The perimeter of Hoboken, including its waterfront, has been dubbed a “green circuit.” Yet, preliminary plans unveiled last May by the City for the Sinatra Drive Project bordering the Hudson River, lacked a plan for street trees. In response, the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) hired the Princeton, New Jersey landscape architecture and urban design firm, Arnold Associates, to develop a landscape plan for Sinatra Drive.
After securing two New Jersey Department of Transportation grants last year totalling $1.2 million, the City of Hoboken awarded a contract to the engineering firm Kimley-Horn to design and oversee the reconstruction of Sinatra Drive. The grants provide for a protected bicycle pathway along the ¾ mile of roadway from Fourth Street up to Hudson near Eleventh.
In July, Stephen Lederach of Arnold Associates presented FBW’s street tree plan to City officials. The plan includes a row of shade trees lining Sinatra Drive spaced about every 24 feet that will eventually form a canopy covering the sidewalk and bike path. Mr. Lederach stressed the need to provide the proper volume of soil to support and nourish the trees, allowing them to thrive in the years ahead.
Currently, Sinatra Drive is a barren landscape with few trees north of Sinatra Park around Castle Point on the river-side of the street, providing no relief for pedestrians during the dog days of summer. The overly-wide traffic lanes on Sinatra Drive encourage speeding and unsafe conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.
The Sinatra Drive Project will narrow the traffic lanes to 11 feet each way. The two-way bicycle pathway will be the NACTO-recommended 12 feet wide with a median separating the cyclists from the roadway. The sidewalk on the river-side of Sinatra Drive will be up to 10 feet across.
At Union Dry Dock, FBW proposes a row of trees to be planted along the sidewalk with soil beneath extending 9 ½ feet from the curb to the eastern edge of the sidewalk to a depth of 3 feet. A 3 foot wide row of granite cobblestones would provide a permeable surface for the trees. (See first image above.) North of Sinatra Park, FBW proposes a landscaped swath east of the sidewalk with another row of shade trees. (See second image above.) An added design feature would be the addition of granite cobblestones in the median separating the bike path from the roadway.