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Why do we have so many water main breaks?

Some parts of Hoboken’s water system are more than 100 years old. The majority of the system is nearing the end of its useful life. As cast iron pipes age, they become brittle and are more prone to break from changes in temperature, pressure fluctuations, or vibrations.

Why are the pipes so old?

Through a series of agreements beginning in 1994, the City of Hoboken sold the rights to the water system until 2024. A 30-year revenue stream of approximately $240 million was sold to United Water (now SUEZ) in exchange for $13.2 million dollars in one-time payments. The existing contract requires Suez to make almost no proactive investment in Hoboken’s water infrastructure. In the past two plus decades, only $350,000 per year was invested in the system, and as a result, only 5% of the system has been upgraded.

Drinking Water System

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Drinking Water System

Why do we have so many water main breaks?

Some parts of Hoboken’s water system are more than 100 years old. The majority of the system is nearing the end of its useful life. As cast iron pipes age, they become brittle and are more prone to break from changes in temperature, pressure fluctuations, or vibrations.

Why are the pipes so old?

Through a series of agreements beginning in 1994, the City of Hoboken sold the rights to the water system until 2024. A 30-year revenue stream of approximately $240 million was sold to United Water (now SUEZ) in exchange for $13.2 million dollars in one-time payments. The existing contract requires Suez to make almost no proactive investment in Hoboken’s water infrastructure. In the past two plus decades, only $350,000 per year was invested in the system, and as a result, only 5% of the system has been upgraded.

What is the City of Hoboken doing to fix the problem?

The City is pursuing two parallel strategies to improve the water distribution infrastructure: direct investment and an amended agreement for operations and maintenance of the water system with SUEZ.

Direct Investment

The City is directly financing upgrades to Hoboken’s water system. The City plans to continue investing $5 million per year in upgrades to the drinking water system. This will be in addition to the $7 million water main replacement on Washington Street that is currently underway, $5.2 million already authorized for the first phase of implementation in 2019, and $5 million already authorized for the second phase of implementation in 2020.

Washington Street Redesign

As part of the Washington Street redesign, the City financed a $7 million low-interest loan from the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (NJEIT) to upgrade the water mains along Washington Street. The $7 million water main replacement currently underway on Washington Street will upgrade 3% of the system. For project information and construction updates, visit the Washington Street Project website.

Water System Renewal Program

With support from professional engineering consultants, the City developed a comprehensive water system renewal program to make continued investments in Hoboken’s drinking water infrastructure. The program includes 67 discrete locations for water main replacement to upgrade an additional 20% of the system.

The City Council approved Bond Ordinance 16-449, Z-426 and Bond Ordinance 17-340, Z-497, and the City has applied for a low-interest loan from the NJEIT to fund the first phase of implementation. The first phase includes 1.61 miles of water mains that have been designed and are currently under review by NJEIT. Construction on the first phase should begin in 2019, and construction on the second phase should begin in 2020.

See the map below for the 67 water main replacement locations included in the current water system renewal program.

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Click here to review the Hoboken Water System Renewal Program

Amended Agreement with SUEZ

The City of Hoboken and SUEZ have agreed to a new water service contract that would invest at least $33 million in water infrastructure upgrades through 2034. The amended contract, which is subject to City Council approval, establishes a new public water utility and includes an average of $2.2 million in water investments per year, over six times the amount of the current contract. Additionally, the contract calls for $2 million in smart technology to monitor water consumption, which would save Hoboken ratepayers from paying for costly leaks.

The agreement with the City and SUEZ calls for the establishment of a new water utility.  The revenue from the bulk water consumption would then be placed in the new water utility, and the City would then reinvest the majority of the revenue into water main upgrades. The water system would no longer be operated as a private water concession, but instead as a new public water utility. SUEZ would continue to maintain and operate the water system, however all revenues generated from water bills would be invested by the City as opposed to SUEZ.  

If approved on May 1, the revised contract and City managed public water utility would go into effect on July 1. Instead of the revenue from the system going to SUEZ with only minimal repairs required, it would be directly invested through the City into proactive upgrades.

Renting an Ojo Scooter

P3 Global Management operates Hoboken’s bike share program, JerseyBike. Last year they partnered with Ojo to bring their unique electric scooters to Hoboken. Initially, 50 Ojo scooters will be available for rent across the city. All Ojo scooters must be parked at JerseyBike docking stations.Refer to the Ojo app or information printed on the scooter for docking locations and instructions.

Rental fees: It costs $1.25 to unlock an Ojo scooter plus $0.18/minute during an active rental.

How to rent an Ojo scooter

1.      Download the Ojo app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store

2.      Create an account by scanning your ID and providing payment information

3.      Unlock the Ojo by scanning the scooter’s QR code

4.      Go for a ride!

5.      Park your Ojo at the nearest JerseyBike docking station by pushing the kickstand down and pulling the Ojo scooter backwards

6.      End your ride in the Ojo app

7.      Repeat steps 1-6!

Always ride with safety and courtesy for other street users in mind. This means never riding on the sidewalk or parking your scooter in a place that could obstruct sidewalk space for pedestrians or people with disabilities or pushing strollers. To avoid being charged additional fees, all Ojo scooters must be parked at a JerseyBike docking station. Remember to always obey all traffic signs and regulations!

Follow these tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable Ojo ride.

Additional Rider Tips

·        To stop, squeeze both the right and left brake levers.

·        Always park at a designated JerseyBike docking station.If you park outside of one of the 36 designated stations, you will be charged an additional fee for the recovery of your vehicle. Please review the in-app map for dedicated return locations.

·        The Ojo can travel 50 miles on a full charge. If your battery depletes, park your Ojo in the closest, safest area, free from obstructing any pedestrian or vehicle paths. If the battery reaches 0%, the app will end your ride.

·        If you encounter any mechanical issues, before or during your ride, tap the “!” icon located at the bottom right of the selected Ojo overview screen to report the problem.

Reporting issues or complaints with Ojo scooters or service:

Follow the in-app instructions or call 973-836-9081.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

1.       How long will the e-scooter pilot last?

It will last six months, approximately from May 20 – November 20, 2019

2.       What will happen after the e-scooter pilot?

The City of Hoboken will conduct a survey of riders and review usage data to develop a report and make recommendations for future e-scooter share programs.

3.       Are e-scooters safe?

Yes! Recent studies conducted in Portland, OR and Austin, TX concluded that e-scooters are the cause of no more injuries than bicycles and that a significant share of e-scooter related injuries could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. E-scooters weigh about as much as bike share bicycles and travel at similar speeds as human-powered bicycles.  

4.       Can I ride on the sidewalk?

No, e-scooters must be ridden in the street only.

5.       Should I wear a helmet?

Absolutely.

6.       How much does an e-scooter cost to rent?

As of May 2019, Lime scooters cost $1 to unlock and $0.15 per minute to ride. As of May 2019, Ojo scooters cost $1.25 to unlock and $0.18 per minute to ride. Refer to the Lime and Ojo apps for the current pricing.

7.       Are there discounts for users receiving financial assistance?

Lime offers a 50% discount for anyone that qualifies for any state- or federally-run assistance program through its Lime Access program. Apply online at li.me/community-impact.

8.       Are there e-scooter speed limits in Hoboken?

Yes, e-scooters are prohibited from operating faster than 18 MPH in Hoboken.

9.   Are e-scooter rentals available 24/7?

No, currently e-scooters are only available for rental between 5 AM and 10 PM in Hoboken.

10.   Is there an age limit to ride an e-scooter?

Anyone 18 or older can ride an e-scooter in Hoboken.

11.   Where can I park an e-scooter?

E-scooters can be parked at any bike rack, in designated parking areas if available, or in the furnishing zone of the sidewalk next to the curb. See the image above for more guidance.

12.   How can I report e-scooter issues or concerns?

Use Hoboken’s 311 to report issues or concerns with scooters that don’t belong to Lime or Ojo. For reporting issues or concerns with scooters that belong to Lime, follow the in-app instructions or call or text 1-888-LIME-345 or email support@limebike.com.  For reporting issues or concerns with scooters that belong to Ojo, follow the in-app instructions or call 973-836-9081.

13.   Can I bring e-scooters on transit vehicles?

E-scooters are currently prohibited from transit vehicles in Hoboken. Refer to NJ Transit, PATH, NY Waterways for specific restrictions on their vehicles and in stations.

14.      Can I purchase my own electric-scooter?

Yes, you can purchase and operate your own e-scooter in Hoboken if it meets the legal requirements outlined in New Jersey state law.

knowledge base: faqs



Does the Shade Tree Commission have a list of trees that they recommend for planting? View the approved list of tree species.

Who should trim the tree in front of my house? Please contact David Calamoneri.

I know of a tree that I believe is dying or is dangerous, who should I contact? Please contact David Calamoneri.

How do I become a volunteer for the Shade Tree Commission? Please contact Peter Bakarich III.

How do I apply to be a commissioner on the Shade Tree Commission? Submit an application for appointment to citizen advisory boards and commissions.

When does the Hoboken Shade Tree commission meet? Click here to view the meeting dates for 2015.

What are the benefits and reasons for planting trees in Hoboken? Read about 13 Reasons to plant trees.

How can I find out info on the tree(s) on my Street? View the Hoboken Tree Inventory.

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