Members of our group, along with many other Hoboken residents and stakeholders, have attended the public sessions about the barriers needed to protect our City from flooding. We are very concerned about the latest development concerning the southern barrier. We have shared these concerns with Governor Murphy, team leaders at NJDEP, Mayor Bhalla and members of Hoboken City Council. The NJDEP is at a critical juncture — deciding between two alternative locations for the southern barrier wall in the Rebuild by Design plan. Option 1 is to locate the barrier south of the approved Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan. Locating the barrier at this location, which is on lands owned by NJ Transit, would protect this future development from flooding and storm surges.
Option 2 is along Observer Highway and would not protect this redevelopment project from future flooding and storm surges. We are concerned that the DEP may favor Option 2 for expediency and that they will be making their final decision in the coming weeks. We believe that would be short-sighted for several reasons: When the future redevelopment project is built, another costly wall will be needed to protect those residents and businesses from potential flooding.1. - Option 2 is more expensive than Option 1 by at least $14MM. 2.- Option 2 puts a visual barrier of up to 11 feet directly across from established Hoboken neighborhoods and historical buildings.3.- Option 2 isolates the approved redevelopment from the rest of Hoboken by blocking the planned through streets and crosswalks.
As both our Mayor and City Council have pointed out, Option 2 ignores the nine years that went into finalizing the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan. This project, as the Mayor has pointed out, would benefit the State of New Jersey in the form of job creation (e.g., construction and business development) and taxes (e.g., from the new commercial and residential properties). To ignore the amount of thought, time and money that has already been put into the Hoboken Yards Redevelopment Plan is inexplicable.
Please join us in urging state officials and the NJDEP to choose Option 1. This is the only option that would guarantee protecting the planned Hoboken Yards Redevelopment area.