Public comment due regarding possible light rail service between Newark and Paterson

The Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study offers three different options for a connection between counties. Graph via Passaic County.

Time is running out for people to submit comments on a report that focuses on ways to increase transit choices between two northern Jersey counties, such as the Newark Light Rail extension.

Passaic County Planning Council is accepting email submissions from members of the public until Sunday, August 8 regarding the Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study.

Slides presented at a virtual meeting last month indicated that the study found three options for creating new transit services between downtown Paterson and Newark, each of which would also serve Belleville, Nutley and Clifton if it was finally finished.

One of the choices outlined in the study would involve a light rail system that would start by using Newark’s light rail tracks from Newark Penn station to Newark Broad Street station before moving north near the Passaic River. . The streetcar would then travel further inland to the ON3 complex at the old Roche site in Nutley, then take Route 19, ending around Main Street in Paterson.

Paterson Newark Transit Market Research 2
Light Rail Option A. Chart via Passaic County.

Another possible streetcar route through Newark would follow the other line of the Newark Streetcar to Branch Brook Park before crossing east through the North Quarter and then heading north near the Passaic River.

Paterson Newark Transit Market Study 3
Light Rail Option B. Chart via Passaic County.

The third option would involve bus rapid transit instead of the light rail and use a route that would be similar to the first conceptual light rail route, but with some potential changes in Nutley.

Paterson Newark Transit Market Research 4
Bus rapid transit option. Graph via Passaic County.

If services are running on time, the total trip between Newark and Paterson would take 48 minutes with the first streetcar option, 51 minutes with the other streetcar option, and between 40 and 52 minutes with rapid transit by bus.

Currently, traveling between downtown Newark and downtown Paterson by public transportation requires either taking two New Jersey Transit trains and making a transfer at Secaucus Junction, or taking a local bus that stops frequently between the two cities.

The development of a new light rail service connecting two remote transit hubs in New Jersey is rare, but not unprecedented. The River Line was completed 17 years ago and connects Trenton to Camden, located over 30 miles southwest of the state capital.

If a plan for a light rail or bus rapid transit system were to be formally proposed between Essex County and Passaic County, there would still be many regulatory, environmental and financial barriers that would need to be removed for that a project progresses.

Until then, emails in response to the Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study can be sent to Andras Holzmann at [email protected] until this weekend. The Passaic County Planning Council is due to vote on whether or not to pass the study through the county master plan at its August 19 meeting.

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