I urge your readers to read my 4/26 letter below to New Jersey Transit about the urgent issue of saving the shuttle bus from the Liberty State Park Light Rail Station into and around our waterfront urban state park. I urge people who care about this LSP public access issue to please contact NJT Executive Director James Weinstein at JWeinstein@njtransit.com or to call (973) 491-8800.
Dear New Jersey Transit Executive Director James Weinstein,
As president of The Friends of Liberty State Park, the 900 member organization dedicated to improving and protecting Liberty State Park (LSP), and the son of Morris Pesin, LSP’s “father”, I urge you to fund the essential and crucial shuttle bus service which takes park visitors into and around NJ’s great urban state park from Liberty State Park’s Light Rail Station.
Last year, NJT abolished the LSP shuttle bus number 305, which ran continuously since the opening of the LSP Light Rail station in May, 2000. This was an unconscionable assault on visitors to this popular NJ urban state park. How can we have one of the world’s greatest urban parks in an extremely densely populated area with no mass transit to get into it or around it?
Without the number 305, the public is forced to either drive a car or walk a difficult 1.3 miles from the LSP Light Rail station to reach the ferries to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island at the historic landmark CRRNJ Terminal. It is 2.4 miles to the picnic area at the park’s South Overlook Lawn behind Lady Liberty. Without a car or a very long walk in all kinds of weather, the public has no other means to access the destinations within this waterfront urban state park.
Please restore the shuttle. Access to the park should be a priority; it is vital to the public interest. I understand that NJ Transit has budgetary constraints, but how does one justify severing access to this state park to families, seniors, the disabled and area hotel tourists who do not have cars? How can an agency on the one hand encourage the public to give up their cars, yet on the other hand deny mass transit when there are no other mass transit choices? Throughout the state, services have been cut where the traveler will have to make other less convenient mass transit choices, but at least they have other choices. Right now, without a car, people cannot picnic, participate in varied recreation activities, visit Liberty Science Center , reach the ferry to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, dine in or work at LSP’s two fine restaurants, or attend nature/history programs
I appreciate the assistance NJ Transit and Hudson County provided last year by working together to temporarily fund limited service for the summer. Summer 2011 weekend service is vitally needed and deserved as a bare minimum, but it is NJT’s responsibility to Hudson County citizens and tourists and the importance of LSP, for a permanent solution to be addressed and found.
It would be a travesty to end mass transit into NJ’s beloved urban state park. During these hard economic times, the urban people need and deserve LSP more than ever before. LSP has an extremely beneficial mental, physical and spiritual health impact on all who visit. With the county’s budget strained, and with the shuttle bus linking Light Rail to this state park being a state responsibility, we urge NJT to do “the right thing” and not abandon all who must go to LSP by mass transit and who need and deserve public access to LSP.
Sam Pesin, president
The Friends of Liberty State Park