In 1990, FBW proposed a contiguous, public waterfront park for Hoboken’s mile and a half of riverfront, and hundreds of citizens and civic leaders have been publicly working toward that goal ever since. Today, after tens of millions of dollars in public and private investment, this waterfront park has been largely built with new residential and commercial development on upland blocks. Hoboken’s riverfront, once lined with maritime industries, has been transformed. Putting the ferry depot in the middle of the much beloved waterfront park would upend decades of progress.
2017 SCHEME BY NJ TRANSIT & NY WATERWAY
In 2017, without consulting with Hoboken’s elected officials or its residents, NJ Transit and the privately-operated NY Waterway devised plans to acquire Union Dry Dock for a diesel ferry maintenance and refueling depot. In November 2017, NY Waterway stunned Hoboken with the news that it had purchased this site for $11.5 million.
GOV. MURPHY’S POSITION
In early 2018, NY Waterway and its lobbyists applied intense pressure on the newly elected Gov. Murphy to purchase the Union Dry Dock property. By April, Murphy caved to this pressure and NJ Transit announced it would acquire the land. Hoboken and its elected officials protested vociferously. In response, the governor promised a study for siting the ferry facility. Since then, Gov. Murphy has made no public statement about this issue.
- On March 9, 2019, nearly 500 people marched up Hoboken’s waterfront to protest the ferry depot proposal.
- In May of 2018, over 400 people showed up for a public hearing to oppose the NY Waterway application for an ACOE permit.
- Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, the entire Hoboken City Council, State Senators Brain Stack & Nicholas Sacco, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop are unanimously opposed to siting the facility at Union Dry Dock.
- In addition, the Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse, Resilience Paddle Sports, the Hudson River Fishermen Association, Bike Hoboken, the Ke Aloha Outrigger Canoe Club, the Friends of Liberty State Park, NJ Sierra Club, the Climate Mobilization and the Fund for a Better Waterfront are opposed.
MANY PREFERRED ALTERNATIVES EXIST
In 2009, NJ Transit completed a rigorous study entitled Ferry Berthing and Maintenance Facility – Alternative Site Analysis identifying five sites as more suitable than Union Dry Dock including two in Weehawken, one in Jersey City and another in Bayonne. Last November, the City of Hoboken released a study that came to a similar conclusion. Both studies identify the Hoboken Terminal as the optimal choice. NJ Transit owns the 80-acre Hoboken Terminal site, a major multi-modal transportation hub, thus saving the $12 million required to acquire Union Dry Dock.
THE HOBOKEN COVE, AN UNIQUE ECOLOGICAL & RECREATIONAL RESOURCE
Abutting the Union Dry Dock property is the only natural sand beach along the Hudson River south of George Washington Bridge. Over 6,000 kayakers launch from this spot each year. The Hoboken Cove is also an ecologically sensitive, intertidal zone where horseshoe crabs lay their eggs, diamondback terrapins can be found and scores of migratory fish have been identified. Directly to the south is a very popular skateboard park, one of the few in the region and a public fishing pier.