Avenue Vision Zero improvements,” said Hudson County Commissioner Anthony Romano. “This collaboration reaffirms the NJDOT's commitment to communities and to the safety of pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.”
The Vision Zero improvements also aim to make it easier for residents to access mass transit options, as one in three Hoboken households do not own a car and more than 75 percent of residents access work without a vehicle.
The upgrades will help the City achieve its Vision Zero goal of eliminating all traffic deaths and injuries by 2030 as well as the City’s Climate Action Plan to be carbon neutral by 2050, as the proposed upgrades aim to incentivize walking, bicycling, mass transit, and reduce automobile dependency. Future redevelopment planned along this corridor, which includes new parks, commercial spaces, and residential units, will benefit from the safety improvements funded by this grant.
“I am pleased Mayor Bhalla secured important grant funding to make Willow Avenue safer uptown,” said 5th Ward Councilman Phil Cohen. “These intersections, especially near Trader Joe’s and Walgreens, are among those about which I hear regular constituent concerns. As we move towards creating new neighborhoods for 15th and 16th Streets ‘west of Willow’, this funding comes at a critical time. I look forward to a robust public planning process to implement these critical Vision Zero upgrades.”
“As the Chair of the Council’s Transportation and Parking Subcommittee, I am thrilled the City will be working with the County to make vital safety improvements to Willow Avenue, made possible through the generous grant funding we have secured,” said 4th Ward Councilman Ruben Ramos. “Our community's wellbeing and the protection of our residents have always been our top priority. These enhancements signify a significant milestone in our ongoing commitment to fostering a safer and more accessible environment for all who use this thoroughfare.”
The $1.39 million award marks the fourth grant the City has received through the last six highly competitive TAP funding cycles. The funding was allocated for Hoboken and Hudson County by the NJDOT’s Transportation Alternatives Set Aside Program (TAP).
For more information on the City’s Vision Zero initiative and Vision Zero Action Plan, go to www.vzhoboken.com/.
For more information on the City’s Climate Action Plan, go to www.hobokennj.gov/resources/greenhouse-gas-emissions-inventory-and-climate-action-plan.