On Sunday, May 5, Hoboken sponsored the annual Festival of the Arts. This event is always worthwhile and well attended and this year's was no different. The Festival of the Arts is an ideal way for Hoboken to present all it has to offer to residents and visitors outside the community. However, it is beyond my understanding why the festival must be centered on Washington Street and therefore creates the need for the street to be closed to both traffic and parking. Hoboken has a beautiful, public and well-developed waterfront with more than enough space to entirely accommmodate a community celebration such as this. The Festival would be more enjoyable for everyone if there was normal traffic flow onWashington Street. For a town with limited access roads, blocking off a main thoroughfare is a tremendous inconvenience for both residents and visitors. This blockage causes heavier traffic down the smaller residential one-way streets parallel to Washington Street, which simply do not have the capacity for it. A bus or large truck barreling down narrow and 'traffic-lightless' Bloomfield Street is a potential tragedy, and it is irresponsible of the city for allowing this to continue.
Also, taking away six blocks of Washington Street parking is illogical in a town with woefully inadquate parking for visitors and residents. Perhaps having the Festival on Washington Street was intended to help the businesses on Washington Street. I feel such businesses would still benefit a great deal from the increased visitor population in town. They might do even better without competing with a sausage stand, a frozen lemonade station or a vendor selling nick-knacks directly in front of them. There is historical president for having events such as this on the waterfront.
Several years ago, Hoboken sponsored the River City fair, which was located on a condemnable waterfront pier that eventually became the delightful Sinatra Park. This fair took place when Hoboken's waterfront was a rusting industrial eyesore decaying into the Hudson and it raised the communities consciousness to the potential of having a publicly accessible waterfront. It is ironic that several years later such a waterfront is a reality, and it is not fully utilized by events such as the Festival. The community should take advantage of this by staging large events like the Festival on it and not clog the artery of Washington Street.