Waterfront (Hoboken) Smart Project Restores Waterfront
East Coast cities often have beautiful coastal areas that are marred by abandoned
industrial land. But Hoboken is doing something about it: A 526-unit housing and retail
development proposed for the city's waterfront will open up public access to this historic
Hoboken: The Hoboken South Waterfront development combines all
the elements of smart growth - mixed-use development, new green spaces and public
In a location immortalized in the movie "On the Waterfront," the plan
combines all the elements of smart growth -- mixed-use development, new green spaces,
public transportation and community involvement. Residents will be able to live and work
within the project, or use the nearby light rail or PATH train to commute to jobs in
Hoboken's center, other parts of New Jersey or New York City. In addition, the project
offers easy access to bus and ferry service.
The project is also well located. Adjacent to a college and with access to libraries,
government buildings and a community center, residents can stay involved without driving
all around town. The streets inside Hoboken South Waterfront are also designed to be
pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly. Crosswalks, lights and wide sidewalks make travel on
foot enjoyable, while amenities for bikes -- including bike lanes and bike racks -- will
make cycling easier and safer.
Of course, with beautiful places to recreate and relax, residents may not want to leave
home. Where there is currently concrete and asphalt, the plan envisions new open space
that will link up with the proposed greenway along the Hudson River. Furthermore, the
designers are working to catch stormwater and construction-site runoff to protect the
The Ramapo Mountains used to be known for hiking trails, trout-filled
streams and pre-Columbian archaeological sites. Now the mountains are marred by 400
townhouses on 300 acres of blasted ledges.
Ramapo Reserve, as the project is known, should never have happened. The area in
question had been on New Jersey's Green Acres acquisition list since before the
development took place. After a bruising court battle, local public officials allowed the
development to go forward, arguing that the court decision made this necessary. But the
real motivation was likely extra tax revenue.
This project exemplifies all the problems of sprawling growth. First, by placing homes
on pads blasted into the mountain, the builder practically guaranteed that possibly
polluted runoff would pour off the steep slopes into a river that serves as a water
supply. Second, the development's "pioneering" status as the first building site
west of the Ramapo River violated existing natural boundaries and will place incredible
pressure on the natural resources in the area. Third, only the wealthy will have access to
these homes. At prices from the mid-$200,000 range to over $2.5 million, "Ramapo
Reserve" can in no way be considered affordable. And finally, because of the isolated
location and lack of public transportation, the development will force residents into
their cars for even the most limited errands.
In exchange for a few luxury homes in an isolated and car-dependent community, the
developers destroyed greenways, turned trout streams into steel pipes, carved away parts
of the Ramapo Mountains and caused other severe environmental damage.