This summer I attended the opening of a project that exemplifies the best of what can happen when the design process goes beyond the essential considerations of engineering and functionality.
The 14th Street Viaduct carries some 20,000 cars a day between Hoboken and points west in Union City and my hometown, Jersey City. It was a large, expensive and complex road project in which the bridge-like structure was completely rebuilt.
But we didn’t just have cars in mind. In keeping with the county’s complete streets policy, we also transformed the streetscape below the bridge, making it truly pedestrian friendly with new park space, cobblestone streets and other improvements that will calm traffic, improve safety and support revitalization of the area. And to keep our heritage alive for current and future generations, we incorporated a series of historical markers and preserved certain elements of the original viaduct, which opened over a century ago to serve the trolley cars and Model-Ts of the era.
I’m proud of what Hudson County, the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the New Jersey Department of Transportation accomplished by working together on the new bridge. It is a good example of how good design and community input—as described in the articles in this issue of InTransition—can improve mobility, promote economic development and enhance our quality of life.
Thomas A. DeGise