Wednesday, December 14, 2011

DEIS eyes LRT for Bergen County, N.J.

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New Jersey Transit Tuesday posted the release of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for rail service in the Northern Valley portion of Bergen County, N.J., across the Hudson River from New York City. With the standard no-build option as a baseline, NJT outlines two light rail transit options, each an extension of the existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Transit (HBLRT) service now reaching as far north as North Bergen (Hudson County), N.J. 

njtˍlogo.jpgEach of the two options would extend HBLRT north into Bergen County for the first time. One option would terminate in Englewood, while the second “preferred” option would end one municipality further north, in Tenafly. The choices selected may be in large part political in nature, since Tenafly officials have voiced continual “concerns” over any potential LRT presence in the borough. 

Publication of the “Northern Branch Corridor” DEIS by NJ Transit is the first public action taken by the corporation since plans for a trans-Hudson rail tunnel were terminated by Gov. Chris Christie late last year. NJT officials repeatedly had suggested at public hearings that an eventual “one-seat ride” would be possible for Northern Valley residents to Manhattan via the new tunnel, even though no specific plans were ever drawn up for such a possibility and motive power compatibility was a significant obstacle for such implementation. 

Repeatedly urged by state rail advocates to reconsider its position, NJT in July 2009 instead announced it intention on extending HBLRT instead, per still earlier plans.

NJT will hold public hearings in late January for comment on the DEIS.