Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Washington Street Redesign Project

Project Name: Washington Street Redesign Project

Landmark redesign of a bustling historic corridor spanning 16 blocks in the city; a model in coordination and cooperation across sectors with significant environmental and safety benefits.

Primary Partner Team: City of Hoboken; T&M Associates; Underground Utilities Corporation; New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; North Hudson Sewerage Authority; Suez


Washington Street Redesign Project
Rebirth of a Bustling Historic Corridor 

“Putting those components together—complete streets, green infrastructure, and resiliency—creates the total package that we think serves as a model for other communities.” —City of Hoboken Director of Transportation and Parking Ryan Sharp

Washington Street is a historic, vibrant corridor of the City of Hoboken. As Hoboken’s “Main Street,” it is used by tens of thousands of vehicles, bus commuters, bicycles, and pedestrians each day. The bustling corridor includes a mix of residential, retail, and commuter needs, and provides access to the Hoboken Terminal, one of New Jersey’s busiest transit stations. 

In its original configuration, Washington Street was lacking in functionality, safety, and resilience. The traffic signals at each intersection were uncoordinated and outdated. There were no designated lanes for bicycle use. The demands from such an energetic community interfered with traffic flow under the corridor’s original design and added stress to an aging infrastructure. The corridor had been experiencing the effects of frequent water main breaks and flooding from storms.

Construction on the $19.5 million Washington Street Redesign Project began in 2017 to address the corridor’s many problems. The vast project spanned 16 city blocks and created a modern, complete street to match the character of the community. Complete streets are roads designed for safe, attractive, and comfortable travel by users of all ages and abilities, and regardless of mode of transportation. The changes to Washington Street as part of the project have made it safer and easier for those walking, bicycling, driving, and utilizing public transit to use the corridor. Additional benefits of complete streets include increased foot traffic to local businesses, a reduction in automobile traffic and pollution, and improved public health. 

Washington Street’s improvements include replacement of 9,000 linear-feet of the century-old drinking water main, new ADA-compliant sidewalks, street furnishings, and the resurfacing of approximately one mile of roadway. The project improved mobility with new bikeways and modernized traffic signals at 15 intersections. 

Improved resilience features are a major feature of the redesigned corridor. The City of Hoboken suffered destructive flooding during Superstorm Sandy when floodwaters from the Hudson River inundated homes and businesses, damaging 80% of the city. Protecting people, vulnerable infrastructure, and property became a priority in local planning. Environmental performance and resilience have been strengthened in the community through the project’s addition of green infrastructure, upgraded LED lighting fixtures, and a new microgrid network system.

The project has had a significant unanticipated benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic. New  designated bike lanes have created a safety buffer between sidewalk dining “parklets” and vehicular traffic and parking on the corridor, facilitating one of the most vibrant towns for outdoor dining in the state. 

The revitalization of Washington Street required an extraordinary amount of collaboration and coordination among project partners and stakeholders, and demanded tremendous cooperation between numerous agencies. The City of Hoboken led an extensive community-based planning process to solicit public input and feedback and involved the community at all stages of the project. With its commitment to safety, inclusiveness, and resilience, the Washington Street Redesign Project could serve as a model for improving main streets everywhere. 

See all 2020 Smart Growth Awards

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