Wow, I did not think it could get worse but I did not anticipate what is appearing on our main street. I have followed the Washington Street Redesign since it first was discussed in 2013. I had serious problems with the final plan since I believe the past mayor and council did not properly anticipate how some aspects of the plan would be inappropriate for our little Hoboken. They were sold upon it being a ‘Smart Street’ design (hype is everything these days), and passed it in 2016. This February marks one year in which Washington Street has been torn open digging holes to replace water pipes, change pipe connectors, repair broken pipes, and regularly pouring concrete to redo areas that have drainage problems because they put in those darn curb extensions which have been problematic due to our topography and clutter of junk that has been left underground through the decades.
Speaking of clutter, have you noticed the sea of large black poles and signs that are appearing everywhere at the intersections downtown? The new traffic poles are enormous and unlike the older smaller, silver ones, stand out like sore thumbs. Everything is going to be big and black –not an aesthetically correct color choice since silver-colored poles blend into the lightness of the blue skies above and they disappear. One can’t help but notice these large black poles since some are sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk at corners! I watch people go around them and the ‘Walk, Don’t Walk’ signs and the ‘One Way’ signs and large black junction boxes which will be at every intersection. I am fearful of what this jungle of metal poles will look like uptown where the sidewalks are narrower and more residential. It is horrifying to be condemned to the ugly pole excess dominating our walking and shopping experience on Washington Street. The chance of graffiti appearing upon the large junction boxes and bases of traffic light poles seems inevitable.
I noticed that the curb extension on the southwest side of the 7th Street intersection still has problems with water sitting in the curve of the curb extension. Due to cold temperatures ice sat there even though they previously dug it up to try and stop the rainwater from collecting on that sidewalk during a heavy rain. The 4th Street intersection has had open pits since October and the concrete was finally poured last week. I asked a worker what was wrong with that area and he said by adding a curb extension, there were numerous problems trying to level the sidewalk to drain the rainwater correctly and avoid flooding of puddles.
Feng Shui is a system of laws that govern how spatial arrangement and orientation relate to the flow of energy (qi). Our poor Washington Street will be an example of bad Feng Shui resulting in an unfavorable effect. I currently feel my energy being blocked by this unsightly mess!