A better way to get the streets clean
Jun 30, 2013 | 3057 views | 1 1 comments | 52 52 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor: The following is an open letter to the residents of Hoboken:

Dear residents of Hoboken:

What is the purpose of the street cleaners in Hoboken? What is the end result we want to achieve? And are we achieving that goal?

If the goal is to leave the streets looking pristine, we are not achieving that goal. Every week, the street sweeper machines drive up and down our roads and leave a trail of debris in their wake. Along the way, they leave a $45 ticket on every car that was mistakenly left in place, or frankly had no where else to park.

I am not suggesting we put an end to street cleaning, it's rules, regulations, and associated fines. I am suggesting we take a holistic, cost saving approach to solving some of Hoboken's issues, in this case keeping our streets clean while alleviating flooding. The answer is porous road pavement. Our current roads are paved and repaved on a regular basis using impervious (aka non-porous) asphalt, which forces storm water to run off the roads into our overburdened sewer system. By replacing impervious asphalt with pervious asphalt or concrete, the storm water will percolate into the soil below, and take the burden off the 100 plus year old sewers and our sewage treatment plants. We have approximately 1.2 square miles of land surface in Hoboken, of which approximately 0.2 square miles is road surface. Porous pavement would absorb 17 percent of the water falling on Hoboken during all storm events. We would avoid using the porous material where the water table may be too close to the surface to prevent seepage from below.

In order to maintain this new porous material, we will need to outfit or replace our current street sweepers with vacuums and air compressors to keep the porous asphalt clear of dust, dirt, and debris, so water can flow through the road surface. Combining the dual roles of street cleaning and alleviating flooding is a cost effective approach to improving our quality of life. For a model, we can look to the Meadowlands area, where many pervious pavement surfaces have been installed, all meeting the NJDEP's Best Management Practices for stormwater management quality and quantity regulations. The installation cost for pervious asphalt is between $6 and $10/square foot, versus typical paving, which would be about $5/sf, or $150,000 per block instead of $75,000. The extra cost comes from subgrade material, the underlying stone bed under the pavement, as opposed to typical dense graded aggregate, but in the long run, we will reduce the impact on our city budget of cleaning up after frequent storm-water floods.

For more information, please contact us at cgh@qlchoboken.org or visit us on fcebook:www.facebook.com/GreenHoboken

Thank you,
Tom Chartier, PE, LEED AP
Co-Chairman, QLC's Committee for a Green Hoboken
Chairman, Hoboken Chamber of Commerce's Urban Planning & Sustainability Council
Brad Miller, PE, PP, LEED AP BD+C
Co-Chairman, QLC's Committee for a Green Hoboken

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July 08, 2013
It makes perfect sense to change the street cleaning system; having been a Hoboken Resident for decades, and seeing it flourish to the Beauty that it's become, the deserving change is necessary, and economical. I'm with all things Green! I believe better care is the least we can do, after years of seeing how run down Hoboken used to be, I'm proud of all the changes and building up that's taken place. And I have to give a shout out to Mayor Dawn Zimmer; "Many KNOW You're doing a GREAT JOB of HOBOKEN!"