Essex County Transportation Plan 2045 Comes to Lackawanna Coalition

On October 24, David Antonio, Director of Planning for Essex County, came to the Lackawanna Coalition meeting to present Essex County’s “Essex 2045” transportation project. The project is to create a plan for all aspects of transportation in Essex County and to have a vision for what Essex Country transportation will be like in the next 20 years. A grant for this project came from North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. The previous plan was the Essex County Comprehensive Plan of June 2013.

Input on improving public transportation was, of course, the reason for Mr. Antonio’s invitation. Gathering of public input comes through a web-based application via survey questions and a mapping tool. A major point of the presentation was pedestrian safety. Bloomfield Avenue is one of the busiest and most dangerous streets in New Jersey. Although upgraded infrastructure has been installed on Bloomfield Avenue in recent years, more work needs to be done to ensure pedestrian safety.

After the presentation, Lackawanna Coalition members gave comments. Some highlights: improving bus service on Bloomfield Avenue; pedestrian crossings working properly, including audio and visual countdown clocks; more weekend service on Montclair-Boonton line, Newark light rail, and various New Jersey Transit bus routes.

Essex County can be a leader in improving public transportation in New Jersey. Essex County is second densest and third most populated county in New Jersey. Multiple rail lines run through the county. Newark is a hub for multiple transportation modes, and two-fifths of residents do not own an automobile.

Submit your input on Essex 2045 by the end of the year. To do so, you can send e-mail messages to essex2045@gmail.com. Also, all are welcome to use the county’s survey and mapping tool: https://bit.ly/Essex- Survey

For more information on the program, go to the Essex County Department of Public Works site: http://www.ecdpw.org/essex-2045.php.

NJT Cuts Bus Service; Coalition Objects

New Jersey Transit eliminated 4 bus lines running in Newark and Bloomfield, while cutting service on other lines in the area.  The cuts will take effect on September 1st.  The agency decided to save one of the routes slated for elimination; the #78, which provides service between Penn Station and Broad Street Station in Newark and Secaucus, primarily during peak commuting hours.  At the same time, service on two other lines will be enhanced.
The Coalition objected to the manner in which notice of the cuts was given, because the official notice mentioned “optimization” of bus services, with mention of line eliminations relegated to the bottom of the document.  The Coalition also objected to service cuts at a time when NJT is spending hundreds of millions of dollars for high-priced dual-mode locomotives, as well as 100 multilevel railcars that will not be needed to operate planned levels of rail service.