Three stations will be opening Tuesday: one at the western termination of Second Street in Hoboken, one at the western termination of Ninth Street in Hoboken, and one at Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken.
The Hudson Bergen Light Rail system will then have 20 stations in operation running from 22nd street in Bayonne to Weehawken. The new segment from the Hoboken Terminal to Weehawken is approximately 2.6 miles long.
Continuing service to Port Imperial in Weehawken, Bergenline Avenue in Union City, and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen is expected to be completed in summer 2005.
According to NJ Transit officials, service is planned as a "shuttle" operating between Lincoln Harbor and the Hoboken Terminal every 15 minutes throughout the day, and will be open to the public Tuesday afternoon. Passengers heading further south than Hoboken will need to transfer to a southbound light rail train at Hoboken. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail operates with 90-foot Light Rail vehicles equipped with 68 seats, modern heating and air conditioning systems, and wheelchair securements, and are fully accessible to people with disabilities. "It's an exciting time for Hoboken," said Hoboken Mayor David Roberts Wednesday night. "We're adding one more element to Hoboken's wide array of mass transit options."
He added, "Just look at what we have - light rail, heavy rail, ferries, and the PATH and buses all within one square mile."
The mayor also said that the opening of the light rail signifies the rebirth of a formally industrial neighborhood. When word of the light rail's western track spread through the city, real estate speculation flourished. Blighted factories are now supermarkets, retail stores, and housing. "In addition to be a great transportation tool for our residents, it will also be an economic engine for the area," Roberts said.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner said that is an important event for not only for Weehawken but for all of Hudson County.
"We're absolutely thrilled," said Turner Thursday afternoon. "The light rail will make it possible for Hudson County residents to travel north and south within the county without having to get into their cars."
Turner added that the Lincoln Harbor stop would be an economic boon for the city. Currently, Lincoln Harbor's biggest employer, UBS, has to bus many of its employees from the Hoboken PATH station. The light rail, he said, will make Lincoln Harbor that much more of an attractive locale to do business. And next year, he said, it will connect to Port Imperial with its parking and ferry service, which will tie together all of Weehawken's transportation options.
Bayonne to Weehawken
State Senator and Bayonne Mayor Joseph V. Doria said he was very pleased with the progress of the light rail. "The extension to Weehawken is a very positive development," Doria said. "I'm very happy to see the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail continue. People will be able to travel between Bayonne and Weehawken."
Doria fought hard as an assemblyman and a mayor to make certain the light rail project extended into Bayonne. The initial plans did not call for a Bayonne link. He also served in the Assembly as the chairman of the Light Rail expansion panel.
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg and Hoboken residents U.S. Rep. Robert Menendez and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine played a significant role in bringing in federal funds to the light rail project. The total project, up to North Bergen, will cost approximately $2.3 billion and is being funded by federal and state sources.
Because light rail trains cross active streets, NJ Transit reminds residents of the following safety precautions:
Cross light rail tracks only at designated areas such as sidewalk or street crossings.
* Do not use the tracks as a shortcut.
* Do not go near the overhead wires.
* Never place foreign objects on the tracks or near the overhead wires.
* Stay away from electrical substations and fences.
* Observe all traffic signals and grade crossing protection devices at street intersections.
* Obey all posted signs.
* * Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists must be careful when approaching intersections crossed by the light rail system.