According to a press release from the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB), the fatal Sept. 29, 2016 Hoboken train crash as well as a Jan. 4, 2017 Brooklyn crash were caused by engineer fatigue resulting from undiagnosed severe obstructive sleep apnea.
The NTSB found the two accidents had “almost identical” probable causes and safety issues. The board also determined that these safety issues were not unique to these two properties, but exist throughout the country at many intercity passenger and commuter passenger train terminals.
Last August, the NTSB issued a statement expressing its “disappointment” with the withdrawal of a Notice of Proposed Rule Making by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which would have considered “regulatory action to ensure consistency in addressing the risk of OSA [obstructive sleep apnea] among transportation workers with safety sensitive duties.”
“The traveling public deserves alert operators,” said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt. “That is not too much to ask.”
“When operating a train into a terminating track, the engineer’s actions, or lack thereof, solely determine whether the train stops before the end of the track,” states the release. “According to the FRA there are currently no mechanisms installed in the U.S. that will automatically stop a train at the end of the track if the engineer is incapacitated, inattentive or disengaged. Some railroads have overspeed capabilities, including New Jersey Transit and the LIRR. However, as shown in these two accidents, once the engineer slowed the train to the prescribed speed, the system did not stop the trains before they reached the end of the track.”
The release states that the safety board recommends screening for obstructive sleep apnea,and also recommended the use of technology, such as positive train control, in terminal stations, and improving the effectiveness of system safety program plans to improve terminal operations.
The NTSB made two recommendations to New Jersey Transit, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the parent company of the Long Island Rail Road) and two to the Federal Railroad Administration.
“Today’s new recommendations, if acted upon, have the potential to eliminate end-of-track collisions,” Sumwalt said. “That translates to protection for passengers on trains, and for people standing on terminal platforms.”
The complete accident report will be available in several weeks. The findings, probable cause, safety recommendations, Sumwalt’s prepared remarks, and PowerPoint presentations used in today’s board meeting are all available at URL https://go.usa.gov/xnscj.
The New Jersey Transit Hoboken accident docket, containing more than 1,100 pages of supporting factual material, is available at https://go.usa.gov/xnAGJ.
To read past stories in the Hoboken Reporter, check out hudsonreporter.com
Stranger allegedly slapped woman’s buttocks in early evening in Hoboken
The Hoboken police are asking for help in identifying a stranger accused of repeatedly slapping a woman’s buttocks in downtown Hoboken around dinnertime.
On Monday, Feb. 5, at approximately 6:12 p.m. officers were dispatched to the area of Second and Jackson streets to speak with a victim of a sexual contact.
The victim was making her way to the Sky Club Gym at 125 Marshall St. when she was approached from behind by an unknown man.
The man, whom the victim described as wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and khaki pants, allegedly slapped her on the buttocks area several times and fled the area.
He was last seen by the victim fleeing south on Jackson Street and possibly meeting with another male who was described as wearing a bright red jacket.
Detectives were able to describe the man as wearing dark sneakers with stripes on the side, a hooded jacket with fur on the collar, and wearing glasses. Anyone who may have been in the area during that time is asked to contact Det. Christine Collins with any information.
She can be reached at email@example.com or (201) 420-2113. All information will be kept confidential.
Jersey City and Hoboken may, at long last, link their bike share systems
While Jersey City’s CitiBikebikesharing system allows riders to head into Manhattan and back, Hoboken went a different way three years ago, trying out the new Hudson BikeShare. The city was criticized, because users couldn’t park their bikes in Jersey City or head to Manhattan. And docking stations promised by BikeShare in 2015 in other towns failed to materialize by 2017.
Now other towns in Hudson County such as Bayonne, Weehawken, North Bergen, and Guttenberg have signed up with Hudson BikeShare and Hoboken and Jersey City may work together to link systems.
Hoboken residents got an email last week saying that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla are in discussions regarding the expansion of Hudson BikeShare into Jersey City and CitiBike into Hoboken.
“As neighbors with shared borders, we want to provide our residents and visitors with more choices and access to the benefits of both programs,” said Fulop.
“Expanding our bike share programs will create important links between Hoboken and Jersey City and improve the resiliency of our regional transportation system,” said Bhalla.
The potential expansion may include the addition of three stations in each city. Members of the public are invited to complete an online survey to provide input on possible locations for new bike share stations. The online survey is available at www.hobokennj.gov/bikesharesurvey.
Maxwell’s Tavern announces sendoff shows
Maxwell’s Tavern, Hoboken’s once-iconic rock club and bar, announced last week that it would hold two last shows: an open-mic on Friday, Feb. 9, and “One for the Road,” a free night of local bands on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. The final performance will include Deaf Rhino, One Hundred Thousand (featuring guitarist Alex Goldenthal, the club’s soundman), Waylaid, Chevonne& The Fuzz, the Jaime Rose Band, and the Wailing Denims in the backroom. Roots-reggae act CC Roots will perform in the front room.
The current owners, a business syndicate headed by Pete Carr and Evan Dean, bought Maxwell’s in 2014 hoping to reopen as an artisanal pizzeria, turning the venue’s fabled backroom into a dining room. By 2015, the new owners abandoned the idea and hired local musician and promoter Dave Entwhistle to rebuild the stage and re-engage with the local music community. But the front of the house seemed no different than other Hoboken bars and the restaurant never established a following. And after Entwhistle left his position as booker in mid-2017, the club started relying more on trivia nights and country and blues showcases, leaving fewer spots on the club’s calendar for local music.
The current owners have said the venue is closing. However, this does not mean the club won’t reopen again with new owners.
Free kids’ event at Little City Books
Sunday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m., Little City Books, 100 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, will hold an event for kids ages 3-11. In celebration of Chinese New Year, Vickie Lee will read her story “Ruby’s Chinese New Year.” Come make a paper lantern or a fan and learn about this colorful holiday.
Hudson County CASA seeking volunteers
Learn how to become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer and help foster children find safe and permanent homes. The next information session will be held at Little City Books at 100 Bloomfield St., Hoboken, on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.
Hudson County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) is a non-profit organization committed to advocating for the best interests of abused and neglected children. CASA works through trained community volunteers to ensure that needed services and assistance are made available to children while helping to move them toward safe and permanent homes. Hudson County CASA volunteers are everyday people who make a direct impact in foster children’s lives. They are trusted, dedicated adults who seek to improve children’s well-being. CASA volunteers get to know their assigned child and his or her circumstances and provide valuable information to the court. Judges rely on the volunteers’ recommendations to make the best decisions about the children’s futures.
For further information, visit www.hudsoncountycasa.org.
Survey and public workshop announced for Master Plan Reexamination
The Hoboken Planning Board is currently preparing the 2018 Master Plan Reexamination Report and a new Land Use Plan Element of the Master Plan. The city will host its second public workshop on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wallace Elementary School cafeteria at 1100 Willow Ave.
All residents, businesses, property owners, and other stakeholders are invited to share their ideas about how Hoboken should grow and what assets the city should protect over the next 10 years and beyond.
Members of the community are also invited to share their opinions on key priorities for the city by completing an online survey available at www.hobokennj.gov/masterplansurvey.
A preliminary summary of the survey results will be presented at the workshop.
For more information on the planning process and the preparation of the 2018 Master Plan Reexamination Report and Land Use Plan Element, visit: www.hobokennj.gov/masterplan.
Social program launched for Italian language learners
Just in time for the month of love and friendship, Learn Language Hoboken introduces a new spin on Italian language-learning. “We wanted to offer more events to Hoboken residents to make it easier for them to make friends and meet people while exploring an interest in a new language,” said owner Dana Marchionne.
It was that moment that Marchionne realized her programs had something special and unique and that’s where the idea came to start the Learn Language Mixer.
Students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of Italian language while meeting new people, have fun and who knows, maybe even meet a new special someone. The night will include a mini Italian language lesson, wine, and snacks.
The first event will take place on Friday, Feb. 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Learn Language Hoboken, 450 Seventh St., Lower Level 1. The event costs $39 and tickets can be purchased at www.learnlanguagehoboken.com.
Learn Language Hoboken is a local language school specializing in Italian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin and German. Clients range from young children to adults. Adult Group Classes meet weekly for 10 weeks with the ability to move on to subsequent levels. Private Lessons are also available. LLH also works with local schools to provide After-School Enrichment Programs and can happily cater to any company’s linguistic needs to create custom Corporate Language Lessons.
For more information visit https://www.learnlanguagehoboken.com .
Public meeting for Northwest Resiliency Park announced
The design team for the Northwest Resiliency Park has completed a report summarizing the information gathering and community input phase of the project. The report can be viewed at: www.hobokennj.gov/nwparkreport.
Based on this information, the team is completing two preliminary concepts for the Northwest Resiliency Park.
The concepts will be presented at a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Wallace School cafeteria, 1100 Willow Ave. The entrance to the cafeteria is behind the playground, along Eleventh Street mid-block between Willow Avenue and Clinton Street.
After collecting community feedback on the two preliminary concepts, the team will create a final preferred concept for the park, which will be presented at a subsequent public meeting.
For more information on the Northwest Resiliency Park Design Process, visit www.hobokennj.gov/nwpark.
Supreme Court won’t review Hoboken’s Monarch development
According to reports, the NJ state Supreme Court has denied Hoboken’s petition to review a state appellate decision that the Monarch development was entitled to automatic approval.
The developers, Shipyard Associates, want to build two 11-story buildings near Sinatra Drive and Shipyard Lane, with 70 residential units.
The city says Shipyard Associates wrongfully abandoned a 1997 plan that included building three tennis courts and a tennis pavilion on the North Pier, besides the residential housing.
When it comes to the city’s next steps, spokesman Juan Melli said, “The city is reviewing its options.”
In 2016 former Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Shipyard Associates worked out a settlement. In the agreement, Shipyard would cease to build on the waterfront and would pay the city $500,000 to clean up the land and build a waterfront walkway. In turn, the developers would get to build more densely on residential property they own at 800 Monroe St.
However, in November 2016, the City Council rejected the proposed settlement. At a public hearing, roughly 30 members of the public spoke out against it citing density issues, including parking, traffic, and sewerage.
Councilman Michael DeFusco issued a press release regarding the litigation, stating that he feels the city should work on good-faith negotiations with the developer.
“This outcome is further proof that the Zimmer-Bhalla administration’s ‘sue first, negotiate later’ philosophy leads only to massive costs for taxpayers in legal fees, not to any kind of positive land use outcome,” stated DeFusco in the release. “If your goal is to help out campaign contributors that’s fine, but for the rest of us it’s more clear than ever that the only responsible option in these situations is good faith negotiations with all stakeholders. My City Council colleagues and I are hopeful that Mayor Bhalla will agree to change course and enter into a negotiation with the Monarch developer with a goal of relocating the project without negatively impacting another neighborhood, and stop wasting taxpayer money on hopeless legal boondoggles.”
Food and Shelter Coalition Meeting set for March 13
All interested person are invited to attend a Tuesday, March 13 meeting of the Food and Shelter Coalition to discuss food and shelter concerns and share ideas. The meeting is an opportunity to advocate to state and federal lawmakers to promote responsible public policies to improve quality and access to food for thousands of people. The National Law Center on Homeless and Poverty currently estimates that each year at least 2.5 to 3.5 million Americans sleep in shelters, transitional housing, and public places not meant for human habitation. At least 7.4 million have lost their own homes and are doubled-up with others due to economic necessity.
The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. at Old Bergen Church, 1 Highland Ave., Jersey City (take the elevator and press 1).
For more information contact chairperson La-Trenda Ross at (201) 618-5745 or (201) 420-3000 ext. 2543, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Francis Church Holy Name Society to host awards dinner
St. Francis Church’s Holy Name Society will host its Awards Dinner on Sunday, April 15 at the Hoboken Elks Lodge.
The dinner will honor Mark Aurigemma, Julius Binetti, JosephyCantatore, and Gerardo Irizarry for their dedication to the society, parish, and Hoboken Community,
The dinner is from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and ticket donations are $45.
The dinner will include a buffet, DJ, door prizes, 50/50 raffle and a cash bar.
Hoboken High School meets playwright in honor of Black History Month
Hoboken High School hosted “Fortune” playwright, George Cameron Grant, as its first event to honor Black History Month last Thursday.
The internationally-produced and award-winning playwright spoke to students and answered their questions about the person and true story behind his play, Rose Fortune.
Fortune, was born a slave, and through a 90-year life span, became a symbol of truth, social equality and human spirit.
During the special event celebrating the contributions and achievements of African Americans, students Brandon Lyons and Demeara Davenport from Hoboken High School’s award-winning theatre program presented on stage and read excerpts from the play.
The Hoboken High School Chorus also sang spiritual hymns, including ‘Follow The Drinking Gourd’.
“We are thrilled to host Mr. Grant to Hoboken High School for this year’s first event for Black History Month,” said Hoboken High School Principal Robin Piccapietra. “Rose Fortune’s story is testament to the resilience and the ability of an individual to overcome seemingly impossible odds to achieve success.”
Grant told students that he first felt compelled to write Fortune’s story after coming across her unmarked grave during a midnight grave tour while on vacation in Annapolis Royal, Canada.
“Rose Fortune was an extraordinary courageous woman who refused to accept failure as an option, no as an answer or despair as a destiny,” said Grant.“It is my pleasure to share her remarkable story and celebrate the many achievements of African-Americans, like Rose’s with Hoboken High School students.”
Connors hosts book swap
Connors Elementary School has received more than 500 books for the launch of a free Book Swap program for students.
Due to the efforts of Connors’ school community, the books have been distributed to kindergarten through sixth grade students to help foster the love of reading and is being run by the Connors School sixth grade leadership team.
“We are thrilled that what started as an idea from a 1st Grade Parent has become a permanent fixture,” said Connors Elementary School Principal Dr. Tamika Pollins.“The idea came at a Connors Book Fair after a parent wanted to make sure all Connors students had the opportunity to take a book home. So she spearheaded a drive to get books donated and it has been a great success. We have received a hundreds of books. Our fantastic sixth graders have begun sorting through the books and organizing them for all students who attend our school.”
Teachers are providing opportunities for students to visit the Book Swap and take in books. Students also have the opportunity to visit the book swap during their recess.
Books can be donated for the Book Swap at the Connors Elementary School Reception.
Registration announced for Hoboken community cleanup day
Members of the community are invited to join the Hoboken’s second annual Spring Fling, a community-wide day of service dedicated to cleaning up parks and public spaces. Spring Fling will offer Hoboken residents, businesses, and community groups the opportunity to work together on a “hands-on” high-visibility service project.
More than 500 residents participated on 47 projects at 21 sites in the 2017 Spring Fling.
Community clean-up projects may include removing debris from a park, roadway, walkway, or other public property, planting or landscaping public areas, painting benches or other public amenities, and more.
The event will take place on Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Participants are encouraged to register as teams but may also sign up as individuals. The final day for registration is April 13.
To register and for more information, visit: www.hobokennj.gov/springfling.
A video of highlights from last year’s event can be viewed at: www.facebook.com/Hoboken/videos/1500187666668640/.