• Washington Street Curb Bumpouts: What Are They + Why Are They Here?

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    By now you have either heard, felt, cursed at, or maybe even tried to completely ignore the seemingly never-ending construction happening on Washington Street. The $17 million Washington Street Project first began in early summer 2017 and is expected to continue on through the spring of 2018 {though recently it has been temporarily halted and will begin again shortly}. Yes, it’s a headache, but the project encompasses resurfacing and repaving of the street, traffic signal improvements, watermain replacements, lighting, the building of a microgrid, ADA compliant curb ramps, and most recently — curb extensions {aka – bumpouts}.

    Bumpouts, {not to be confused with the Snooki-inspired hair poof enhancer you know and loved circa 2010, or the awesome pushup bra by On Gossamer} aren’t exactly easy to miss. Intended to improve pedestrian safety and visibility while being ADA compliant, the extended curb corner bumpout installation process will continue for many more months, leaving some residents embracing the new additions around town, while others… well, not so much. But, regardless of personal opinion, they’re hereee, so we figured we’d introduce them to, and explore what they are, why they’re here, and what you need to know about them.

    Pros

    As the Washington Street Project’s website states, a motivation for the project was based on information regarding car accidents and crashes from 2010-2013. According to the data, 17 collisions between vehicles and pedestrians occurred on Washington Street, with a significant amount of them occurring when the vehicle was making a turn.

    It is thought that curb bumpouts at intersections will lead to improved visibility of pedestrians crossing at designated crosswalks, and will also shorten the crossing distance as a whole. {This is also likely to help the elderly, those with strollers or young children, and others who might take a bit longer crossing the street.} Bumpouts also force drivers to slow down a bit — and when it comes to prevent collisions, that’s a good thing.

    Cons

    As with anything new, there is also the downside, the inconvenience, and the frustration, and some residents are not pleased {or maybe are just curbing their enthusiasm – sorry, had to}. One argument against the addition of bumpouts cited in a recent op/ed on NJ.com is that they make turning off Washington St. on to already narrow side streets even more difficult {especially larger vehicles like delivery trucks – who already have a hard time around town, fire trucks, etc.}.

    Congestion is another common concern, as are the potential implications for cyclist safety.

    According to resident comments in another recent NJ.com article, others are concerned about things like what this might mean during snow-plow season {no, please no snow talk, yet}, the high cost of the project largely funded by taxpayer dollars, and argue that in large part, speed limit enforcement and/or reduction could improve safety just as much.

    Another concern among residents is the overall safety and inconveniences posed by the ongoing project. On September 26th, the contractor, Underground Utilities Corporation, knocked over a utility pole, which struck a pedestrian standing nearby. Luckily, there were no major injuries reported, but as a result, the project was suspended temporarily for a safety review, though work is expected to begin again shortly.

     

    How do you feel about the new curb bumpouts, or The Washington Street Project in general? Let us know in the comments!


    Written by:

    Erin is a proud Hobokenite who moved to Hoboken three years ago from Central NJ with her now husband. When she’s not teaching English to middle schoolers in New York City, she can be found running GrandeGifts (www.etsy.com/shop/grandegifts), writing, shopping on Washington, at the barre’ or binging on Bravo. Still basking in that newlywed glow, Erin also adores everything having to do with weddings, Broadway, and Disney (shamelessly).


    2 comments

    • I feel the bump outs on both south side and north side of the street is not necessary. On the north side on the west side, and south end on the east side, it would make more sense for buses. The buses are now going to cause more traffic because there is no room for the them to actively pull over. Parking on Washington is now going to be even worse. I guarantee people will be using the bus stops for parking and just use their emergency lights.

      What is the plan for when it snows? I feel Dawn Zimmer should have focused more on fixing the street for the cars rather than creating more wasted tax dollars on unneccary bumpouts that is going to cause more traffic and force drivers to take residencal streets.

      Reply
    • Bump-outs are the Red Hats of the “Participation Trophy / Helicopter Parenting / Bubble Wrap” crowd that now dominates Hoboken with their whining.
      Stop wasting my tax funds on this nonsense.
      Just look both ways and cross at the green. All good.
      Pave Washington street and be done with it.

      Reply

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