Hoboken, NJ: Visual Identity, Wayfinding System, and Streetscape Improvements

In 2014, the City of Hoboken hired M Studio, a branding and communications agency, to design a new visual identity for the City. I advised M Studio on identifying elements that define the city, refining design concepts, and creating the identity elements and standards to help Hoboken stand out among cities in the New York & New Jersey urban region.

The visual identity system builds on two of the most recognizable informal identifiers for Hoboken: The rail-spike “H” seen in the PATH subway station and on rail trestles, and the moniker “Mile Square City”. Each has wonderfully unique characteristics. The angled spikes of the “H” are both a throwback to the days when the region’s economy was first being built on the backbone of rail transit, and a nod to the city’s current resurgence based on its proximity to Manhattan by transit. “Mile Square City” is both a descriptor of the city’s size, and a reference to its compact, walkable urban character.

In the new visual identity system, these two well-known icons become the city’s official logo and tagline, along with a set of consistent, thoughtfully-designed branding elements and tools, including maps, kiosks, directional blades for intersections, a color palette, and a font family. Hoboken’s new identity is used throughout the city in a wayfinding system designed by T&M Associates, and funded by an $880,000 federal Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery. Continues…

Fitch Ratings: Business Intelligence Powered by Credit Ratings

Fitch Ratings hired me to rebuild the company’s digital platforms to position it as a provider of business intelligence powered by credit ratings. I established a global digital and social team, partnered with engineering to redesign and migrate 22 websites to a single, customer-centric platform, and worked with marketing to drive audience growth. I also started the company’s use of podcasting, created new tools to package content using editorial features, video, and data visualization, updated brand and graphic standards, introduced new logo and brand elements designed for digital and social platforms, and built the largest Twitter audience among credit rating agencies. These changes doubled subscription revenue to $150M, and helped push rating revenue past $1B for the first time in the company’s history. Continues…

34 St-Hudson Yards: A Look at the 7 Subway Extension to the Far West Side

At the MTA board committee meetings this week, officials showed a preview of the 34 St-Hudson Yards station, due to open later this spring. The station entrance canopy and surrounding park are complete, and the ventilation building will be surrounded by 55 Hudson Yards, a 51-story office tower outlined in yellow. To support the tower, two rows of five caissons are being sunk in the area adjacent to the ventilation building, six of which will be sunk between the two subterranean escalator banks that lead to the station’s mezzanine.

7 Extension - 34 St Hudson Yards exterior

The 7 Train extension to Hudson Yards was funded by New York City using bonds backed by future tax revenues from the new Hudson Yards neighborhood.

34 St – Hudson Yards is not the deepest station in the system, but the station’s escalators span an 84-foot vertical drop, longer than any other in the subway system. For comparison, the escalators at Lexington Ave – 53 St station span a 56-foot vertical drop. Continues…

100 Works Designed and Constructed by Women: Built By Women New York City

In 2014, supported by grants from the New York Building Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation began a project to identify buildings, structures, and built environments in New York City that are designed or constructed by women. The criteria:

The structure or built environment must have a woman who was directly responsible for leading the design (architecture, engineering, or landscape) or who led the construction, either from the development or construction management team. Projects must be completed or have broken ground and located in New York City.

100 Works Designed and Constructed by Women: Built By Women New York City

A jury of eight leading women in architecture, landscape, engineering, design, and planning identified 100 civic, commercial, cultural, institutional, landscape, mixed-use, residential, transportation, and urban design projects, and in December, they published Built By Women New York City (BxW NYC). This is a wonderful celebration of the women who have made New York City what it is today, and the foundation is planning a series of public events to draw greater attention to these important works: Continues…

Hoboken City Council Should Vote Unanimously to Fund Uptown Flood Pump

Update (February 23): The Hoboken City Council voted 7-2 to approve a resolution to issue bonds for the uptown flood pump. Council Members Bhalla, Castellano, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mello, and Occhipinti voted in favor; Council Members Mason and Russo voted against. The 7-2 margin means the resolution achieved the two-thirds majority necessary to authorize the expenditure, which means the City can move forward with its application for the low-interest loan for the project.

In December, the Hoboken City Council unanimously approved moving forward with construction of a second flood pump in uptown Hoboken. The project would be funded by a bond issuance, the proceeds of which would be used to pay back a low-interest loan provided by the state at a historically low 0.5-0.75% interest rate. In addition, 19% of the loan’s principal would be forgiven at closing using federal Hurricane Sandy recovery funds. The pump would be operated by the North Hudson Sewerage Authority (NHSA) under a 99-year lease from the City. Continues…

Space Under Hoboken’s New 14th Street Viaduct Will Anchor Neighborhood Development

In 2011, Hudson County broke ground on a $55M project to replace the 14th Street Viaduct, an elevated structure connecting Hoboken with the Jersey City Heights and Union City. The original viaduct, completed in 1908, had become structurally deficient and functionally obsolete, and after the 2007 collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, Hudson County accelerated plans to replace the aging structure. Major construction of the new viaduct structure and roadway wrapped up in mid-2014:

The new Viaduct is an eight-span, 1177-foot long structure, constructed entirely of multi-steel girders and includes extensive traffic improvements such as modern LED 12-inch traffic signals for the intersections at each end. In terms of total cost, the 14th Street Viaduct replacement was the most expensive—and perhaps the most challenging—local roads project in Hudson County history.

14th Street Viaduct from Parking Structure - 2014

In 2010, Hudson County and the City of Hoboken unveiled plans for public spaces underneath the new viaduct, including multi-use spaces spanning two blocks, a basketball/roller hockey court, and a pocket park surrounded by a children’s playground and dog park. Continues…

PATH Trains to Resume Normal Weekday Service Beginning 5:30AM Wednesday

From Port Authority Media Relations:

Following this morning’s winter storm, the Port Authority announced that PATH will resume its regular weekday service beginning at approximately 5:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Currently, PATH trains are operating on a weekend schedule with service operating every 15 minutes from Newark to World Trade Center and from Journal Square to 33rd Street via Hoboken. This service will continue until midnight, at which time a normal overnight weekday schedule will resume with trains operating every 35 minutes until the normal rush-hour service begins.

A welcome return. Thanks to all who keep the system running–rain, snow, or shine.

Proposed Overnight PATH Cuts Indefinitely Tabled by Port Authority

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney and New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto announced today that Port Authority Chairman John Degnan has committed to indefinitely table the proposal eliminate overnight PATH service that was included in a report prepared by Governors’ Christie and Cuomo’s special panel. The move followed strong opposition by local, state, and federal officials, and a unanimous vote by the Hoboken City Council on a resolution opposing service cuts.

In a letter sent to the two state officials after meeting with them on January 13th, Degnan said he had agreed to their request in an earlier meeting to not move forward with any consideration of the proposed cuts, and noted, “the Panel’s suggestion has not even been presented to the board of commissioners.”

Mayors of the two Hudson County cities that would have been affected by the proposed cuts issued statements thanking Degnan for taking the proposal out of consideration. Continues…

Hoboken City Council Votes 8-0 to Approve Resolution Opposing Governors’ PATH Cuts

At its meeting Wednesday night, the Hoboken City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s statement opposing cuts to overnight PATH service, and registering the Council’s opposition to reductions in overnight service. The resolution was sponsored by new Council President Ravi Bhalla, and Council Member Peter Cunningham. Council members Bhalla, Cunningham, Doyle, Giattino, Mason, Mello, Occhipinti, and Russo voted in favor. Council Member Castellano was not present.

Full text of the resolution as passed: Continues…

PATH Cuts Update: Press Conference Monday, Hoboken City Council Vote Wednesday

Federal, state, and local officials, along with labor advocates, will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to call for cancellation of a proposal to cut overnight PATH train service. According to a media advisory issued Sunday night by the office of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, the press conference will be held at 2:00PM outside the Grove St. PATH Station, at the corner of Columbus and Newark Avenues in Jersey City. Elected officials expected to attend include Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, along with Congressman Albio Sires, New Jersey Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, and New Jersey Senators Sandra Cunningham, Nicholas Sacco, and Brian Stack (who also serves as mayor of Union City). Analilia Mejia, Director of NJ Working Families Alliance, and Ken McNamara, President of CWA Local 1037, are also expected to attend.

The Hoboken City Council is expected to vote Wednesday night on a resolution supporting Mayor Dawn Zimmer’s statement opposing the proposed cuts, and signaling the Council’s opposition to the recommendation by the Governors’ special panel to cut overnight service. The resolution was introduced by Council Members Ravi Bhalla and Peter Cunningham.

The controversial proposal to cut overnight service was included in a report released the evening of Saturday, December 27 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with their veto of a reform bill that had been unanimously passed by the legislatures of both states. It has sparked widespread opposition on both sides of the Hudson from transit riders, the mayors of cities with PATH service, federal and state lawmakers, and the PATH Riders’ Council, a group of transit riders who formally advise the Port Authority:

The PATH Riders’ Council is strongly opposed to any reduction in PATH service that would adversely impact the communities it serves. We vigorously oppose the suggestion by the special panel convened by Governors Christie and Cuomo to eliminate weekday and weekend overnight service. The proposal itself comes at a time when PATH is experiencing record ridership numbers, when jobs and commuting patterns no longer follow the traditional 9-5pm, and when governments throughout the region and country are investing – not divesting – in transit. The $10M cost reduction – a tiny portion of the Port Authority’s $7.8B budget – would be devastating for communities on both sides of the Hudson, especially for hard-working New Yorkers and New Jerseyans in industries like construction, healthcare, and hospitality who rely on PATH to come home from an overnight job or commute to a job with an early morning start.

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