Home Events + News An $8M Light Rail Stop at 15th Street in Hoboken Could Become a Reality

An $8M Light Rail Stop at 15th Street in Hoboken Could Become a Reality

by Steph
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It looks like plans to install an $8 million Light Rail stop at 15th Street in Hoboken might become a reality. This isn’t the first time residents have heard about a possible train stop near the border of the Mile Square and Weehawken. The plan first emerged in 2014 and has ties to former Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Governor Chris Christie. Now, that plan but actually be put into action. Keep reading for what we know so far about this project.

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Why 15th Street?

The 15th Street Light Rail stop is apparently being advocated for by Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla, who met with NJ Transit in Newark to discuss it earlier this week. The new Light Rail stop would cost $8 million and would be installed near the border of Weehawken. But why this particular location?

Well, Bhalla is currently working on a new proposal for the North End Rehabilitation Area. That’s the redevelopment of 16 blocks north of 14th Street in Hoboken — 14th Street to the south, Union City to the west, Weehawken to the north, and Park Avenue to the east. Back in 2013, the City Council declared North End as an Area in Need of Rehabilitation.

According to Bhalla, a new train stop could be part of that.

Reasons for declaring it an Area in Need of Rehabilitation mostly fall on the shoulders of Super Storm Sandy. At the time, the area was impacted greatly by the storm’s flooding and the City was granted Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery money. According to the City of Hoboken website, the City authorized DMR Architects to prep the Redevelopment Plan for the North End in 2015. It’s been a process ever since.

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It’s thought by some that an additional Light Rail stop at that end of town could help to mitigate traffic in the Mile Square, as well as near the Lincoln Tunnel — a particularly tricky problem area for traffic.

The other hope, of course, is that revitalizing the 16 blocks north of 14th Street will lead to a more booming economy. The area already features the ever-popular Pilsener Haus + Biergarten, the Mile Square Theatre, Bow Tie Cinemas, a new bwè kafe and Little City Books location {which just celebrated its grand opening!} and some residential developments. Other lots, however, are just that — lots — and the area does have a decent amount of underdeveloped streets. Some are even cobblestone.

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What Else Does the Rehabilitation Entail?

So, if the North End Rehabilitation Area has been officially declared an Area in Need of Rehabilitation, what else — besides a train stop — could the rehabilitation entail?

“Hoboken requested that NJ Transit participate in discussions about the potential for a future Light Rail station in the northern section of the city,” NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith said. “NJ Transit is currently assessing the city’s proposal and providing guidance on HBLR operations and logistics, as we do all for all requests of this nature.”

We won’t know most of what could potentially be coming to the area until Bhalla completes his revitalization proposal, then submits it to the Hoboken City Council. Next up, the proposal will be looked at by the Planning Board, which will review the proposal in conjunction with how it fits into the City’s overall master plan. Then it’ll go back to the Council, which could either pass or fail it. After that, area property owners would get involved.

There’s also talk that the redevelopment plan could include either commercial offices, residential space, or even a hotel component.

Why Have We Heard This Rumor Before?

Well, it wasn’t a rumor. Things in the North End Rehabilitation Area have been going on for a while now. In fact, ever since 2013 when it was officially declared an Area in Need of Rehabilitation, thanks to Super Storm Sandy.

However, the first talks of adding a 15th Street stop to the Light Rail started in 2014. At the time, Mayor Dawn Zimmer alleged that Governor Chris Christie pressured her into expediting the development in the North End due to Christie’s own personal ties to developers in the area. Zimmer also alleged that Christie said New Jersey’s ability to acquire Super Storm Sandy aid would be impacted by expediting the development.

Sound familiar? That’s because it made national news.

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Who Pays That $8M?

Where does that $8 million come in? The redevelopment proposal has a long way to go yet, but once it gets to the point of including developers, Mayor Bhalla said he hopes local developers will get together and all “chip in” toward the $8M cost.

No word yet on what incentives developers would have to do so, though potential office space could be a reason.

What do you think about a 15th Street light rail station? Comment below!

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