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 email@example.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.
Last night, I attended a meeting of the Lackawanna Coalition in Millburn. David Antonio of Essex 2045, a planning initiative for transportation in Essex County, was the invited guest, and most of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of bus and rail transportation in Essex County.
As usual, I left the meeting about 9:10 p.m. so that I could catch Midtown Direct Train #6674 to Secaucus, where I would transfer to Bergen County Line Train #1281 to Radburn. Train #6674 arrived in Millburn on time at 9:23 p.m. and departed one minute later. It consisted of nine multi-level cars, of which three were open to passengers (and these three cars were far from full). Everything went smoothly until after we departed Brick Church, our last stop before Newark, at 9:39 p.m. We proceeded for some distance, then came to a stop. The stop lasted for at least five minutes, after which we started backing up.
During the backup move, one of the conductors made an announcement about the reason for the delay, which I could not understand. So I walked back two cars to find the three conductors seated at the front end of the third open car. I mentioned to one of the conductors that I could not understand the announcement, whereupon another conductor commented that he could not understand it, either. I was then informed that there was some problem with the signal at the interlocking, so we had to back up and then move forward again. I didn’t fully understand the explanation, but we did soon start moving forward, and we arrived at the Newark Broad Street station at 9:56 p.m. Our ride from Newark to Secaucus proceeded expeditiously, and we pulled into Track 2 at Secaucus at 10:06 p.m., 12 minutes late. Even though we were significantly late, my Bergen County Line train is not scheduled to depart until 10:28 p.m., so I had plenty of time to make my connection.
I’m still not quite sure what happened that required us to make the backup move between Brick Church and Newark.
On July 27th from 4 to 7 p.m., the New Jersey Transportation Planning Association (NJTPA) will hold a virtual open-house meeting: drop in any time to see an introductory presentation, then join staffed break-out rooms to ask questions and share your thoughts on NJTPA’s Plan 2050 (https://njtpa-plan-2050-njtpa.hub.arcgis.com). The plan includes the long-range Plan 2050 as well as draft plans for the periods 2022–2025 and 2022–2031. In addition, there is a draft Air Quality Conformity Determination. In addition to its open house, the agency is taking written comment through August 4th at Plan2050@njtpa.org. Our first comment? Do better than so many government agencies and actually allow for reflection time after their presentation before the public-comment period closes—we’d like the NJTPA to accept comments until late August.