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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Done!

Couldn't leave a message for the Gov today (closed for the holiday). So imma send Johnny an email: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/about/contact/

Posted on: 2010/1/18 17:21
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Bump! Call 1st thing Monday Morning!! Quote:
BrightMoment wrote:
Embankment Preservation Coalition-Rail Corridors Bill

Posted on: 2010/1/16 23:01
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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I see an ad from Coca Cola in today's Wall Street Journal toting its sponsorship of the rails-to-trails program which helps convert rail tracks into bicycle tracks/outdoor trails. Someone might want to contact this org and see what they can do for Jersey City.

http://www.livepositively.com

Posted on: 2010/1/13 18:44
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Although the Chief Justice's credentials might warrant a premium, I think the average taxpayer might might have hard time accepting $580/hr as a reduced public service rate -- even though I'm quite certain it represents a substantial discount from his standard rates.

For comparative purposes, the US State Department pays an equivalent hourly rate of about $200/hour for specialized consulting attorneys.

I sure do hope the Chief Justice is worth his hourly rate, as this exercise will take some amount of skill and finesse to arrive at a result both parties can live with. At the end of the day, it probably will come down to what number Mr. Hyman will accept to go away and leave the embankment for the community.

I wish the Chief Justice all the best!

G

Posted on: 2009/12/1 16:21
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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The City Council voted Nov. 24 to hire former Chief Justice James Zazzali to mediate. Zazzali will be paid $580 an hour, a "reduced public service rate," for about 40 hours or a total of $25,000. The city will split the cost with Hyman and Conrail.


Jesus, I wonder what the FULL rate is?

The way I see it, the APPEALS Court decision settled the issue in favor of the developer unless and until the City gets an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, an extremely dubious prospect.

I must admit, its rather UNIQUE to submit an issue to arbitration that has already been decided by an appelate court. OBVIOUSLY Hyman wont participate in a BINDING arbitration because he has already won in high court, unless he is as crazy as some of these posts imply.

Posted on: 2009/12/1 15:46
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Mediator to tackle Jersey City's Sixth Street Embankment issue
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Mediator to tackle Jersey City's Sixth Street Embankment issue

By Melissa Hayes/The Jersey Journal
November 30, 2009, 4:49PM

The Jersey City Council has hired a mediator in an effort to resolve a disagreement between the city and a developer over the fate of the Sixth Street Embankment.Jersey City has hired a former Supreme Court chief justice to mediate a disagreement over the Sixth Street Embankment.

The city and community members are at odds with a developer over the fate of a 6.5-acre elevated parcel of land on Sixth Street between Marin Boulevard and Brunswick Street.

Developer Steve Hyman, whose wife purchased the land from Conrail in 2005 for $3 million, wants to build housing on the site. The city wants to see it preserved as open space and wants a Light Rail stop there.

The city filed a lawsuit in 2006 arguing that under federal law Conrail should have offered the site to the city before selling it to Hyman.

In 2007, the federal Surface Transportation Board, which has jurisdiction over rail sites, agreed with the city. But Hyman took the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which threw out the board?s decision in June, saying it didn?t have jurisdiction to hear the case.

The city and Embankment Preservation Coalition have asked the appellate court to reconsider its decision.

In the meantime, both sides have agreed to sit down with a mediator and try to reach a compromise out of court.

The City Council voted Nov. 24 to hire former Chief Justice James Zazzali to mediate. Zazzali will be paid $580 an hour, a "reduced public service rate," for about 40 hours or a total of $25,000. The city will split the cost with Hyman and Conrail.

Ward F Councilman Steve Fulop congratulated City Corporation Counsel William Matsikoudis and called the mediation "a good step."

"I didn?t think mediation was possible," he said.

Matsikoudis said Zazzali is highly respected.

"Hopefully in 40 hours time, if anybody can do it, I think he can," he said. "I think it?s a worthwhile expenditure."

Posted on: 2009/11/30 23:03
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http://www.walrusmagazine.com/article ... ban-affairs-green-giants/

Green Giants

How urban planners are turning industrial eyesores into popular public spaces

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by Tim McKeough

The most impressive thing about the High Line, the former elevated industrial rail track running along the west side of Manhattan, is how quickly it transports you to a different place. Climb a simple metal staircase up from the grimy streets of the Meatpacking District, as honking cabs compete for attention with nightclubs, meat lockers, and biker bars, and you arrive at a lush green park where the soundtrack of the city is muted. Long, linear pavers slice through thickets of grasses and flowers, occasionally peeling up from the ground to form benches. Walking from the south, the hulking steel railway viaduct offers a view of the Hudson River before cutting through a former National Biscuit Company factory, built in 1932. Along the way are public art installations and concession carts offering cookies and coffee. A little farther along is a public amphitheatre that tilts down toward Tenth Avenue, where visitors congregate on bleacher seating. Instead of a stage, it features a broad window that frames the cars and trucks coursing along below, turning traffic into urban theatre.

The High Line is the rare public project that actually delivers on the promise of the initial planning process. The real thing works just as well as, if not better than, the artistic renderings unveiled five years ago. Yet it almost didn?t happen. In the 1990s, the track was slated for demolition, but a community group named Friends of the High Line formed to preserve it, noticing that nature was already turning it into green space. They enlisted the help of celebrity supporters such as Kevin Bacon, Edward Norton, and Diane von Furstenberg, and eventually succeeded. Commissioned to design the park were landscape architecture firm Field Operations and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

?Our whole philosophy was to amplify the found conditions,? says James Corner, principal of Field Operations. ?We made it a space that offers an exciting and distinctive public experience, but in a way that captures the original post-industrial character.? Today people are using the High Line in more diverse ways than he ever imagined. While it was originally conceived as a relatively simple ?strolling garden,? the park offers spots for family picnics, bikini-clad sunbathing, and taking in cabaret shows staged on the fire escape of an adjacent apartment building.

The High Line serves as a prime example of a new kind of park taking shape in countries such as the United States, Germany, Mexico, and Canada ? one that uses the abandoned infrastructure and artifacts of industry to create distinctive public green spaces. Where we once understood parks to be the manicured places of respite envisioned by legendary landscape architects like Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of Manhattan?s Central Park, they increasingly reflect recent urban history, seeking to create a positive legacy for what were once polluting structures.

One of the reasons for this change is economic: it?s typically less expensive to reinvent industrial ruins than to remove them. Another is that cities are simply running out of green space. ?With Central Park, the land was acquired when Manhattan?s growth was still very much on the tip of the island; same pattern with Golden Gate Park in San Francisco,? says Julia Czerniak, director of the Upstate design centre at the Syracuse University School of Architecture, and co-editor of the book Large Parks. ?Now we?re going back into cities and finding military bases or old factories, and cobbling together vacant land, typically brownfields,? she notes, referring to contaminated sites. It?s not that landscape architects enjoy cleaning up degraded sites, says Czerniak ? ?That?s just what we get.?

The movement to integrate decaying structures into parks and gardens actually began centuries ago. ?In the eighteenth century, with landscape gardens in England, [builders] would sometimes fabricate ruins to lend meaning, richness, and intrigue,? says Czerniak. ?The ruins added to the ambience of the picturesque landscape.? At the same time, these gardens (and the parks that followed decades later, including Central Park in 1859) established naturalistic landscape design as the standard for public green space. Faux Gothic ruins and other scaled-down buildings were sometimes integrated into these places, but the supersized blast furnaces, factories, and gas storage tanks being erected in conjunction with the Industrial Revolution weren?t exactly part of the plan.

As urban economies began to shift away from manufacturing in the latter half of the twentieth century, though, designers started considering new possibilities for abandoned industrial husks. One of the first projects to reclaim this kind of infrastructure for recreational use was Seattle?s Gas Works Park, designed by American landscape architect Richard Haag and opened in 1975. The site had previously hosted a plant that made gas out of coal from 1906 to 1956. Needless to say, the soil was contaminated when the City of Seattle began purchasing the land in 1962, but it was partially cleaned up through bioremediation, then capped with clean fill to prevent contact with chemicals. Believing that the industrial machinery had historic and aesthetic value, Haag decided to keep and reuse the dormant giants left behind by the gas company. The former boiler house became a picnic shelter, and the exhauster-compressor building became a children?s play barn featuring vividly painted pipes and machinery.

Even more influential has been the Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, located about thirty kilometres from D?sseldorf and designed by German landscape architect Peter Latz. Substantially completed in 1999, the park tames a range of intimidating industrial beasts on the site of a decommissioned 200-hectare Thyssen iron production facility. Bunkers that once stored coke and ore have been cleaned out and now host climbing walls. An elephantine former gas tank has been filled with water, an artificial reef, and a wrecked yacht to welcome scuba divers. Seventy metres above the ground, atop the old blast furnace, sits a viewing platform. The blower house and engine house are now event spaces for everything from concerts and dance performances to trade fairs and gala dinners. A visit to Duisburg-Nord isn?t just an exploration of the past; it?s an interaction with an otherworldly play space ? the Gas Works model on steroids. At Duisburg-Nord, ?The body has different relationships to the ruins, which go beyond the idea of simply looking at them,? says Czerniak.

The design philosophies explored at Gas Works, Duisburg-Nord, and the High Line are now starting to be implemented in public parks around the globe. In 2007, in Monterrey, Mexico, the Horno3 museum of steel opened up inside a former blast furnace, as part of the popular Parque Fundidora. Essen, Germany, is implementing a master plan by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas to transform the Zollverein mining complex into a destination for industrial heritage, arts, and culture. And Rotterdam, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Jersey City are all contemplating their own elevated parks on former rail lines.

In Canada, the most groundbreaking example of the trend is the Evergreen Brick Works project in Toronto, which is transforming the Don Valley Brick Works along Bayview Avenue into an environmental education and community centre. The city filled in a former quarry on the sixteen-hectare site and created a nature park there in the ?90s, but the brick-making facilities have remained largely untouched until now. Restoring and renovating the buildings is Evergreen, a not-for-profit organization that aims to make cities more livable by bringing nature back into urban spaces and schoolyards. It hopes to have the Brick Works structures ready for public use by May 2010.

?I was lucky enough to visit Duisburg-Nord, and I was just blown away by the place,? says Brick Works lead architect Joe Lobko, a partner at du Toit Allsopp Hillier, the architecture firm responsible for the project. ?The contrast between everything you imagined had been there once upon a time and what it is now, green and silent, was very poetic. There?s a sense of nature coming back in and reintegrating with this industrial environment.?

Lobko?s visit influenced many elements of the Brick Works project. For starters, much of the original machinery will remain in place. ?There are these giant machines that were used to crush the shale, and then the dust from that process was captured in another machine that is this beautiful creature with arms and legs,? he says, clearly smitten. ?It?s still there, along with the giant hoppers and conveyer belts.? Another building, home to two ninety-metre-long kilns originally used to fire bricks, will be restored and turned into an event space. Evergreen?s environmental mission will further translate into a native plant nursery, food gardens, and a farmers? market. And for adventure-seekers, Outward Bound Canada is planning a rope course and a climbing wall. The site ?has a kind of aura and magic,? says Lobko.

A somewhat more audacious proposal came forth in June of this year from Les Klein, a principal of Quadrangle Architects. Klein made headlines when he proposed to furnish Toronto?s much-loathed Gardiner Expressway with a new top deck that would hold a park. The elevated highway is routinely blamed for cutting off downtown neighbourhoods from the waterfront, so the city has been gradually trying to demolish it.

Klein argues that that?s a mistake. When construction began in 1956, the Gardiner ?was viewed as a symbol of progress and growth ? of Toronto having arrived,? he says. ?Over the years, we?ve let it become a symbol of the opposite.? He believes the expressway only appears to be a barrier to the waterfront because its underbelly has grown uninviting after years of neglect. ?If you look at it with the eyes of the past and maybe the future, you see that it?s actually a magnificent piece of urban architecture and engineering,? he says. ?There are parts of it where you really get a sense of that majesty.?

Klein?s so-called Green Ribbon would add new columns and a second deck about eight metres above the existing roadway. The seven-kilometre-long park would be populated with grasses, trees, cycling lanes and footpaths, and photovoltaic panels and wind generators to power lighting systems. He estimates that his plan would cost $500 million to $600 million for full implementation ? significantly less, he points out, than the $1.2-billion to $1.8-billion price tag for destroying the entire Gardiner and replacing it with at-grade and underground roads. When he introduced the proposal at Toronto?s ideaCity conference in June, he received a standing ovation and national media attention. Since then, he has been pitching city councillors and Waterfront Toronto. Decision-makers appear to be taking Klein seriously, and he believes he knows why: ?The High Line is really lending some credibility to the Green Ribbon.?

Cities around the world are cluttered with relics, from rusting factories and disused rail lines to abandoned military bases and former dumps. In Canada, the industrial real estate vacancy rate recently rose to 7.4 percent, a figure expected to continue climbing, according to real estate consulting firm CB Richard Ellis. Given the preponderance of raw material and the potential for inventive, economically viable public spaces, the choice to reuse these sites, retaining their original gritty character, would seem to be a logical one. So why, then, haven?t more of these post-industrial parks been popping up across Canada and elsewhere?

For one, most industrial sites are privately owned, and parks are public spaces typically funded by public money, so gaining control of those lands can be difficult. (In the case of the Don Valley Brick Works, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority expropriated the site back in 1987.) Further, city planning and permitting processes are set up to serve very specific functions, and officials may not know how to handle what are still leading-edge proposals, making political intervention important. Many citizens also have safety concerns related to toxins and the general state of decay at the sites. Finally, the equation of ?industry? with ?eyesore? remains.

As a handful of projects have demonstrated, though, it can be done. High Line designer James Corner believes his project, which was pushed through by a powerful not-for-profit organization that encountered a willing city government, is ?a great model for other cities to consider.? Many North American cities ?have residues from the nineteenth or twentieth centuries? that they?re not sure how to deal with, he says. ?There?s no reason that other cities can?t, through both investment and creative design, create amazing, distinctive, and unique public spaces.?

Posted on: 2009/11/10 1:05
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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I'm sorry but putting housing on the embankment is just plain stupid. Jersey City needs green space. Enough with bending over for these developers. They can't even sell the crap they've built already. That whole "ratables" argument is dead. When do we start seeing something we can actually enjoy for all those taxes we pay. And don't give me that "people will sue" argument over safety. That's BS.

Posted on: 2009/10/30 1:34
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Re: Jersey City Hopes for Its Own High Line
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oy @ comment #3 under story on curbed.com:

"It does have a kind of haunting beauty.

I don't think this would work as a park, b/c of the safety concerns people have in Jersey City. Jersey City today is like Manhattan in the 70s. I've never seen a cop on the street there, and tourists ogling the plants and views would be open targets for neighborhood muggers."

Posted on: 2009/10/29 22:31
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Jersey City Hopes for Its Own High Line
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Posted on: 2009/10/29 0:46
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Re: Hyman touts another victory in struggle over Sixth Street
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BrightMoment wrote:
Quote:

ianmac47 wrote:
HFS. He is either totally insane or a genius. McMansions, in the middle of a city? Sounds like a sick art project gone horribly awry.


If you'd seen Hyman's thuggish behavior of attempting to block an EPC board member from photographing architecht, Dean Marchetto's drawings he was projecting at Zoning Board Hearing you would say "totally insane".


From his flyer distribution during the campaign - spending so much money to litter our city with his own propaganda - that turned off so many people rather than getting anyone on his side and he couldn't SEE THAT? I think he is a mad man focussed on all the wrong things but like a pit bull can't get his teeth out of the wrong issue. He would be amazing if he was working for the correct side, supremely annoying but he could work on the Whale Wars boat fighting the Japan whale killings and fit right in - but this project is his own crazed obsession. I am certain his attorney's are loving this - money, money, money in THEIR pockets...and I'm certain there's a divorce or separation on it's way, I don't know what wife would put up with it.

Posted on: 2009/8/28 12:52
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Re: Hyman touts another victory in struggle over Sixth Street
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ianmac47 wrote:
HFS. He is either totally insane or a genius. McMansions, in the middle of a city? Sounds like a sick art project gone horribly awry.


If you'd seen Hyman's thuggish behavior of attempting to block an EPC board member from photographing architecht, Dean Marchetto's drawings he was projecting at Zoning Board Hearing you would say "totally insane".

Posted on: 2009/8/28 7:02
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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I am so tired of the moronic drivel on this site.

What do you think an attorney should be paid for years of work?


I would bet most of you with your high and mighty opinions do not contribute an hour to serve your community.
It's so easy to sit back and take potshots at those who really care and participate.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 14:17
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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JPhurst wrote:
As for a "pitiful fantasy," the creation of an East Coast Greenway path is not only cheaper but significantly more realistic than the light rail that you support. For the umpteenth time, Ian, NJT HAS NO INTEREST IN CONSTRUCTING A LIGHT RAIL THROUGH THE BERGEN ARCHES. It is not part of their plans, and never has been. After the southern extension to Bayonne is complete, the next step, if there is any money at all for light rail in the next Governor's administration, will be to extend the light rail from North Bergen to Tenafly. If the light rail was to go to Secaucus, a more likely route would be from the current stop at Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen. That's what the Hudson County freeholders committed to lobbying for years ago.


Frankly I think an extension of the light rail anywhere right now is a fantasy. Support for extensions are fragmented. Legislators outside the region have little interest in spending money on the project. Legislators within the region all have their self-interested motivations, which mostly included a half dozen different routes going from everywhere to Paterson or Tenafly or Hackensack or elsewhere. Unfortunately, the most likely result with probably be a bus rapid transit system through the arches, which really doesn't accomplish anyone's goals.

NJ Transit's current objectives are really irrelevant. They take their directives from the Governor, and their agenda is largely dictated by compromises reached between the legislative leadership and the governor's office. For Hudson County that really means we need to hold onto a few state senators and assembly people for more than two or three terms so that they gain seniority. Unfortunately they keep dropping dead or getting indicted or getting replaced by the machine.

All of this really means nothing is going to happen with the Arches for many years to come. And assuming Hyman is thwarted, nothing likely will come of the embankment for at least as long or longer.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 13:56
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FGJCNJ1970 wrote:
I really can't wait to see the embankment torn down. Take it down, replace it with middle-to-high end housing and the entire downtown real estate market will receive a major, much needed boost.



I've heard this argument before. Who said this? Ummm.....

OH YES! It was former Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini! Wonder what she's up to these days?!

Posted on: 2009/8/26 13:20
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The idea that the Bergen Arches will one day become part of the East Coast Greenway is a pitiful fantasy.

The NJDOT Best Use study supports a mass transit option for the Bergen Arches.

The Jersey City Downtown Circulation study supports a mass transit option for the Bergen Arches.

While a remediation plan for the Bergen Arches might include a bicycle route option, in both the NJDOT report and Jersey City circulation study the bicycle alternative is supplemental to either light rail, rapid bus lanes, or HOV highway.


I partook in the public meetings concerning those studies. The issue of transportation corridor vs. open space was discussed, and the planners said that they were retained specifically to look at the "best use" as a transportation corridor. So yeah, if your question is "What's the best use for transportation" you can be assured that a transportation related use will come out on top. The planners acknowledged that the values of additional open space, a connection to the East Coast Greenway, were not valued in their study, because it wasn't their mandate to do so.

As for a "pitiful fantasy," the creation of an East Coast Greenway path is not only cheaper but significantly more realistic than the light rail that you support. For the umpteenth time, Ian, NJT HAS NO INTEREST IN CONSTRUCTING A LIGHT RAIL THROUGH THE BERGEN ARCHES. It is not part of their plans, and never has been. After the southern extension to Bayonne is complete, the next step, if there is any money at all for light rail in the next Governor's administration, will be to extend the light rail from North Bergen to Tenafly. If the light rail was to go to Secaucus, a more likely route would be from the current stop at Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen. That's what the Hudson County freeholders committed to lobbying for years ago.

The East Coast Greenway path, by contrast, has the support of the East Coast Greenway Alliance itself. Then Representative Menendez had earmarked money for it in the house, and could do so again in the Senate.

The ultimate obstacle to any use at this point is the legal battle between the City and Hyman. If the City does acquire the property, however, then the Greenway use is in fact a lot more realistic and viable than the light rail extension.

Assuming construction could be done in a way that would not impair the integrity of the Arches/Cut (NJT has a lousy record on issues like this), I would not have an objection to a light rail and bicycle path. But in terms of what is actually fantasy and reality, the Embankment Preservation Coalition and the East Coast Greenway Alliance have done their homework. Fantasy mappers on jclist have not.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 13:16
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Xerxes wrote:
Question:
IF it was absolutely determined that over the next 50 years NOTHING would be done to the "Embankment" in any way, would you support leaving it stand as is?


I'm across the street from it and, yes, I'd love it to remain as is. It's like having a Smithson or Heizer in your neighborhood. I admire those fantastic, raw blocks every day, love the mini-stalactites on the Erie cut. Walked through the Coles-Jersey alley between 5th and 6th the other day--more gorgeous wall, ivy, etc.

One of my favorite things in the area. As is.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 12:16
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The Embankment's relationship to property values has a lot to do with proximity. Houses on Fifth street that have backyards abutting the wall have a lot to lose if the embankment comes down or if houses are built on top. For that matter they have a lot to lose if its converted into a park; just imagine what it will be like living with a backyard open to gawkers and perverts to stare at all the time.

But for houses on Sixth Street facing the embankment there probably is value in removing the structure and replacing it with a park, or even a row of houses. The embankment property is not well maintained at street level; the grass goes uncut, there is no sidewalk, and it collects trash. So houses facing the embankment property would gain in value if the wall came down.

Then of course there is the neighborhood in proximity to the embankment. If new housing on the embankment property is super-luxury, the influx of money probably will beget more money, thereby increasing values in the surrounding blocks.

Then of course there is the possibility of constructing a light rail line along the property. Such a project would probably be detrimental to the values of property immediately adjacent to the embankment, because of noise concerns. On the other hand, if a station were built on the western side of the downtown, property values would almost inevitably rise, as they have along the current light rail line. Housing in proximity to the station, but not adjacent to the property rise too.

Finally, if nothing is done, and the embankment remains, its likely properties further east will appreciate more quickly as they are closer to existing transit and with a finite amount of housing in a market with increasing demand.

All this is to say that the rise and fall of property values are dependent on too many issues to claim a net gain or loss; some people will lose or gain no matter what happens.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 3:29
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FGJCNJ1970 wrote:
I really can't wait to see the embankment torn down...
Tear it down, build high-end housing and bring in the tax revenue and lower our freaking obnoxiously high property taxes.

FG


??
But that's what we do with every other parcel of land downtown.

Hasn't worked yet.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 2:41
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Quote:

FGJCNJ1970 wrote:

....drivel...



(-1) Everything he said except reversed.

Plus I pay more taxes than FGJNJ1970 so my opinion counts more.

Posted on: 2009/8/26 2:21
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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I really can't wait to see the embankment torn down. Take it down, replace it with middle-to-high end housing and the entire downtown real estate market will receive a major, much needed boost.

Right now having this eyesore does nothing for us. And with JC running major deficits now, the embankment supporters are kidding themselves that they will make the embankment the equivalent of NYC's High Line. And there will be no light rail there either. (same folks will protest that too).

Plus, did you see how much the city is spending on lawyers to defend this thing. I'm sorry. This is my and your tax dollars being wasted. Tear it down, build high-end housing and bring in the tax revenue and lower our freaking obnoxiously high property taxes.

Thanks

FG

Posted on: 2009/8/26 2:01
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The idea that the Bergen Arches will one day become part of the East Coast Greenway is a pitiful fantasy.

The NJDOT Best Use study supports a mass transit option for the Bergen Arches.

The Jersey City Downtown Circulation study supports a mass transit option for the Bergen Arches.

While a remediation plan for the Bergen Arches might include a bicycle route option, in both the NJDOT report and Jersey City circulation study the bicycle alternative is supplemental to either light rail, rapid bus lanes, or HOV highway.

Posted on: 2009/8/25 23:13
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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Anything built for commercial purposes today is bound to be cheap and ugly and to add nothing to the community beyond the net value of its payments in lieu of taxes minus the costs of its use of city services. I'd rather see the embankment saved for future generations to use as a public resource than see its potential squandered for short term gain. This is not just another vacant lot. It's history, size and location make it ultimately most valuable as a public amenity.

Posted on: 2009/8/25 21:00
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YES.

Embankment versus hideous, uninspired development? Embankment. No question.

Posted on: 2009/8/25 14:40
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Re: Embankment- Update Thread
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YES!

1- Historical remnant of Jersey City?s railroad and industrial past.
2- Become a future segment through the Bergan Arches to the 2,600 mile East Coast Greenway.
3- Habitat for a variety of species of plants and animals.
4- Haven for migratory birds and butterflies.
5- Soaks up ground water easing the strain on the Municipal sewer system.
6- Plant life absorbs carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the atmosphere in our urban environment.
7- Not to mention the Embankment is a Municipal Landmark and on the State Register of Historic Places.

The Embankment will be a world class Park in our own back yard, a place to escape and enjoy nature all in the context of City living.

Can YOU say New York City High Line??? http://www.thehighline.org/

And could you imagine the Holy Rosary La Festa Italiana with out the embankment across the street, mio dio.

JimA

Posted on: 2009/8/25 14:08
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Let me posee a question to all those who find the Embankment desirable.

Question:
IF it was absolutely determined that over the next 50 years NOTHING would be done to the "Embankment" in any way, would you support leaving it stand as is?

Posted on: 2009/8/25 12:51
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I'm confused. Is the Embankment now saved from this loser or not?

Posted on: 2009/8/25 12:34
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Blurb in one of this week throwaways showed the bad faith of the city when the city's lawyer said "well he can always build the mansions ATOP the embankment" or words to that effect.

He as much as admitted that the city was content to NEVER use the embankment for anything and just let it stand there in perpetuity...being HIDEOUS, with or without climb up mansions.

But on a llighter side, I would LOVE to see Hyman trying to market multi-million dollar mansions alongside PACO/Villa Borinquen. That would be HYSTERICAL.
"Si, Jose', my next door neighbor is a WHITNEY!"

Posted on: 2009/8/24 13:04
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Is 4-year battle on Embankment too long, costly?

Monday, August 24, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

Jersey City has spent some $322,427 in fees on outside attorneys to try to wrestle the Sixth Street Embankment - a 6.5-acre former railroad trestle - from developer Steve Hyman; an outlay that's prompting some council members to second-guess the effort.

Attorney Charles Montange has received some $123,000 and attorney John Curley has received $198,427, city officials said.

Councilmen Peter Brennan, Michael Sottolano and William Gaughan voiced strong opposition to the legal expenditures in June after the U.S. Court of Appeals threw out a decision by the federal Surface Transportation Board that said that Conrail, the former owner of the site, never properly "abandoned" it.

Attorneys hired by the city interpreted the STB decision as meaning the city must be given a shot at buying the land for the same $3 million paid in 2005 by Hyman's wife Victoria.

When renewal of Montangue's contract came up for a vote several weeks later, Gaughan and Peter Brennan voted no, and Sottolano cast a tepid "yes."

"I don't know how long we can keep doing this without it going someplace," he said then.

Reached Friday, Gaughan said, "I've kind of had it by now. These are difficult times. We need to start making cuts (in the budget) now."

Councilman Philip Kenny agreed. "We've spent all this money now, where does it end?" he said.

Downtown Councilman Steve Fulop and Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, not usually allies, are on the same side on this issue.

"It's not an opportunity that comes along every day and it's wise that the city continue to ensure that there's recreation and open space for its citizens and to stand by a large group of residents who are proponents," Fulop said, alluding to the Embankment Preservation Coalition, which is pushing to turn the land into a park.

Healy envisions the land as a trail for biking and walking and a light rail link to Secaucus Junction, which would allow out-of-town commuters to park there instead of driving into Jersey City to reach the PATH.

"We think it is important to preserve a right of way for mass public transportation ... and to keep a walking and bike path there for the use of our citizens and visitors," Healy said.

Stephen Gucciardo, president of the Embankment Preservation Coalition, said the city needs to keep fighting.

Posted on: 2009/8/24 13:00
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Fate of Embankment in U.S. District Court's hands

Monday, August 24, 2009
By AMY SARA CLARK
JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

The fate of Jersey City's Sixth Street Embankment will be decided in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

On Aug. 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals stuck to its guns, rejecting a plea from the City of Jersey City to reverse itself and allow legal decisions over the 6.5-acre elevated stretch between Marin Boulevard to Brunswick Street to be made by the little-known federal Surface Transportation Board.

The Aug. 14 decision is generally seen as a win for developer Steve Hyman, who wants to build housing on the site; and a loss for the city, which wants the land preserved partly for open space and partly for a light rail corridor.

Hyman and Jersey City have been in a tug-of-war over the site since Hyman's wife bought the land from Conrail in 2005 for $3 million.

In 2006 the city filed a lawsuit arguing that under federal law, Conrail should have offered the site to Jersey City before selling it to Hyman, and in 2007 the Surface Transportation Board, or STB, agreed. But Hyman appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which in June threw out the STB's decision, saying that the board never had the jurisdiction to hear the case in the first place.

The court said that the proper venue for the case would be the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, but before bringing their case to that court, Jersey City asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision.

The Embankment Preservation Coalition wants to preserve the land as open space.

Charles Montange, an attorney representing the city, and Stephen Gucciardo, president of the Sixth Street Embankment Preservation Coalition, both said the appeal of the appeal was a routine step that they never expected to win.

"It's very rare that they would ever reconsider," Gucciardo said of the U.S. District Court. "We don't see this as anything particularly important."

But Hyman's attorney, Fritz Kahn, said he doesn't believe Jersey City has the legal standing to bring the case to District Court. "I think they're through," he said.

Montange called that claim baseless and a tactic to run up Jersey City's legal bills. "His strategy is to drive up the cost... until the city breaks," he said.

Posted on: 2009/8/24 12:56
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