Bad news for local motorists JC inspection station closing could affect Secaucus traffic

The expected closing of the Jersey City Motor Vehicle Inspection Station today (Sunday, Nov. 30) has raised some concerns among local officials, claiming drivers at extreme corners of county could be affected and local roads around the Secaucus Inspection Station could become a problem.

Assemblyman-elect Louis Manzo, representing Jersey City and Bayonne, said the existing station in Jersey City should not be closed until a replacement facility is open.

"It is even more disturbing that such an action would be taken without notifying the cities that this station has served, or even the legislative representatives serving and representing portions of Jersey City and Bayonne, which the station primarily serves,” Manzo said.

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission announced in early November that it would close its Jersey City Central Inspection Facility permanently on Nov. 30.

DMV officials said the result of this would be "an increased demand for vehicle inspections is expected at DMV’s Secaucus facility, located less than 5 miles from the Jersey City inspection station."

Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell said his concern with the change was the possible spillover of traffic out of the existing facility in Secaucus onto the streets.

"I do not want to see traffic spilling out into the intersection of Secaucus Road and County Avenue," he said. "That would create a traffic nightmare for an area that already sees a high volume of traffic, especially at rush hour."

Elwell was gratified to learn that DMV would be installing two additional inspection lanes at the Secaucus facility. The DMV estimated the Jersey City facility handled about 65,000 inspections a year, many of which will come to Secaucus as a result of the closing.

"That will help keep things moving," he said. "And if that can keep cars from spilling off the property, we would have no concerns."

Bayonne Mayor Joe Doria Jr. criticized the change, claiming it would inconvenience motorists from Bayonne and other far-reaching parts of the county. Doria, apparently, was not notified of the closing until he read about it in the newspapers.

Motorists also have the option of going to the Newark facility, which is located about 7 miles from the Jersey City inspection station, DMV officials said.

Among the reasons for closing the Jersey City location include a deteriorating inspection facility that in the coming years would require an expensive maintenance regimen funded by the Motor Vehicle Commission, and which would not be not cost-effective because the state does not own the building, MVC Chief Administrator Diane Legreide said.

Approximately 5,500 vehicles per month are inspected at the Jersey City facility. The MVC began inspecting vehicles at this location in 1938, the first year of the state-mandated inspection program.

The MVC expects to open a new inspection station in Jersey City after concluding a search for a new location. This search will be included in a "Siting Study." The goal of the Siting Study is to examine current and potential MVC locations, for convenience, safety and other matters related to better serving the motoring public.

About 20 Parsons Infrastructure employees now working at the Jersey City facility will be transferred to other MVC locations after Nov. 30. Parsons is contracted to operate the state’s inspection facilities. MVC, through Parsons, currently operates 32 Central Inspection Facilities statewide.

"I’ve been reaching out and asking questions about what impact it will have on the local area," Elwell said. "My first concern is not to create an impact on the street. I am asking the DMV to come up with a plan that would avoid any traffic problems."

Elwell said he has asked for background information but did not yet learn about how the DMV intends to handle the additional inspections.

"One positive change is the fact that new cars do not have to be inspected for four years," Elwell said. "That removes a lot of cars from the inspection lines."

Elwell agreed with Doria and Manzo that a facility should be more centrally located in the county to allow people from various towns to reach it easily. Elwell, however, said he would oppose the closing of the Secaucus facility if DMV constructed a new facility elsewhere.

"I would not want to see Secaucus residents having to travel to Bayonne or downtown Jersey City to get their cars inspected," Elwell said. "This inspection needs to stay where it is."


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