Northern Branch expansion will bring light rail into Bergen County
April 24, 2017
the Staff of the Ridgewood blog
ENGLEWOOD, NJ — NJ TRANSIT today continued to advance the expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system into Bergen County by holding two public hearings as part of the environmental review process.
The hearings, held at the Englewood Crowne Plaza, are part of a 60-day public comment period on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). The Northern Branch SDEIS documents the social, economic, and environmental impacts associated with the construction of the proposed action.
This comment period began on March 24, 2017, when the SDEIS was published, and runs through May 23, 2017. During this time, members of the public are invited to review the SDEIS document and submit their comments in writing or by attending one of the public hearings. Today’s public hearings included a formal presentation, an open house with information and displays as well as the ability for members of the public to submit oral or written comments.
At the conclusion of the public comment period, NJ TRANSIT will collect and review all of the comments. Provided that the SDEIS comments do not present compelling arguments for substantial revision, a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be prepared for review by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The culmination of the process is that the FTA will issue a Record of Decision (ROD) approving the project to advance to engineering. Once the ROD is issued and funding is identified, the project could then advance to final engineering, as well as the negotiation of an agreement with the freight railroads (CSX and NYS&W), and into construction.
About Northern Branch project
The Northern Branch project will extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system by 10 miles and include seven new station stops in five municipalities. The electric light rail service would operate on West Side Avenue in North Bergen, and then on existing railroad right-of-way owned by CSX Transportation (CSX) between 91st Street in North Bergen and the northern border of Englewood and would introduce new station stops in North Bergen, Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Leonia, and Englewood.
The extension is projected to add 12,370 customers to the system making 24,740 trips on an average weekday. The existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system transports approximately 26-thousand customers making 52-thousand trips on an average weekday (FY16).