Our Website update had the unexpected consequence of knocking our forum offline temporarily—we are getting that restored to its old spot on the original Website, as connecting it to the new site will take some creativity and technical magic (we do have someone working on the latter option; watch for updates as we figure out what is possible). What is working well on the new site is our updated Station Inspection form. The Lackawanna Coalition is reviving our 1990s practice of checking on station conditions and reporting our findings. Members will be watching their local stations, and we hope all our readers will take advantage of the form to let us know what is good or bad at their local station and at others that they visit, so that we can compile information for NJ Transit. We and NJ-ARP have been advocating for riders for a long time, and with your help in documenting station conditions, we can make our case—and yours—at NJ Transit.
Earlier this month, I attended a virtual meeting held by our host municipality, Millburn Township, about planned improvements around the Short Hills train station. Although I looked for the video recording on the town website, it has apparently not yet been posted, so my thoughts later in this article are from my participation late in the program. What was clear is that community suggestions are being accepted and given due consideration.
Continue Reading Report from the Chair
From the early 1970s, Maureen Ogden was greatly interested in environmental issues. She was a member of the Citizens League for Environmental Action Now as well as the Millburn Environmental Commission, of which she became chairperson.
Maureen Ogden was elected to a 3-year term on the Millburn Township Committee in 1975 and to a second term in 1978. In 1979, she was elected Mayor of Millburn (the town’s first female mayor) and her attention turned to the deterioration of service on the Morris and Essex (M&E) line and the need for reëlectrification of the M&E. Mayor Ogden initiated a meeting of counties and municipalities along the M&E to develop a consensus to make improvements in rail service, to promote safety of service, and to expedite reëlectrification of the M&E line.
This was the impetus for the formation of the Lackawanna Coalition, which was incorporated shortly before NJ Transit’s own incorporation in July 1979.
Continue Reading Remembering Maureen Ogden
Once upon a time, trolley lines built amusement parks at the end of their lines to encourage ridership. The modern-day equivalent may be the “Transit Village”: development at transit hubs, where transit users can live, work, or shop just steps from their train or bus. A report due out on September 24 by New Jersey Future assesses development opportunities at New Jersey transit hubs, according to reporting by Mike Frassinelli in the Star-Ledger (September 22).
Recently, NJ Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson attended a ceremony to name an old railroad town (Dunellen in Middlesex County, on NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line) the state’s 26th Transit Village, a community built around a transit hub. The forthcoming report from New Jersey Future has been 3-1/2 years in progress under the group’s research director, Tim Evans. Some interesting statistics dot the report:
- the highest population densities in the state can be found in Hoboken near Hoboken Terminal and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail;
- several Newark Light Rail stations are in areas where less than 1/3 of households have a vehicle;
- stations with the highest home values include Millburn, Summit, and Peapack on the Morris & Essex Lines; and, unbelievably to some motorists,
- there are NJT Rail stations where less than 1/3 of parking spaces are typically occupied (Point Pleasant Beach on the North Jersey Coast; Cinnaminson and Florence on the River Line Light Rail).
An example of a burgeoning Transit Village is Morristown on the M&E, with the newly-constructed Highlands at Morristown Station apartment building development.