Fourteen years ago, Hoboken committed to working to build a connected waterfront walkway along the Hudson River. Though considerable progress has been made in the past decade, the city is now facing a considerable roadblock in the next phase of this development project. Over the past few months, the city of Hoboken has been disputing with NJ Transit over the best use of the Union Dry Dock located on the northern river bank of the city. NJ Transit argues that it should be able to purchase the dock from New York Waterway in order to relocate its old maintenance facility from Weehawken.
Hoboken wants to buy the land in order to complete its waterfront walkway as part of an open space program vital to the city’s master development plan. With a reasonable financial offer to New York Waterway and compliance with suspending it eminent domain effort, Hoboken should be able to buy the land and complete its vision for a greener city. For the good of all Hoboken’s residents and visitors, NJ Transit should back down in the fight over the Union Dry Dock and allow Hoboken to buy the land to complete its riverside park master plan. In this time of political turmoil and short-sighted policy making,
Hoboken should be encouraged to continue to work toward its local environmental goals and improve its outdoor public space. If NJ transit were to acquire the Union Dry Dock, those efforts would not only be thwarted, but Hoboken residents would unnecessarily be subject to increased noise pollution and lower air quality from the increased presence of ferries and the emissions they discharge, as well as the chemicals used as part of the maintenance process. Conversely, if the city were able to develop the land into a greenscape walkway, it could use the space to implement infrastructure that would do the opposite: improve air quality by planting more greenery, increase foot traffic and recreational use of the area, and even provide a natural buffer for stormwater.
Growing up in Hoboken over the past 19 years, I have been a fortunate beneficiary of the beautiful riverside walkways and parks for most of my life. Spending time outside in such a wonderful parkscape helped spark my desire to study environmental issues. I am determined to see that the park project be able to continue with its original plan of purchasing of the Union Dry Dock. I would be disappointed if the city’s efforts did not gain sufficient support from Governor Phil Murphy. Beyond just spending my great deal of my childhood at Hoboken’s riverside parks, I have grown up with the knowledge that our country has done little in the fight against climate change. Choosing to increase greenscape over industrial use of lands is not only laudable, but sends an impactful message about Hoboken’s priorities. Clearly, Hoboken should be able to buy the Union Dry Dock, and everyone with a stake in the issue, regardless of political affiliation, should support the decision.