Public Comment Due Regarding Possible Light Rail Service Between Newark and Paterson

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Paterson Newark Transit Market Study 1
The Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study proposes three different options for a cross-county connection. Graphic via Passaic County.

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


The Passaic County Planning Board is accepting emailed statements from members of the public through Sunday, August 8 regarding the Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study.

Slides that were presented last month at a virtual meeting said that the study found three options for creating new transit services between the downtown areas of Paterson and Newark, each of which would also serve Belleville, Nutley, and Clifton if eventually completed.

One of the choices outlined in the study would involve a light rail system that would start by using the Newark Light Rail tracks from Newark Penn Station to Newark Broad Street station before traveling north near the Passaic River. The light rail would then move further inland toward the ON3 complex at the former Roche site in Nutley and then travel along Route 19, ending up around Main Street in Paterson.

Paterson Newark Transit Market Study 2
Light Rail Option A. Graphic via Passaic County.

Another possible route of the light rail through Newark would follow the Newark Light Rail’s other line to Branch Brook Park before cutting east across the North Ward and then traveling north close to the Passaic River.

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

The third option would involve bus rapid transit instead of light rail and would 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 Study 4
Bus Rapid Transit Option. Graphic via Passaic County.

Should the services operate on time, the total journey between Newark and Paterson would reportedly take 48 minutes using the first light rail option, 51 minutes with the other light rail option, and between 40 and 52 minutes with bus rapid transit

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

The development of new light rail service connecting two distant New Jersey transit hubs is rare, but not unprecedented. The River Line was completed 17 years ago and connects Trenton with Camden, which is more than 30 miles southwest of the state capital.

Should a plan for a light rail or bus rapid transit system end up being formally proposed between Essex County and Passaic County, there would still be numerous regulatory, environmental, and financial hurdles that would need to be cleared in order for a project to advance.

Until then, emails in response to the Paterson-Newark Transit Market Study can be sent to Andras Holzmann at [email protected] through this weekend. The Passaic County Planning Board is scheduled to vote on whether to adopt the study through the county’s master plan during its August 19 meeting.

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