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Hoboken Residents Split Over Proposed Washington Street Bike Lane

HOBOKEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- People in Hoboken were buzzing about bikes on Wednesday. The city council was set to consider plans that could add bike lanes to one of the city's busiest streets.

As CBS2's Elise Finch reported, residents are divided.

On any given day you'll find most of the bike riders on Washington Street using the sidewalk alongside pedestrians. They say biking on the city's main street is just too dangerous.

"It's hard for the bikes to get past the cars," Kevin Groomes said.

"You see me on the sidewalk because I'm afraid to go on the street," Miguel Maldonado added.

Maldonado applauded the city's efforts to add bike lanes on Washington.

"Anything that's safer for people who ride bikes, I support it," he said.

But business owners balked at the idea.

"Washington Street would become a one lane street that would be paralyzed every time someone has to park, pull out of a parking space, someone has to make a left, someone has to make a right," Armando Luis, owner, Sparrow Wine and La Isla Restaurant said.

"Deliveries come in, restaurant pick ups, if there's no possibility of double parking or leaving a little leeway it's going to kill a lot of local businesses," Gerard Stier, Hudson Place Realty said.

People who live and work in Hoboken seemed just as divided as bikers and business owners.

"I don't think there are enough bikers in Hoboken that it's really necessary," Sofia Barba said.

"I think it's necessary, but I think the priority should be getting rid of the potholes and making it safe to ride," Rory Bauers said.

Helen McFarlane works in Hoboken and wondered how it might affect congestion.

"The streets are already pretty congested and narrow. I don't see where they would be able to fit in a bike lane," she said.

Plans initially involved protected bike lanes between parked cars and the curb, but opposition was so strong that the idea was taken off the table.

A new plan with modified bike lanes was expected to be introduced at Wednesday's council meeting. If approved the re-design would cost $15,000.


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