• Hoboken Mayoral Race 2017: Candidates on Mass Transportation + Recreation

    We’ve told you how to register to vote, introduced you to the candidates for Mayor, and asked the candidates about parking, infrastructure, and state/national politics, but now it’s time to dive a little deeper, once again. Our political series will continue to cover issues that Hoboken residents are concerned about, and this week we asked the six candidates running for Mayor of Hoboken to talk about two more of the Mile Square’s biggest topics — transportation and recreation. Many people living in Hoboken use public transportation to get to and from work {or play}, so we want to know how our new mayor will feel about that topic, and also about how to improve the quality of life for Hoboken’s residents and families.

     The questions of the week are:

    1. Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferries and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    2. What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    A few things to note before we hear from the candidates:

    • The answers from the candidates have not been altered in any way — which includes grammatical errors {hey – the Oxford comma is a very divisive topic}. We just asked that they keep their answers under 200 words per question.
    • Each week, we’ll share another set of questions as well as provide ALL of the candidates’ answers to the same question so you can compare and learn about their views.
    • Hoboken mayoral elections are non-partisan, meaning parties are not affiliated to national platforms. We still included this item in our questions to candidates for informational purposes.
    • If you have further questions to ask candidates, get in touch! Email hello@hobokengirl.com and we may send out a supplemental questionnaire.
    • To register to vote locally and learn about other important election deadlines, click here.

    Now, without further ado, here are the six Hoboken mayoral candidates running for office in the 2017 Hoboken election and their answers to this week’s two questions:


    Ronald Bautista

    Name:

    Ron Bautista

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    Let’s start by admitting the urgency of the situation we live in Hoboken. The PATH train system has had severe overcrowding since 2013, our train and light rail systems are expensive and won’t reach most areas, and our current bus system is unreliable. To add up to all of this, for decades our cities have made traffic and parking issue worse by following failed policies that prioritize individual cars instead of coming up with real solutions. We’re all in this together, and the only solution is to give residents a traffic-free option that’s better and more affordable than using the car or taking the train: a network of express bus and shuttle lanes that doesn’t hit traffic and that has been proven to work in cities around the world (Bus Rapid Transit).

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    We can be resourceful and use existing assets to continue to improve the quality of life of our residents. For example, Hoboken High School has a pool that can be opened to the public. Also, we should open our public sports fields to be used for free pick-up games and not just for paid leagues. My objective as Mayor will also be to help the Hoboken Public Library increase the reach of its programs and become the hub institution for initiatives in education, arts, music and active life throughout the city.

    Ravinder Bhalla

    Name:

    Ravi Bhalla

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    Hoboken has the highest percentage of residents using public transportation to get to work in the entire United States. Our residents deserve to have reliable, reasonably priced transportation options that can also help to reduce traffic and improve our quality of life.  As  Mayor, I will work tirelessly to advocate for the necessary investments in our mass transportation infrastructure and I have released a detailed plan that outlines my public transit goals.

    This plan includes adding additional north/south 126 bus routes west of Clinton Street, as well as adding buses on the current 126 routes exclusively for uptown Hoboken.  I have also called on New Jersey Transit to modernize their bus stops in Hoboken with digitally signalized arrival times, similar to what is standard in other parts of the country and world.

    Other proposals I am advancing are providing a new train station in Northern Hoboken as part of the $13 billion dollar Hudson Tunnel project, and increasing PATH train service during rush hour.  My mass transit infrastructure platform also calls for public and private subsidies in ferry service uptown and downtown with the goal of a ferry ticket being in line with the $2.75 ticket price for PATH trains service, a goal that has already been achieve in inter-borough New York City routes. (To read the whole plan, visit: www.teambhalla.com)

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    Recreational activities enhance the quality of life for our our families raising children and all of our residents. Today, our indoor recreational space is in need of major upgrades. I’ve laid out a plan to engage engage residents in a community process that explores a complete renovation of the multi-service center to create a brand new state of the art multi-use recreational facility. New community space in Northwest Hoboken, renovating the former YMCA on Washington Street, the construction of a community pool and indoor skating rink, indoor turf field, a new teen center, and an affordable summer day camp are also among the ideas that I will actively explore. As part of this  comprehensive plan, we will do a detailed fiscal analysis as well as seek alternative revenues through available federal, state and private grant-funding and explore partnerships with non-profit entities.

    Additionally, we will engage the community in a process to create a state of the art Northwest Park, expand the Southwest Park to an additional acre, and explore options to complete Hoboken’s waterfront through a new park on Sinatra Drive at Union Dry Dock.  At the same time, I will prioritize regular maintenance and upgrades for all of our existing parks.

    Michael DeFusco

    Name:

    Michael DeFusco

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    I commute to my job in Manhattan by either PATH or Ferry every day, so I bring a closer perspective to this issue than many other candidates. Hoboken is built in many ways on our city’s proximity to New York City, but if we can’t efficiently move commuters back and forth we are not serving them well. While many of these mass transit issues are out of the local government’s direct control, as Mayor I will be a constant advocate for our commuters. I will push agencies like the Port Authority and NJ Transit to increase PATH and bus capacity and use all the methods at our disposal to ensure that our city’s voice is heard.

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    I’ve announced several plans in this area, but two of the most exciting are the proposals to install a removable Soccer Dome at 1600 Park and to build an Urban Beach and Floating Pool concept on the Hudson River. Both of these proposals fit our campaign’s goal of introducing exciting new ideas to our community that will enhance our quality of life. The Soccer Dome will allow kids and adults to use the excellent facility at 1600 Park all year, helping them stay active. Meanwhile,the Floating Pool would bring us an oasis in the summer and fulfill a long held promise to our community, while helping to preserve our waterfront. I believe that we can find innovative ways to pay for both of these projects by utilizing funds generated by commercial business development elsewhere in the city and by re-prioritizing how we budget in Hoboken, putting our residents first. I also want to implement a recreation app and website that will allow us to book rec facilities more easily, as well as to register kids for athletic leagues and receive updates on schedules or cancellations during the season.

    Jennifer Giattino

    Name:

    Jennifer Giattino

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    Our town gets more crowded everyday as we and our neighboring cities add more residents who share our constrained transportation routes.  As Mayor, I will participate in all efforts that relate to Hoboken’s transportation needs – we are the critical link for all of NJ and can be a key partner.  Like the new $13 billion Hudson Tunnel that will go through the north end of Hoboken, with no current planned stop in Hoboken.  A stop here could connect not only Hoboken residents to NYC, but also could be a link for Bergen County residents to get to NYC.  An obvious winning model.

    Other ideas:  Buses – Work with NJ Transit to expand and/or optimize our bus routes and seek to revive third party bus routes that could drop off in other locations across Manhattan.  PATH: Defend vigorously our allocation of PATH trains/service so we do not lose any more to Jersey City.  Ferries: Seek to expand the service and make it a more affordable option.  Light Rail: Ensure we get a new station in the north end and that NJ Transit or developers fund it.  Development:  Keep focus on curbing large-scale residential development to taper population growth.

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    As a parent of 3 active boys ages 11, 13 and 14, I understand the frustrations families have with lack of recreation/community space.  Modern community facilities are my priority.  In addition to considering building new facilities, I have spoken with the board of the former YMCA about potential partnership and programming with the City.  For either, I intend to seek funding from resources other than through our tax levy including developers, the County (we are one of only a few towns without a county funded community center), and potentially monetizing non-core municipal properties.  Along these lines, I also believe all of our parks need be as safe and pristine as Columbus Park which is run by the County.  Working better with the County we can find ways to get more services – like improved park maintenance – for the excessive amount of County taxes we pay.
     
    I walk Hoboken streets every day and listen to residents and act on their concerns – mainly quality of life issues that can and should be addressed by City Hall.  As Mayor, I will ensure our directors are held accountable for all quality of life matters, have a constituent service focus, and conduct business professionally for all. 

    Karen Nason

    Name:

    Karen Nason

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

    I would seek to have NJ Transit increase the number of buses and distribute the buses so that the commuters at the north end of town are able to get on a bus to New York City and not be stranded by full buses passing them by. I would also try to have the ferries be more affordable and review whether it is practical to increase the number of ferries. I would increase the number of Hop Shuttle Buses going to and from the PATH train and ferries to alleviate the congestion in the morning and evening.

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    I have mentioned before and will continue to say that there needs to be more Arts and Culture to the community.  This means whether it be Theatre, Music, Art Galleries, Wine Bars, Micro Brews, Center for the Elderly, the community must not only design for the children with Parks and Recreation, but the adults in the city need a form of entertainment too!  There is a need and a niche for the development of future projects such as Bowling Alley’s that could be both family and adult orientated.  The idea that we have more than one rock climbing wall astounds me!  Where is the golfing range for Dads to take a swing at??  Similar to Chelsea Pier there needs to be family/adult entertainment.  I would certainly work to make this happen!

    Anthony Romano

    Name:

    Anthony L. Romano

    Many of Hoboken’s residents use mass transportation on a daily basis. What are your thoughts on our current situation with buses, PATH, and ferrys and what do you hope to do in this arena as Mayor?

     Hoboken has one of the highest rates of transit passengers in the country, and we are rapidly growing. I plan to convene a series of meetings between my administration, the Port Authority, and NJ Transit, to advocate for increasing PATH services and bus lines to Hoboken. A few years ago, The Port Authority eliminated some of their services to Hoboken and this has caused a tremendous amount of congestion for the commuters. We need the Port Authority to add some additional services back to Hoboken. This is going to be challenging but I am confident that we can agree on solutions to mitigate the issue.

    What projects or policies do you hope to put into place to maintain quality of life in Hoboken and provide services for young adults, families with young children, and many others? How do you plan to pay for it?

    Recreation programs are really critical for our youth. My council candidate, Buddy Matthews, is a retired, long time coach and he is fully competent to help craft an innovative plan to enhance our programs. I was also endorsed a few days ago by the legendary Coach Bob Hurley. Coach Hurley has agreed to come on board and help shape our programs. In line with this is quality of life for all of citizens. I want to protect our open spaces, parks and small businesses. I want our residents to feel comfortable and safe, all while enjoying the ambiance of the city. I love seeing families out on weekends strolling through the streets, and others enjoying a cup of coffee at their local coffee shop. This is what keeps the heartbeat of the city going and I will work to enhance this even more.


    And that, friends, is round FOUR of our guide to the Hoboken mayoral election. Stay tuned for next week, when all of the candidates share their thoughts on two other important questions that affect our city as well as full interviews with all of the candidates running for council.

    A Comprehensive Intros to the Candidates

    Candidates on Infrastructure and State/National Politics

    Candidates on Parking and Development

    The Schedule of Live In-Person Debates of Council Candidates and Mayoral Candidates

    Stay tuned for next week when we share Council candidates answers to a series of questions — as well as BOE candidates.

    Have questions about our election series or want to submit your own Q for the candidates? Please email hello@hobokengirl.com or comment on this blog post.

    As Jane Gooddall said, “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”

     


    Written by:

    Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of HobokenGirl.com. She started the site to discover the wealth of fun things happening in Hoboken and Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County areas. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event or #HobokenGirlHelps volunteer project, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog Pierre + rescue pup Finn, or watching some really bad {but oh-so-good} reality TV and ordering takeout with her husband.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    CLOSE
    CLOSE