On Wednesday, the New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) board of directors authorized a major pedestrian and traffic circulation improvement project at Newark Penn Station that will enhance safety, reduce vehicular congestion, strengthen the facility's connection to the downtown business and entertainment district, and create an estimated 125 jobs.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded (ARRA) improvements are planned for Alling Street and Raymond Plaza West, which extends along the station's main entrance from Market Street to Raymond Boulevard.
"This improvement project is estimated to create more than 100 jobs while making much needed safety and traffic upgrades to enhance the commute for travelers using this busy transportation hub," Gov. Jon S. Corzine said. "We continue to invest in similar infrastructure projects involving roads, bridges and schools all across the state to further stimulate the economy and spur job creation opportunities for New Jersey's hardworking families."
Project elements include a new roundabout on Raymond Plaza West midway between Market Street and Raymond Boulevard, realigning Alling Street near the Market Street intersection, and an upgraded plaza at the corner of Market Street and Raymond Plaza West.
Other features include traffic-calming speed tables, in-crosswalk warning lights and increased drop-off and pick-up spaces. New street lighting, benches, plantings and way-finding signs also are among the improvements, along with integrated traffic signals, a taxi-queuing area, and a Greyhound Bus pick-up and drop-off area.
The project will be built in phases to minimize inconvenience to pedestrians and motor vehicle traffic, with portions of existing pedestrian and roadway pathways open at all times during the construction phase. A contract is expected to be awarded during the next month. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2011.
The NJ Transit board also approved a $251,000 contract with AKRF Inc., for consultant services in support of the first phase of an alternatives analysis for the extension of the Hudson-Bergen light rail line.
The alternatives analysis will mark the first step in the federal environmental process for an extension. Among the specific items that will be evaluated are potential alignments, station planning, park and ride locations, operational needs, cost estimates and integration with redevelopment.
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail provides more than 40,000 weekday trips between 23 stations in Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and North Bergen. The system provides a vital link between waterfront destinations, NJ Transit rail and bus routes, PATH trains and trans-Hudson ferry services.