I believe that Harrison is trying too hard to be the next Hoboken or Jersey City (downtown area) without realizing what makes them excellent. The "Riverbend District" is completely cut off from any major supermarket, retailer, or actual gym - requiring a car. In downtown JC or Hoboken you have car ownership probably around 50-60%, and they are squareish grid sections. I've found a lot of households in Harrison own 2 cars and many even commute by car. The population of Harrison might be lower, but dependence on driving is much stronger along with Kearny.That's a good summary of the problems I've seen here.
I've concluded that it really only makes sense to live here for the type of person who wants access to the PATH train for occasional trips to the city, but who also needs to have a car for work or family in suburban NJ. It's basically a stepping stone to the suburbs for childless couples who aren't ready to commit themselves to a house yet.
To/from Harrison, PATH on the weekends is almost unusable for running errands or making regular trips to the city every weekend, as I do. The service is too infrequent and slow. The other weekend it took me 1 hour just to go from 33rd st station to Harrison because the train missed the connection to the Newark train at Journal Square by 30 seconds, so we had to wait in the cold for 20 minutes for the next train. Even just going out for dinner in Jersey City feels like a chore sometimes.
Plus, the WTC station is closing on weekends for 2 years starting next month, so getting to the city will become even less convenient. And you can't really use NJTransit trains at Newark as a faster alternative because the PATH train doesn't run frequently enough. The stars need to align for the PATH schedule to sync up with NJTransit.
At this point, I might as well bite the bullet spend a little more to live in downtown Jersey City, where you can actually walk to get to most of what you would need.
Harrison already has a HUGE bottleneck with Passiac Ave and FER Blvd, and it's only going to get worse as Kearny develops more. They tout these shuttles to the PATH station, but in reality they come every 20-30 minutes because they just sit in traffic. Buses can't move freely because they're stuck in the same traffic.
Harrison has these massive developments that take up 3-4 real blocks with no character and all rentals. The town is extremely transient because of this. I feel like as rents creep up even more (look at Cobalt Lofts) you will see mostly transplants that haven't done research. There's no way to actually invest in the growth unless you want to renovate a two family that isn't even close to the PATH. I'm better off spending that much in rent to live somewhere where I can walk to everything or shorten my commute. I also don't have to worry as much about missing the connection at JSQ on the weekend.
I also feel like a huge opportunity was missed to create street level retail on Cape May St. facing the the waterfront park that is to be built there. You could have had restaurants facing and lining the park to give it a feel similar to Sinatra Dr and to encourage more pedestrian traffic.
Meanwhile, it does look like construction at 1 Harrison Ave is nearing completion. It seems with how massive they made the sidewalk, parking will now only be on one side of the street. They are also starting construction on the other site next to Water's Edge (I believe owned by Pegasus?). I think it was a foolish idea to not continue Dey St. through that new development to increase the parking capacity in the area.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for development - I'm just not sure an entire neighborhood of "luxury" rentals will ever have any sort of community or long term appeal.