Light Rail Extension to Jersey City’s West Side Gets Push Forward from NJ Transit

The proposed route for a light rail extension over Route 440.

NJ Transit’s board of directors today adopted a plan to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) across Route 440, and authorized its submission to the North Jersey Transportation Authority (NJTPA) for designation and inclusion in the agency’s Long Range Regional Transportation Plan, which would make the project eligible for federal funds.

NJ Transit has been studying the extension since September 2009. Under its plan, 0.7 miles of new light rail track would be laid along an elevated viaduct from the West Side Avenue station, across Route 440 to the northern end of Jersey City’s massive proposed Bayfront redevelopment project, where there would be a new station constructed. The trip between the two stations would take 1 minute and 50 seconds, and NJ Transit officials have estimated the cost of construction at $171.6 million in 2010 dollars, and $213.9 million in 2017 dollars — the expected mid-point of actual construction.

New Jersey transportation commissioner James Simpson, who is also board chair of NJ Transit, says the extension “would both support the [Bayfront] development and address traffic congestion along Route 440 and secondary roads.”

Mayor Jerramiah Healy says his administration is “pleased and thankful” that NJ Transit is pushing the extension forward.

“This extension would not only connect our city from east to west, but it would also further our administration’s goal of creating Smart Growth urban communities, more mass transit, and a cleaner environment by reducing congestion,” the mayor says.

Jon Whiten

co-founded the Jersey City Independent. He is currently the Deputy Director of New Jersey Policy Perspective.

  • James

    I love how they can find funding for the extension over 440 but expanding Newark’s Light Rail over the Passaic River into Kearny and Hoboken, and then north to Montclair, using the existing old Boonton Line tracks, no, can’t fund that, no money available for that!

    • Jim Miller

      Extend the Newark LR into Kearny and Hoboken? I would much prefer a plan that extends the HBLR through the Bergen Arches and continues on the old NJT right of way to Kearny. The old Kearny and Arlington stations could be used, as well as adding stations to serve the industrial area along Route 7. The bridge over the Passaic may be too expensive to bring back into service, but connecting Kearny to it’s own county seat in JC is more important than connecting it to Newark anyway.

      • LuisArroyo

        I don’t think so! Kearny and ALL west Hudson is Newark Township’s “Barbadoes Neck” area immediately across from Down neck Ironbound. The current Essex & Passaic county lines, as well as the Hudson & Bergen County line west of the Hackensack river once marked Newark’s Northern boundaries.

        Kearny (old union twp) nee Newark’s Barbadoes Neck and Harrison Aka East Newark of old, and the current tiny East Newark Boro are physical expansion of the city of Newark, severed when Hudson County was carved out of Essex County. This is why Kearny gets progresively more urban and crowded as you drive south. By the time you reach East Newark, Kearny feels like a clean inner city. In the 1890’s Harrison and Kearny petitioned Newark for inclusion by annexation, Trenton passed the bill, only to be vetoed by Governor Wert. Wert claimed that Hudson County would suffer if it lost such huge territory,yet other states, such as Georgia(atlanta) and NY state, allow its cities to cover different counties./Just look at New York City. ( the common tale that Newark took too long & west hudson lost interest in Newark is complete BS!)

        Newark Light Rail should continue past the Newark Broad st station to a transfer terminal at the site of the ERIE LACKAWANNA RR freight yard at 4th ave and RT21. One line goes over the NX Annie draw bridge (it can support light rail!) A stop for Kearny, one for Harrison-East Newark. The line then turns north into the Kingsland branch with a Schuyler Ave stop, Bergen ave stop, north Arlington and finally a final stop at the Lindhurst station.

        A second line continues due north to paterson on the old EL RR’s Newark Branch, to Belleville,Nutley,Athena(Clifton),and finally,Paterson.

        There has been a very clear bias seen by THIS NEWARKER (ME!) In that Jersey City is being prepped up as a wasp Anglo non hispanic white urban paradise to make up for their belief that Newark is too “minority” to ever reclaim. Jersey city is planned to replace Newark as the largest city. (The second largest city has a skyline Newark is not even allowed to dream of!)

        That’s why all the emphasis is on servicing JC with mass transportation.

        The puny NLR extension from Penn station to Broad street was NOT meant for Newarkers, rather to allow suburbanites headed to Newark Liberty International EWR airport easier access to the Airtrain EWR station.

        Newark is where all those displaced by gentrification are going to find “their place”!

  • Patrick Fermin

    Why do they have the stop all the way at the end of the Bayfront. They should move it closer to the middle so most of that area has equal access in terms of distance. So people on the southern side will have walk a pretty fa distance. Just look at the light rail stop in the Heights. The heights has only one stop and all those who live on the other side have to walk for 20 min to reach the light rail.

    Moving it towards the middle would at least make it a little easier. And whats with 2 separate parks only 1 single block away? Just combine both the parks.

    And i do Agree with Jim Miller, Bergen County is an area that, I believe, is becoming part of our own metro seeing as more and more people are finding themselves living up there and working in JC.