About a 15-minute drive from downtown, 100 acres of vacant land on Jersey City’s West Side may someday host a new waterfront community just like Newport and Exchange Place, only along the Hackensack River instead of the Hudson. In anticipation of this, NJ Transit is holding hearings about plans to build a light rail stop there.
Transit officials say that connecting other Jersey City light rail stops, including those downtown, with that area is critical to its future growth.
The area in question is west of New Jersey City University, near Route 440. From the early 1900s until the mid-1950s the area was notoriously home to the Mutual Chemical Co., a chrome plant that left behind chromium contamination that had to be remediated before the West Side could be developed. Through an agreement between the Honeywell and the municipality, Jersey City plans to develop the property according to their Bayfront Redevelopment Plan, adopted by the city in 2008.
The likely expansion route will extend along West Side Avenue.
NJ Transit last week held its third public meeting with Jersey City residents to give an update on the agency’s plans to extend the light rail near Route 440, and to get feedback from the community about doing so.
Train to Bayfront
Under its feasibility analysis, NJ Transit is examining possible routes, station locations, parking implications, costs, and other likely impacts. The analysis is meant to find ways to improve transportation for current and future residents.
In revised materials released last week, NJ Transit revealed that the likely expansion route will extend along West Side Avenue. The expansion route the agency currently favors, identified in NJ Transit materials as Alternative A1, would, according to NJ Transit, cost the least to build, support the current light rail infrastructure, and minimize local impacts on the community. This plan, if ultimately adopted, would create one new light rail station and would add 9,100 new weekday rides, on average, to the system.
Currently the light rail consists of 13 stations that connect Jersey City, Hoboken, and Bayonne.
Last summer the U.S. Dept. of Transportation gave NJ Transit $237,500 to conduct this feasibility study on the expansion plans.
NJ Transit has set up a page for public comments on the light rail expansion.
The agency has requested that members of the public send in their comments by Feb. 15. To comment, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.hblr440aa.com/link.php?link=Public_Involvement_760.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com..