NJ Transit OKs new light rail route

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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Exchange Place stop on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line, Jersey City, N.J. Photo: Aude via Wikipedia

NJ Transit has chosen a route for its expansion of its light rail network that will enable the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to finally live up to its name.

In a unanimous vote, the agency’s Board of Directors approved the proposed alignment of the HBLR for the first time into Bergen County. Since opening in 2000 operations have been limited to Hudson County.

Original cost estimates were $800-900 million. No details were provided on funding.

The vote approves selection of the “Locally Preferred Alternative” required to complete the federal environmental review process. It also authorizes the submission of the new route to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Board of Trustees for inclusion in their Long-Range Regional Transportation Plan.

The action also enables NJT to begin design and engineering activities when the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision from the Federal Transit Administration is completed. The agency gave no timeline for that.

The selected route consists of a 10-mile two-track extension from its current terminus at Tonnelle Avenue in Jersey City north to the Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, generally along CSX Transportation’s Northern Branch running track. Plans include construction of seven stations in North Bergen, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, and three in Englewood, along with parking for more than 2,700 vehicles.

Service is proposed to operate from 5-10 a.m. with six-minute headway during the peak period and 15-minute headway off-peak. NJT estimates average weekday daily ridership of 12,370 passengers by 2030.

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