Author Topic: Area in Need of Rehabilitation  (Read 109042 times)

Offline Whitey

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #240 on: January 19, 2017, 09:12:39 AM »
I could not agree more.  I remember the days of 2 way Main Street and a driver attempting to back into a parking space ties up traffic in both directions.  The Planners have testified that a vibrant shopping area requires 2 way streets but many of the examples they give apply to wider "Main" streets, some with center islands.  Bergenfield addressed the issue of a 2 way street by permitting parking only on one side which is better for traffic but requires convenient off street parking.  The governing body is committed to a 2 way Main St. no matter what.

Offline johnny g

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #241 on: January 19, 2017, 12:14:05 PM »
I haven't been on Main St on a weekday in many years, but honestly....besides the 165 Westwood bus, does it get THAT much auto traffic like it used to, say back in the 70's and 80's?. This may be a silly sounding question, but wanted to ask it anyway....now with the "Hackensack Shoppers Parking" areas, wasn't much of that supposed be eliminated...parking woes, etc

Offline BLeafe

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #242 on: January 19, 2017, 02:29:59 PM »
The traffic is not that bad and it would be nice if it stayed that way. But condense today's two northbound lanes into one and then put all the southbound traffic that's currently diverted to State St into the other lane and you wind up with a mess that will indicate that we've learned nothing from fixing the problem correctly a couple of decades ago.

What happens when there's an emergency on Main St and a firetruck/police car/ambulance needs to get through? How will either lane pull over to allow passage? I wonder what fire, police and EMS people think of the switch back to 2-way.

Fortunately, we have a member of one of those groups on this board who can hopefully enlighten us.
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Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #243 on: January 19, 2017, 03:46:18 PM »
Yes, the two-way conversion plan addresses the points raised in the prior posts. 

- Buses would be re-routed along State and Moore with bus stops moved from Main Street.  Some stops would be along cross-streets. 
- The need to parallel park is eliminated through the use of gaps every two parking spaces so that cars can pull in without backing up. This is known as "Tandem Parking". See image below.
- Loading area locations and permitted hours will be re-worked so that any traffic caused by loading is minimized.

State Street is being converted as well.  It is a wider street and can accommodate much more traffic. This also addresses the concerns for first responders who can't drive north on State in its current configuration. State, River and Moore (to a lesser extent) would be the "go to" streets for thru-traffic.  You don't want fast moving, thru-traffic on Main Street. A healthy Main Street has slow-moving, pedestrian-friendly traffic.

Finally, the Rehabilitation Plan, passed by the prior administration, calls for the two-way conversion:

A critical element to the future success of Main Street including the existing and future commercial development will be the conversion of the existing oneway street network into a two-way street network.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 02:02:55 PM by Editor »

Offline BLeafe

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #244 on: January 19, 2017, 06:55:00 PM »
Yeah, I know I'm late on this.

I hope it all works out and that the children of those thoughtless double-parkers of yesteryear haven't inherited the gene that makes them decide to park in those gap spaces for "just a minute" (or three).

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Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #245 on: January 19, 2017, 08:05:22 PM »
For those people, there will be additional PEO's (Parking Enforcement Officers).  :police:

In related news: http://www.northjersey.com/story/money/real-estate/2017/01/19/hackensack-building-redeveloped-apartments/96772650/
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 08:07:40 PM by Editor »

Offline ericmartindale

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #246 on: January 19, 2017, 11:32:54 PM »
I totally agree with BLeafe and Whitey.  The plan for the conversion of Main & State Street is doomed and cursed from it's very inception.  This has been studied and studied and studied by more consultants than I can count for 30 years, and every one of them says "don't do it". Then the city hires another contractor under the specific understand that he approves of the conversion.  Basically he's like a hooker selling himself.

I have been against this disaster in the making, but I am no longer in Hackensack to do anything about it, other than alert NJ Transit, which I did a few years ago.

When I do return to Hackensack to buy something, visit a lawyer, or eat in a restaurant on Main Street, I can cruise north and look for spaces on either side of the street.  After the conversion, only 50% of those spaces will be available, only on the right side.  And actually LESS THAN 50% because of the tandem plan eliminating spots.  And I'll be driving a lot slower because it'll become a narrow crowded street. So finding a spot is going to become dramatically more difficult. They think they are helping Main Street, but instead they are killing it.

Want to see how it will be, go to the Main Street in Ridgefield Park.

Offline johnny g

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #247 on: January 20, 2017, 08:00:47 AM »
Good example using the Main St in RP...as far as I know that's always been a two way. Main St in Hackensack being a one way for so many years I would agree the transition BACK to a two way would take a LONG time to get used to. Had it always been a two way like in RP drivers and pedestrians wouldn't know any other way

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #248 on: January 20, 2017, 10:49:47 AM »
There were many people against the one-way pairing back in the 70's saying it would kill business.  In fact, the conversion ultimately had a huge negative effect on business. Ask any of the few remaining business owners who remember the two-way streets.  I did.  They told me it was one of the worst things to happen to Main Street. Likewise, existing business owners will tell you they are in favor of the conversion back to two-way. Developers, whose residential units support local business, won't build here without the conversion because the one-way pairing is a liability when it comes to renting units.

In the 70's, the concern was primarily on moving traffic and circulating it to municipal lots.  At the time, the thinking was people are going to malls because they can't find parking in the downtown.  In actuality, ease of parking was not why people were flocking to the new malls. Malls were indoors, warm in winter, cool in summer, dry, secure, lit properly, had cheaper merchandise made for the masses, etc.  After the conversion, traffic indeed moved faster,- right through (not to) Hackensack.  With the one-way pairing, the municipal lots were hard to find, especially for new visitors. I've lived here my whole life and still really have to think about how to get to a municipal lot. 

Now, things are different.  Downtowns are more about experiences and less about retail.  They are about restaurants, libraries, bars, nightlife, art & culture, haircuts, manicures, exercise, etc.  Macys and Sears are closing hundreds of stores. Why?  Retail is being decimated by online sales. Traditional downtowns now have an edge over the malls. People are returning to the downtown to live, work and play.  They don't need to drive to the mall.  In fact, many of these new residents don't own cars.  They commute using mass transit and use Uber & Lyft. 

Conversion to two-way once again provides simplicity.  The one-way pairing has outlived its usefulness, if it ever had any usefulness at all.  Hindsight is 20/20 so I do not begrudge the decision to do it in the 70's.  It was a response to a perceived problem which I do not think anyone at the time fully understood, nor could they have. Who knows? In 50 years we may have to do it again due to changes in circumstance.

By the way, any loss in spaces caused by the tandem parking (between 10-15%) would be made up through additional municipal parking off Main Street.  Several scenarios are being contemplated. Finally, new meter fees would cause higher parking turn-over on Main Street, making spaces on Main more available than they are now due to meter feeding.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2017, 10:51:59 AM by Editor »

Offline johnny g

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #249 on: January 20, 2017, 12:54:07 PM »
Out of curiosity is there a plan for also changing State St to two ways? Also, can you imagine the photo ops awaiting for Bob when people fail to realize Main is now a two way and drive the wrong way on the left side?  8)

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #250 on: January 20, 2017, 02:00:49 PM »
Yes, State is being converted as well. See my post from yesterday.

Prior to the conversion, there would be a public outreach campaign so that regular commuters to Hackensack won't be surprised.  For anyone not familiar with the area, it will be quite natural.

I'm sure Bob will find photo ops either way.  8)

Offline BLeafe

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #251 on: January 20, 2017, 02:41:14 PM »
LIFE is a photo op.  ;)

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Offline ericmartindale

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #252 on: January 21, 2017, 02:57:04 AM »
Editor, found my letter from 8/22/2014 to NJ Transit. The situation is way more complicated than you have briefly explained, and you didn't mention at all the racism of shoppers. Folks from around Bergen County and higher-income parts of Hackensack were so racist that they no longer wanted to walk around downtown Hackensack, and that the malls were "whiter". Disgusting, and true. This was part of a national phenomena in which people were rejecting the cities as places to shop, live, or work, and they were fleeing to the suburbs. Now this trend has reversed, and a great many people, especially the younger generations, enjoy the ethnic and racial diversity that cities offer.

I also find it to be absolute nonsense that developers are turned off by the existing road circulation pattern. What will really turn them off is gridlock conditions. It was gridlock in the early 1970's, with far fewer cars on the roads than 2017, and much less development in the area. Change it back now, and it won't be like 1970, it will be a pure catastrophe. To do this now, and at the expense I've read, will become known as the greatest boondoggle in the history of Hackensack.

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Dear NJ Transit officials,

I was born and raised in Hackensack, and I am old enough to remember the gridlock traffic conditions in downtown Hackensack, especially Main Street, when the streets were two-way.  This was resolved in the early 1970s, when Main and State Streets were re-dedicated as one-way streets. My understanding is that NJ Transit was active in pushing for the change to speed up buses on Main Street.

The City of Hackensack is now very actively working to restore two-way traffic to Main Street, with one lane north and one lane south. There are some very determined merchant leaders who are convinced that the conversion of Main & State Streets into one-way streets in the early 1970s heralded a rapid decline in retail in Hackensack. That is incorrect. Here is what actually caused the decline in retail on Main Street, Hackensack:

1971 --- Bergen Mall becomes an enclosed mall         1.25 miles away
1971 --- The Arnold Constable Department store closes      @ Main & Passaic Streets   
1974 --- Paramus Park Mall opens               5 miles away
1975 --- Riverside Square Mall opens in Hackensack      0.75 miles away
1982 --- Garden State Plaza becomes an enclosed mall      1.5 miles away
1980s --- mass conversion of storefronts into law firms
1991 (est.) --- parking meters reduced from 2 hours to a 1-hour limit
1985 present --- the reaction of many customers to an increase in homeless persons and beggars
1950 present --- the prejudices of many customers; their unwillingness to accept major
     demographic changes in Downtown Hackensack and surrounding neighborhoods

Further complicating the decision to revert to two-way streets is a major building boom in the downtown and vicinity. I fully support the building boom. However, all of this construction and future construction in coming decades will completely overwhelm the road network if Main and State Streets are changed from one-way to two-way traffic. These projects include:

-   222 units at State Street --- under construction
-   382 units at 150-170 Main St (14 stories) --- approved July 10, 2014
-   270 units at 210-214 Main Street by Heritage Capital --- final approval anticipated in Fall of 2014
-   Est. 350 units --- Camden street 100 feet east of Main street --- developers have purchased the Oritani Field Club
-   Hotel with 240-440 units; 4.2 acres on East Salem Street near River Street
-   Hotel, 500 residential units & retail on the currently vacant campus of The Record, 30 acres at Atlantic & River Streets
-   New Bergen County courthouse, Court Street near Main St --- under construction for $147,000,000 (largest public works project in the history of Bergen County), including rehab of the old courthouse for continued use
-   Other major projects planned.  For a complete listing of the properties being assembled and brokered, contact Alexander Anderson Real Estate Group, 14 Bergen Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601; 201-343-6640.

Note also that parcel delivery companies like UPS and FedEx were far less prevalent in the early 1970s than today. Their trucks constantly stop on Main Street, blocking one lane of traffic. Right now it is possible to pass around them by switching lanes. Its annoying, but the traffic flows. Once the streets become two-way, UPS and FedEx will cause much greater gridlock.

If Main and State Streets are reverted to two-way in Downtown Hackensack, traffic will come to a virtual standstill on Main Street, especially from Essex Street to Passaic Street.  NJ Transit Buses will be delayed an additional 15 minutes, at times. 

Over the years, the City of Hackensack has paid numerous consultants to study the traffic flow, hoping to find a way to make it work as two-way.  They all said no, until a new firm was recently hired under the explicit instructions that they must say yes.

The irony is that two-way traffic is not going to attract more retail customers.  As I drive north on Main Street, I can look for spots on BOTH SIDES of the street. My ability to find a spot will be cut in half when the street becomes two-way.  I am not looking forwards to that at all, or to dealing with gridlock traffic. I still come to Main Street to visit certain stores and restaurants. More importantly, I care about my hometown. The merchants who want this arent even helping themselves.  This is just the most awful and dead-wrong public policy decision being imposed upon everyone.

NJ Transit and the County of Bergen are the only entities with the power to stop this unmitigated disaster.  Please put the stop to this.

Sincerely,


Eric Martindale

Offline Editor

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Re: Area in Need of Rehabilitation
« Reply #253 on: January 22, 2017, 11:31:05 PM »
http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2017/01/in_bergen_county_an_upscale_downtown_struggles_for_answers.html

Echoes some the issues I raised earlier about the changing nature of downtowns.

"We are living in a new world in terms of retail, a lot of people are shopping online," Greco said. "Downtowns need to offer something people can't get online - a meal, services like a hair salon or shoe repair or an experience."

Offline Editor

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