FBW | January 24, 2023
On December 21, 2022, the Hoboken City Council approved a redevelopment agreement for 930 Monroe Street, a wall of residential buildings that will stretch from the 900 block of Monroe up to Twelfth Street. A public pathway and bicycle route will run behind the 11-story buildings adjacent to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail tracks and the Palisades cliffs. This pathway is intended to be part of a “green circuit” circling the perimeter of Hoboken.
Along the waterfront, this green circuit is a clearly defined public space and the rows of shade trees make it exceptionally green. With the completion of a park at Union Dry Dock, the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway will be fully connected in Hoboken from the Hoboken Terminal up to the Weehawken border. This year, the Sinatra Drive Project will complete a two-way, twelve-foot wide protected bicycle pathway for the full mile along the waterfront from Newark Street up to Tenth Street and further extend the rows of shade trees along Sinatra Drive.
In contrast, the green circuit on the west side of town can be difficult to locate and traverse, and does not live up to its “green” moniker, despite the fact that it was conceived as part of the City’s Master Plan some twenty years ago. Major development projects have been completed at 600 Jackson, 700 Monroe and 800 Jackson without a clearly identified pathway for the green circuit. For the six blocks from Ninth Street up to Fourteenth, the green circuit is slated to run behind the new buildings to be built along the light rail tracks.
The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway has faced comparable issues. Since most of New Jersey’s Hudson River municipalities failed to extend the public street grid to the waterfront, the walkway runs behind private developments, abutting backyards. This has created a conflict between the public seeking to use the walkway and property owners whose backyards are typically private. Since the 1980s, New Jersey’s Coastal Zone Management regulations require developers to preserve 30 feet at the water’s edge as a public walk and grant a public easement to the NJDEP.