Our waterfront, starting near the future Hoboken Cove Boathouse uptown, and continuing through Pier A park downtown, is Hoboken’s crown jewel. It’s what makes Hoboken special. Unparalleled views of Manhattan, right on the water, with convenient and reliable public transportation. And a level of walkability that’s unparalleled.
Thanks to the efforts of many people and groups, namely the Fund for Better Waterfront, almost all the Hoboken waterfront is open for the public to enjoy. The last remaining area, currently owned by the Union Dry Dock Company, is the last remaining piece of our unconnected waterfront.
Hoboken’s efforts to alleviate the lack of connectivity in this area is critical if Hoboken is to reach its full potential. A fully connected waterfront would give all of us an unobstructed ability to enjoy our city’s greatest resource. We couldn’t be more hopeful that this area will one day turn into a grand park for future generations to enjoy.
And yes, this pilot program will close down public parking spots. That’s a good thing. Why? Because there is a high cost to free parking. It may seem counterintuitive (more parking seems like a good thing), but there’s a multitude of evidence that free public parking encourages cities to scale themselves to fit cars more than people.
A great Freakanomics podcast (embedded below) discusses how 30% of the people in cars in Brooklyn are simply cruising for a parking space. Public street parking is one of the worst allocations of city resources in that we all subsidize a stationary object that’s rarely in use. And as Andrew Price has notes, most cars pay cheaper rent than people.
We’re very excited that our city is taking steps to show the public how valuable a fully connected waterfront will be. Don’t forget that this weekend also has free bike share options as well.
Freakanomics Podcast on Why Parking is Hell (a must listen)