Happy New Year! I wish you and your family and friends
all the very best in 2011.
Thanks for the many compliments on my last update, and my apologies
if some of you felt overloaded by all the information that I packed into it.
Next year, I’ll try to do more updates so I can keep them briefer.
I was surprised that some folks complimented “the writing of the person
that wrote the update….” Just so you all know, that writer is me, often
at 4:30 in the morning, and I take full responsibility for the content of
Learning from the Blizzard
First, in case you missed my official statement from City Hall, I want to
make sure that everyone knows that our City workers including
Environmental Services, the Police and Fire Dept., the Parking Utility and
Emergency Management, have been working extremely hard under very
difficult circumstances to clean up our city, and they are continuing to
work through the nights to improve the cleanup of our city streets.
Yes, I recognize that there are definitely things that went right and things
that went wrong. As with everything I do, I always believe that things
can be done better with reflection and evaluation, and that’s what my
Administration is doing with this storm.
I welcome your suggestions and any information you may have that
can help me to fully evaluate all that happened during this storm so
that my Administration can serve Hoboken residents much better the
next time around.
While there are many people working hard, there are unfortunately people
out there that will do anything they can to undermine my Administration
for political reasons. My job, no matter the challenges, is to plow ahead
through all the “naysayers” and stay focused on the job at hand.
The reality is that this was one of the worst storms in the history of Hoboken.
The bigger the storm the bigger the task of digging out and those who say
that Hoboken has experienced many such storms in the past are wrong.
There have only been two larger snow storms in the last 100 years, so this
was truly a “big one” that needs a name…As you all know, our wonderful
urban environment is exactly that – a small space with essentially no room
for two feet of snow.
Our biggest snow challenges:
Where do we put all this snow? With all the packed cars, and parking such a
challenge, how do I convince an entire town to move their cars off the street
and enable us to fully clean up? And how do I prevent people from trying to
move their cars in the middle of a storm, and then leaving them abandoned
when they figure out their mistake in trying to drive? (I am not making
excuses, but it is important for you to know that all of the abandoned cars
in the middle of the streets throughout our City made the clean up
excruciatingly difficult for our City employees. Next time we will be much
more prepared for dealing with the abundance of abandoned cars that
resulted from this storm).
During the storm we had to bring in a towing company with larger equipment
that could remove the cars in such high levels of snow. I am currently
working on negotiating a new emergency contract that can boost our existing
outsourcing. In addition, we are re-evaluating the best locations to dump snow.
(FYI – it is illegal to dump snow into the Hudson, and the issue presents
challenges to negotiating with private property owners for dumping snow on undeveloped property).
To Tow or Not to Tow — That is the Question:
With each storm, I have tried to be sensitive to the challenges of finding
parking and refrain from towing if at all possible. We always run license
plates and call car owners before we tow. All of this takes a great deal of
manpower and time.
Going forward, I believe I’ve got to be stricter with towing. As I reflect on
this storm, my Administration waited too long to begin the towing, and we
ended up with emergency routes that were not cleared quickly enough and
could not be navigated by our emergency vehicles. While I feel for those
that may be towed, it is my job to look out for the welfare of everyone in
Hoboken. I want to keep everyone safe, and if we have a situation that
prevents a fire truck from getting to a fire, or an ambulance from reaching
the hospital, then I will have failed in my job to protect all Hoboken residents.
(For safety reasons Chief Blohm, Chief Falco and I decided yesterday that it
was necessary to tow on Willow Avenue to improve access to the hospital).
For everyone’s protection in Hoboken, please spread the word that the mayor
is going to be tow-tough during the next storm and will be towing from
emergency routes. Since storms are unpredictable this means that with
20/20 hindsight the towing may sometimes appear to be unnecessary, but I’d
rather inconvenience a few people than lose a life. (During each storm
we announce our emergency routes again and again. Please heed these
announcements and know that it includes both sides of Washington Street,
and the west side of Willow Avenue for access to the hospital, among other locations).
Yes, it’s an uphill battle, but I am working very hard to secure as much free
off-street parking as I can. I want to thank Superintendent Carter and School
Board President Rose Markle for agreeing for the city to use the Connors school
parking lot at 201 Monroe as a free parking location through Sunday at noon
on a first come first serve basis. Thank you to CVS as well for permitting
residents to park overnight last night for free.
We are working on some other options, so check the City’s site for more
information at hobokennj.org. The more cars we get off the streets, the
more we can clean up the streets! For the next storm, I hope to be more
prepared with back up off-street parking locations.
In addition, given these extenuating circumstances, residents can park
in Garage B and D for $5.00 until Monday at 8:00 am.
Helping with the snow cleanup: Please try to remove your car from the
street, and as you do it, please try to pile the snow next to the road and
refrain from throwing it back into the street. And, please, please do not
throw snow on the fire hydrants.