Jersey City and Hoboken plan to unite bike lanes by connecting 18th Street and Observer Highway

Jersey City and Hoboken plan to unite bike lanes by connecting 18th Street and Observer Highway
Jersey City and Hoboken plan to unite bike lanes by connecting 18th Street and Observer Highway

The mayors of Jersey City and Hoboken are working on a plan to connect the city in a way the Hudson County neighbors have never been connected before: protected bike lanes.

Responding to a Bike Hoboken tweet, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla Thursday confirmed that preliminary work is underway and Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said Jersey City’s 18th Street bike lane will connect with Hoboken’s Observer Highway bike lane by creating a protected bike lane on the section of Marin Boulevard.

“This was always part of our Bike Master Plan as we work to establish better connections to and from Jersey City through our street networks and transportation programs,” Wallace-Scalcione said Friday. “We will soon present the striping plans to the public for feedback.”

Cycling enthusiasts say this is long overdue.

Marin Boulevard connecting Hoboken and Jersey City

The section of Marin Boulevard that connects Jersey City and Hoboken.Google Maps image

“It is very well proven at this point that people are constantly cycling between Jersey City and Hoboken, whether for leisure or commuting,” Bike JC President Ayla Schermer said. “I still hate that connection, it is very scary no matter which way you go and there are not that many options.

“Having a safe way (into both cities) would be really huge and a lot of people who are scared to ride that route, currently, will be much more comfortable to do so in the future.”

Wallace-Scalcione said city officials expect the project to start in July. And since it shouldn’t take longer than a month, the connection is expected to be completed before summer is over.

“Improving the bike lane infrastructure between our two cities is an important priority,” Bhalla said in his tweet.

This is part of both cities’ Vision Zero plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries on their roadways. Hoboken has been recognized nationally for going four years without a traffic death.

Jersey City and Hoboken already have a bike-share program that allows residents who use Citibike in either city to leave the bike at any station in both cities.

The connection to Jersey City provides Hoboken riders easier access to the city’s 12 miles of protected bike lanes and more as the city works to meet its goal of creating 46 miles of protected bike lanes. Jersey City riders will have access to more than 16 miles of Hoboken bike lanes, although only 1.1 miles of those are protected.

Both Bike Hoboken and Bike JC have called that Hoboken-Jersey City border area “dangerous” for cyclists.

“We are really looking forward to what that is going to look like,” Bike Hoboken President Chris Adair said. “I ride on the sidewalk there because it’s not a safe place for someone on a bicycle to ride and I see lots of other people doing the same thing.

“So, I think that it is key that it would connect into the 18th Street protected bike path that Jersey City put in … that would be a great place for it.”