NJ TRANSIT approves study of light rail extension

Written by jrood

The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved a study that explores the feasibility of extending Hudson-Bergen Light Rail service farther west in Jersey City. The Board approved a $251,000 contract with AKRF, Inc., for consultant services in support of the first phase of an alternatives analysis for the extension of the light rail line. The line would extend from its current western terminus at West Side Avenue Station across Route 440 to a redevelopment zone along the Hackensack Riverfront.

"Light rail has already
proven to support economic development goals, reduce traffic on city streets
and increase personal mobility for residents," said U.S. Representative Albio
Sires. "The funding I secured for this study presents an opportunity to link
transportation planning with local land use planning, extending these benefits into
new neighborhoods."

A new station would link
the Jersey City waterfront and North Hudson to new residential, commercial and
retail development the municipality is planning approximately one-half mile
west of West Side Avenue Station.

"This study will enable
us to examine the potential for improved transit options near the redevelopment
and existing residential areas along Route 440," said Transportation
Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Stephen Dilts. "An extension of
light rail to this area would both support the development and address traffic
congestion along the heavily-used Route 440 and secondary roads."

The alternatives analysis
will mark the first step in the federal environmental process for an extension.
Among the specific items that will be evaluated are potential alignments,
station planning, park and ride locations, operational needs, cost estimates
and integration with redevelopment.

Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
opened in April 2000, connecting 12 stations along the first seven miles of the
system-from 34th Street in Bayonne and West Side Avenue to Exchange Place.
Later that year, additional stations were opened at Pavonia/Newport, Harborside
Financial Center and Harsimus Cove.

In September 2002, NJ
TRANSIT opened the Hoboken Terminal light rail station, providing intermodal
connections to commuter rail, trans-Hudson ferry, PATH and bus service. The 22nd
Street Station in Bayonne opened in November 2003, followed by the expansion of
service north to 2nd Street and 9th Street in Hoboken and
Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken in September 2004.

NJ TRANSIT opened its
newest stations-Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen and Bergenline Avenue in Union
City-in February 2006, which also marked the start of full service to Port
Imperial Station in Weehawken.

In October 2008,
construction began on a one-mile extension from the current southern terminus
at 22nd Street to a new 8th Street Station in Bayonne.