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Hoboken: Where Safe Intersections Matter More Than a Few Parking Spots

Last week, I happened to be on the other side of the Hudson, cruising the New Jersey waterfront on a Citi Bike, going up from Jersey City to Hoboken and Weehawken, then back.

On the return leg of my trip, I just couldn't believe how comfortable the streets of Hoboken felt as I was biking and walking. One thing stuck out to me: Nearly every intersection has "daylighting," meaning the space approaching the crosswalks is kept clear of cars, so everyone at intersections is more visible to each other. At several intersections in Hoboken, every corner is daylit.

I didn't plan to make a video about daylighting in Hoboken or schedule interviews with city officials. But I had my camera, thinking I could get some nice NYC skyline shots (nope, overcast), and I'm glad I did. I started taping and put together these observations, which I think will be valuable in New York and elsewhere.

Daylighting is a strategy that advocates are well aware of, but city governments hesitate to do it if it means repurposing parking spaces. Even in New York, where most people don't own cars, at a typical intersection drivers are allowed to park right up to the crosswalk, limiting visibility to the detriment of public safety.

Hoboken is showing what a city can do when it prizes safety for everyone above free car storage for a few. It should be the default practice everywhere.

For bonus footage from Hoboken, check out the awesome Observer Highway protected bike lane -- one of the best green lanes I've seen in an American city!

Clarence Eckerson Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • snobum

    I lived in Hoboken in 2005-2006 (with a car no less). If I recall correctly, NJ law actually prohibited parking within 25' of a crosswalk. Unofficially, I believe Hoboken gave people a break and allowed parking beyond 15'. It was still way better walking around than it was in the city.

    It seems like the law has changed slightly and Hoboken adopted the updated regulations (http://hobokennj.gov/departments/transportation-parking/extended-parking-zones/ ). Seems like they are much better about blocking out the prohibited zones than they used to be.

    All cities, but NYC in particular, needs something like this at all intersections.

  • Nathan C Rhodes

    Definitely need more of those flexi posts! I live at 10th and Park in Hoboken and bike to Journal Square in Jersey City to work every day, and at least on my rush hour commute to and from work most of the those spots are parked in with little to no enforcement, and every day on my ride back I see 4 or 5 cars parked in a row in the bike lane on Adams Street, with a police vehicle often being one of those.

    I'm curious what time and day you were there because I too frequently find myself muttering under my breath that paint is not infrastructure and that they need to install real infrastructure to prevent people from parking in those striped spots.

    Hoboken is a beautiful, dense town with great access to NYC. I'm always shocked by the aggressive drivers. Hopefully the new mayor will make good on these new strategies and start reducing on-street parking for residents ($17 a year gets you free parking on the street) in a city where less than half drive every day.