CITY OF HOBOKEN PREPARES FOR POTENTIAL FLOODING FROM TWO STORM SYSTEMS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2015

Contact: Juan Melli
(201) 923-9583 or jmelli@hobokennj.gov

CITY OF HOBOKEN PREPARES FOR POTENTIAL FLOODING FROM TWO STORM SYSTEMS
Residents Urged to Review Emergency Plans and Be Prepared

The City of Hoboken Office of Emergency Management is monitoring forecasts and making preparations for two major weather systems likely to impact our area. The threat of major coastal flooding, very heavy rainfall, and inland flooding has increased for Friday and Saturday, associated with the current storm system in advance of Hurricane Joaquin. Six to eight inches of additional rain are possible in the next week. The National Weather Service has issued a Coastal Flood Advisory from Thursday 6am to Friday 6am and a Coastal Flood Watch from Friday 6am to 6pm. Hurricane Joaquin may impact the region on Sunday and into early next week and could lead to major to record flooding depending on its trajectory and strength. Prior to the possible impacts from Hurricane Joaquin, several days of heavy rain will saturate the ground and high tides caused by strong winds could make it difficult for the sewer system to naturally drain into the river.

“We are closely tracking weather forecasts, talking to experts at Stevens, and planning for a serious one-two punch from back-to-back storm systems that could cause serious flooding from late Thursday into early next week,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Our Office of Emergency Management team is coordinating with all departments and agencies and making preparations to ensure the safety of our community. Most importantly, now is the time for residents to make sure that they have a plan in place and are prepared for all possibilities.”
The City has plans in place to activate an Emergency Operations Center and relocate flood-prone public safety operations if necessary. The City’s high water vehicle is ready to be deployed if needed, along with several small boats. The City will be moving municipal vehicles to higher ground along Washington Street between Observer Highway and 2nd Street as well as 13th Street to 14th Street. In addition, the City is pre-positioning backup generators, filling a potable water tank, and coordinating plans to open a shelter and distribution center if necessary.

Barricades have been pre-positioned to close off streets and “No Parking” signs have been posted in the most flood-prone areas to inform drivers of the possibility of flooding. For their own safety and to protect property, drivers must obey barricades and not drive through flooded roads. The wake generated by vehicles can cause additional flood damage to homes and businesses. Flood waters contain a mixture of rainwater and sewage, could be electrified due to fallen wires, and may conceal manhole covers that have become dislodged, so pedestrians should not walk through flooded areas.
North Hudson Sewerage Authority has been clearing out catch basins, and while a flood pump is operational, very heavy rain can still result in flooding.

Residents and businesses are urged to take the following steps to prepare:

· Sign up for the City’s Reverse 911 system at www.hobokennj.org/emergency and for email and text alerts through the Nixle system at www.hobokennj.org/alerts.
· Download weather apps, monitor weather forecasts, and sign up for weather alerts.
· Move parked vehicles from low-lying flood-prone areas to higher ground. A map of the most flood-prone areas is available at www.hobokennj.org/flooding, however flooding is possible beyond these areas.
· Bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies and secure outdoor objects such as lawn furniture or garbage cans that could blow away and cause damage or injury.
· Create a family emergency communication plan. Visit www.ready.gov/prepare and download “Be Smart. Take Part: Create Your Family Emergency Communication Plan.”
· Create an emergency kit. Some of the items in a basic emergency kit include: one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation; at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food; battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio; flashlight and extra batteries; and First Aid kit.
· Make a pet emergency kit and plan. Visit www.ready.gov/caring-animals for more information.
· Refill prescriptions, make a list of prescriptions, and check on neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled, to make sure they are prepared.

Additional readiness tips are available at www.ready.gov. For updates, visit www.hobokennj.org or sign up for email or text alerts at www.hobokennj.org/alerts.

CUNNINGHAM TOUTS NORTHWEST RESILIENCY PARK

Council Peter Cunningham today highlighted the Hoboken City Council vote this week to approve a $16.7 million bond issue with most of the funds dedicated to the acquisition of the BASF site in Northwest Hoboken for purposes of constructing a 6 acre park. It will also fund the design and engineering costs. Cunningham is one of the leaders in the effort to secure this new park

Open Space Funds and a low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Trust will serve as cost-effective funding streams for paying back the bond

Peter Cunningham said, “The establishment of a large new park will enrich our quality of life by providing more opportunities for active recreation and open space as well as serve as a bulwark against flooding. I am pleased that the Council moved forward with putting the financing in place.”

An underground storm water retention chamber will be installed in the park as part of the City’s comprehensive effort to tackle the flooding problem. A parking garage will be built adjacent to the park.

This past Spring, Peter Cunningham sponsored and led the successful fight to proceed with an application for a low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Trust which is serving as a major funding source for the new park.

Cunningham represents the 5th Ward.

Plans Proceed for 7th Street & Jackson Street Park

A proposed new 2 acre park is a central component of a proposed redevelopment project for 7th Street and Jackson Street and the surrounding area. The project will feature a municipal gymnasium, providing a convenient location for teenagers as well as adults from our neighborhood to play basketball and other indoor sports. It also will include an advanced stormwater detention system to curb flooding, and mixed residential and commercial development along the western portion of the site, next to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line. This project is currently in the community feedback stage. It provides another important opportunity for more park space.

Southwest Park Construction Moving Forward

Construction of a new Southwest Park is scheduled for this Fall. It is located on property bounded by Jackson Street, Observer Highway, Harrison Street, and Paterson Avenue.

As with the planned new park for the BASF site, this park will also be designed to be part of the City’s front-line defense against flooding. It will be built to hold 200,000 gallons of rainwater. The bond issue approved at last week’s Council meeting will also provide funding for this park.

Cunningham Spearheads More Progress Towards a 6 Acre Park

With Peter Cunningham leading the fight, the City continues to take the steps essential to moving forward with the construction of a new 6 acre park at the BASF site at 11th and Madison Streets.

The City Council voted last week to approve a $16.7 million bond issue with most of the funds dedicated to the acquisition of the BASF site. It will also fund the design and engineering costs for the park and a new 900 car parking garage to be built adjacent to the park.

Open Space Funds and a low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Trust will serve as cost-effective funding streams for paying back the bond.

An underground storm water retention chamber will be installed in the park as part of the City’s comprehensive effort to tackle the flooding problem.

Peter Cunningham said, “The establishment of a large new park will enrich our quality of life by providing more opportunities for active recreation and open space as well as serve as a bulwark against flooding. I am pleased that the Council moved forward with putting the financing in place.”

This past Spring, Peter Cunningham sponsored and led the successful fight to proceed with an application for a low interest loan from the New Jersey Environmental Trust which is serving as a major funding source for the new park.

Cunningham Alerts Residents to Upcoming Flood Insurance Claim Deadline

Policyholders with the National Flood Insurance Program who believe that they were underpaid on their Hurricane Sandy claims must register to have their claim reviewed by September 15.

To be eligible for the review, policyholders must have experienced flood damage between Oct. 27, 2012 and Nov. 6, 2012 as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Policyholders can call the NFIP’s Hurricane Sandy claims center at 1-866-337-4262 to request a review.

Alternately, policyholders can go online to www.fema.gov/hurricane-sandy-nfip-claims to download a form requesting a review. The downloaded form may be filled out and emailed to FEMA-sandyclaimsreview@fema.dhs.gov to start the review process.

For individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability using 711 or VRS, please call 866-337-4262. For individuals using a TTY, please call 800-462-7585 to begin the review process. Before contacting the claim center, policyholders are asked to have their flood insurance carrier name and policy number at hand.

Cunningham Backs New More Visible Stop Signs as a Needed Safety Step

Peter Cunningham strongly supported and voted to move forward with the purchase of 19 light up stop and yield signs. Three of the new ‘blinker’ stop signs are slated for 15th and Bloomfield Street, while 3 of the new yield signs will be installed at 15th and Garden Streets. The intersections of 9th and Willow and 13th and Willow are under consideration for placement of new signs as well.

Peter Cunningham said, “The enhanced visibility of these new signs will make Hoboken a safer place to walk, bike and drive.” Cunningham encouraged 5th Ward residents to contact him if they think there is an intersection in their neighborhood that should be evaluated to see if a more visible sign would increase safety.

The total cost of the 19 new signs is $28,887.

Fall Training Sessions to Be Held For People Interested in Joining Hoboken’s Community Emergency Response Team

Noting that people are as, if not more, important than infrastructure and equipment to effectively responding to intense storms and other disasters, Peter Cunningham urged any interested 5th Ward resident to sign-up for scheduled fall training sessions and become a member of Hoboken’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Cunningham praised the dedication and skill of Hoboken’s CERT Team, pointing to the fact that they have been recognized as “Community Preparedness Heroes” by FEMA, and CERT Coordinator Lou Casciano was honored as a Community Preparedness and Resilience “Champion of Change” by the White House.

According to the City, “CERT training promotes a partnering effort between emergency services and the people that they serve. The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of neighborhoods, community organizations, or workplaces in basic response skills. CERT members are then integrated into the emergency response capability for their area. CERT members also participate in assisting with large scale community events, staffing emergency shelters, and various other ways.”

The free, day-long training sessions will be held at the Multi Service Center, 124 Grand Street according to the following schedule:

10/24/2015 – Disaster preparedness & Fire safety
10/25/2015 – Disaster medical operations 1 & Disaster medical operations 2
11/1/2015 – Light search and rescue operations & CERT organization
11/7/2015 – Disaster psychology & Terrorism in CERT

The final drill and exercise location and date will be announced during the class.

Participants must attend every module of training as well as participate in the final emergency simulation exercise in order to receive certification as a fully trained CERT Team member.

If you are interested, submit an online application at: http://hoboken.seamlessdocs.com/f/cert.

Cunningham Urges Residents to Provide Feedback on Southwest Redevelopment Plan

Peter Cunningham is urging interested 5th Ward residents to complete an online survey about the Southwest Redevelopment Plan at www.hobokennj.org/swplan. “While this redevelopment effort is not taking place in our neighborhood,” said Cunningham, “how it proceeds will have a substantial impact on the whole city. I urge 5th Ward residents to take this opportunity, for our voices to be heard.”

Cunningham noted the feedback provided by residents made a big difference in improving the Western Edge Redevelopment Plan taking place in the City’s northwest, ensuring the decisions made about that area factored in the interests and needs of all Hoboken.

The Southwest Redevelopment Plan Area consists of nearly 18 acres, bounded, roughly, by Paterson Avenue and Observer Highway on the north and the Jersey City boundary on the west and south. According to the City, “The redevelopment plan will address the various land uses, appropriate density and height of buildings and opportunities to encourage neighborhood goods and services. Finally, the plan will also strive to increase public parks and open spaces.”

Nearby Intersections Now All Way Stops

As part of a citywide effort to make Hoboken a safer place to walk, bike and drive, two nearby intersections now require all way stops: the corners of 9th Street and Willow Avenue as well as 15th Street and Bloomfield Street.

Other improvements underway include widening bike lanes and adding curb bump-outs at intersections. Improvements are being made to the intersection of 14th and Garden, and all intersections on Clinton Street north of 10th Street. To ensure our children are safe walking to school, a traffic assessment is being conducted for our elementary schools, which includes a review of school crossing guard placement, and increased deployment of traffic control officers during rush hours. This systematic approach to pedestrian safety is informed by the success achieved in reducing accidents and injuries by putting in place targeted traffic control and calming measures at the Hoboken Path Station.

The City is also working with New Jersey Transit to implement changes to reduce the long lines at bus stops heading out of the north end of Hoboken on Clinton Street through skip stops and other proven techniques. Peter Cunningham said, “Ensuring Hoboken is a safe and inviting place to walk and bike is essential to our quality of life. This requires constantly making improvements. That is exactly what I am working hard on to make sure we continue to do.”