The American Planning Association (APA) today announced the designation of Washington Street in Hoboken, NJ as one of 10 Great Streets for 2010 under the organization’s Great Places in America program. APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value.
APA singled out Washington Street for its affordable housing options and the city’s diligent efforts to preserve the street’s historic character through design guidelines and adaptive reuse. Additionally, the street stands out for its unique sense of place, including views of the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline.
“Washington Street is Hoboken’s historic hub of community activity,” said Mayor Dawn Zimmer. “Unique, independently-owned shops, outdoor cafés, world-class restaurants, and street fairs attract young professionals, families with strollers, joggers, and bicyclists who create a vibrant urban mix of activity and street life.”
“Although Hoboken has transitioned over the centuries from an industrial region into a bustling residential community, Washington Street has thrived by adapting to the community’s evolving needs while preserving its historic character,” the Mayor continued. “The street brings pedestrians directly to retail and commercial businesses and a mix of transportation options and is a great model for similar neighborhoods and communities.”
Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities – streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live every day and are defined by many things including planning efforts, architectural styles, accessibility, and community involvement.
“We’re very excited today to name Washington Street as one of this year’s Great Streets,” said APA Chief Executive Officer Paul Farmer, FAICP. “The city is to be commended for its planning and foresight to keep Washington Street’s historic character intact and to require affordable housing so residents aren’t displaced because of increased property value,” he added.
Since APA began Great Places in America in 2007, 40 Neighborhoods, 40 Streets and 30 Public Spaces have been designated in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
Once a prosperous rail and water transportation center, Hoboken tumbled into economic decline with the containerization of cargo in the 1970s. The city’s warehouses and lack of open space could not handle the giant containers and hard times ensued.
Washington Street, Hoboken’s main commercial corridor, was on the verge of complete dereliction in the 1980s. A new generation of residents seeking lower housing costs compared to those in Manhattan brought a new sense of liveliness to the street.
In 1981, Washington Street was designated a historic district by the city. Many original buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places shortly thereafter, including Yellow Flats – home of Hetty Green, the first woman to have a substantial influence on Wall Street.
The street’s historic character is now preserved through design guidelines for any new construction or building alterations. Adding to the historic ambiance and pedestrian experience are 19th-century style lampposts, street clocks and benches.
To help long-time residents from being priced out of their homes, in 1988 Hoboken required affordable housing in the area including 140 units of low- to middle-income housing along Washington Street, with more incorporated just blocks away.
Today Washington Street bustles with activity comparable at times to avenues in Manhattan. The street hosts various festivals each year, including the Spring and Fall Arts and Music Festivals.
The nine other APA 2010 Great Streets are: Bank Street in Wallace, ID; Wydown Boulevard in Clayton, MO; Broadway Street in Red Lodge, MT; 5th Avenue in San Diego, CA; Middle Street in New Bern, NC; Massachusetts Street in Lawrence, KS; Washington Street in Middleburg, VA; Spring Street in Eureka Springs, AR; and Liberty Street in Franklin, PA.
For more information about these streets, as well as lists of the 2010 APA 10 Great Neighborhoods and 10 Great Public Spaces, and designations between 2007 and 2009, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.
This year’s Great Places in America will be celebrated as part of APA’s National Community Planning Month in October 2010; for more about the special month, visit www.planning.org/ncpm.
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Prudential Castle Point Realty
203 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
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