Home COVID-19 City Council Moves to Convert Sinatra Drive to Pedestrian Plaza Starting August 1st

City Council Moves to Convert Sinatra Drive to Pedestrian Plaza Starting August 1st

by Arielle Witter
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The City of Hoboken has made many efforts to help the Mile Square recover from the impact of COVID-19. From the creation of parklets and streateries to “open streets,” a lot has been done to help local businesses bounce back after reopening post-quarantine. Now, in another attempt to further that progress, several council members have pushed to have another local street will be partially closing and transforming into a pedestrian plaza to help nearby businesses — Sinatra Drive.

Sinatra Drive to Close

Following a plan that is sponsored by Hoboken City Councilman Mike DeFusco and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher, the City has advanced forward with a plan to “to close a section of Sinatra Drive from August 1st through October 15th” in an attempt continue the “push to help local small businesses recover from the COVID-19 global health crisis,” according to a recent press release.

The plan itself will relocate “on-street parking from the east side to the west side of  Sinatra Drive between 1st Street and 4th Street to make it possible for the adjacent re restaurants to expand their outdoor dining space along the curbside in the form of parklets or streateries,” according to the most recent City Council meeting agenda.

This means that between these dates, the portion of Sinatra Drive will be closed to cars and transform into a pedestrian plaza. Similar to the previous “open streets” pilot over the past few months, the area will create additional outdoor seating and retail space, and enable residents to safely social distance along the Hoboken waterfront.

“We’ve seen cities throughout the country successfully take a similar approach in closing streets and now it’s time for Hoboken to follow suit,” Councilman DeFusco said in a press release about the plan.

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“Working together, our goal was to repurpose the southern part of Sinatra Drive to reduce recently increased congestion and noise, but doing so in a way that supports the neighboring restaurants and small businesses all while making it a safe place for people to enjoy our waterfront. This simple piece of legislation accomplishes all three,” Councilwoman Fisher added.

The plan passed first reading at the City Council’s July 8th meeting and will be up for a second reading in two weeks. If that is passed, it will be moving forward.

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See More: NJ Governor Murphy to Sign Executive Order Requiring Masks Outdoors


Other Local Efforts

Of course, this isn’t the first move the City has made to create more social distancing-friendly space and help businesses get going again. Last month, the Hoboken Business Alliance {HBA} launched its #GoBoken campaign, which is “the HBA’s city-wide, summer-long initiative encouraging the community to go now and help support Hoboken businesses in any way they can,” according to a press release. The goal of the campaign is to, essentially, encourage local residents to support Hoboken businesses while coinciding with the gradual reopening of outdoor dining and retail stores across the state.

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In wake of that news, the HBA also launched its kick-off “Summer Streets” event down 1st Street last month, where the street was exclusively open to pedestrian traffic to create “new opportunities for businesses to expand their footprint and connect with customers in a safe and meaningful way,” according to Gregory Dell’Aquila, president of the HBA.

Read More: Hoboken COVID-19 Testing Moves to Jersey City Today Until Monday

And, in an effort to help local restaurants slowly get back to being fully operational, the City passed an ordinance earlier this summer to allow for restaurants utilize nearby streets and sidewalks to create more outdoor dining space {aptly following NJ Governor Murphy’s news that outdoor, in-person dining could resume throughout the state}.

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