Imagine a morning commute where you are guaranteed a parking spot…free of charge! No, there aren’t more parking spots downtown – unless you have the two-wheeled kind. But that is exactly what is growing in popularity. No longer subject to weekend riders or athletes – people of all ages are embracing what was once a childhood activity. I’m talking about bikes, you know, the two-wheeled, not a care in the world flying action!
Hoboken has embraced the bike- all along River Walk and throughout the city are bike safety lanes that allow bikers to take the streets. Part of that growing trend is a need for more bike corrals: enter the city of Hoboken and biking advocate Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who believes biking is the way to go.
Members of Bike Hoboken, a citizen based advocacy group that aims to promote safer Hoboken streets for bicyclists of all ages and experience levels are among the most excited for the implementation of on-street bike corrals.
“One only need look around to see how many people ride bicycles in Hoboken. Many people ride a bike from their home to the PATH stations as part of their commute. Many workers from outside Hoboken ride a bike into the city to work at our local restaurants and shops,” says local realtor and member of Bike Hoboken,” Lori Turoff.
Lori’s office, which is located on downtown Washington Street, allows her an enjoyable commute by bike daily.
“It would be foolish for me to drive such a short distance to work, pay for a meter, and worry about my car being damaged. I also use my bike to ride around town and meet my clients at different properties. It’s the fastest, easiest, and greenest way to get around Hoboken.”
Brian Wagner, also a Hoboken local and the Advocate Leader of Bike Hoboken, explains that he recently sold his car to commit to a life of commuting by bicycle.
“It was the smartest thing my wife and I did,” he said. “No more car payments, no insurance premiums, no crazy sky high gas prices, no car maintenance or paying for indoor garage parking and best of all I never have to worry about on street parking and senseless vandalism again.”
As a dedicated “cycling” junkie Brian lovingly told me about his two trusty companions that he uses to get around. His first companion, named Orbea Orca is Brian’s “trusty thoroughbred,” who joins him on long distance rides anywhere from 50-110 miles. His second, his commuter bike who he endearingly calls his “beater bike” or “BB” accompanies him on the commute to and from the PATH station weekdays as a part of his commute to work in NYC.
“Plus, I use it on the weekends to run 98% of my chores, anything from going to the bank, to food shopping at Shop Rite in Hoboken or Target in Jersey City or to join my wife for a leisurely bike ride around Hoboken,” he said.
While Lori and Brian are already avid bikers, Lori feels that as a city, Hoboken will become more bike friendly and sustainable with the implementation of the on-street corrals.
“Increasing bike parking and making Hoboken more bike friendly in any way will most certainly lead to an increase in bike ridership. The more people who choose to use bikes instead of cars, the less congested Hoboken will become. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Lori said.
Thanks to the city of Hoboken pursuing a grant from the Bikes Belong Coalition, the city has been granted $5,000 to implement on-street pilot bike corrals which will hold between 10 and 24 bicycles each.
Hoboken Parking Director Ian Sacs, agrees. “The bicycle is the most convenient way to get around Hoboken, and if there is an increased usage of bikes to get around it’ll encourage a cleaner, more sustainable city with healthier practices and a better quality of life,” he said.
With the grant, the city hopes to have the on-street corrals implemented by the end of the summer. According to Ian, they will be located directly outside of the city’s “highest intensity places.”
Ian says the bike corrals will “help resolve parking related issues and congestion within the city. Bicycling within Hoboken has really been growing and we’ve noticed that when we add biking infrastructures, facilities get used immediately.”
“We want to be sure people do not feel the need to drive their car from home to the store. We want to make sure there is enough bicycle parking outside of local shops and businesses where people will feel comfortable riding a bike to their destination,” he said.
While being selected for the grant is only the first step in the process, which now requires the city to evaluate and develop a design plan, Ian explains the city was thrilled to be selected.
“A lot of big cities have been chosen for this grant and started this pilot program, but Hoboken being selected just proves that it is necessary and beneficial for smaller cities as well,” Ian said.
Already excited that the city’s joint effort with Bike Hoboken has resulted in a pilot bike corral program and the implementation of 10 miles of bike lanes this year, Lori hopes Hoboken will continue to become more bike-friendly.
Ultimately, Lori hopes that there will be a large-scale bike share program implemented in Hoboken in the future.
“Ample, convenient and secure bicycle parking is vital to those who currently ride a bike and will only serve to encourage even more people to use bikes as a means of transportation in the future. It’s a great option for a small bike-able city like Hoboken,” Lori said.