Living in Northern New Jersey right near the George Washington Bridge, I have done my fair share of travel to New York City. Believe it or not, the public transportation from New Jersey to New York City is really rough. Through my past experiences with traveling to NYC via NJ Transit busses and trains, I have seen the problems within the system, which former-Mayor Bloomberg calls a “serious and urgent problem.” The demand for travel from New Jersey to New York City is HUGE. The importance for changes in public transportation from New Jersey to New York City is high, with estimates suggesting travel demand between the two states will increase 38 percent by 2030.
Fortunately, the No. 7 train is extending into New Jersey, hoping to make travel for the approximate 128,000 riders much more efficient. The No. 7 train currently runs from Times Square (southern end) to Flushing in Queens (northern end). If it were to run from Secuacus all the way to Flushing, it would be a huge change in travel for the public from New Jersey to New York. This idea of extending the No. 7 line has been around since the 70s, but back in 2010, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration started exploring the idea again. Bloomberg brought the idea to life, but it was made a reality by Steven Spinola of the Real Estate Board of New York and Jerry Gottesman, chairman of Edison Properties and (now) the Meadowlands Chamber. Gottesman is currently funding a $65,000 economic impact study being conducted by the Meadowlands Chamber (which he is the chairman of) and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
The advantages of extending subway Line No. 7 into Secaucus are extensive. It will definitely relieve a lot of congestion in current travel to NYC from New Jersey. Another significant advantage is that it will surely incite economic development in the Meadowlands, an area in Northern New Jersey which is in major need of urban development and planning.
One huge issue that lies with this plan is cost. Currently, estimates for the cost of this project is predicted to be about $5 billion (though further study still needs to be done as to the exact cost of the project). As to where the money will be coming from, that just raises another problem. The federal and state transportation trust funds are plummeting, which makes this project extremely hard to fund. Some other problems conflicting with the project include capacity and the damage which Hurricane Sandy caused. Drew Galloway, chief of Northeast Corridor Planning and Performance for Amtrak, said the two tracks serving Penn Station have all the traffic they can handle. In addition, Hurricane Sandy damaged the tunnels to the extent that they’ll need major repairs.
The plan will need backing from a bunch of different transit agencies in New Jersey and New York, including NJ Transit, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and the New York Port Authority. It would also need backing from both state legislatures, both governors and the mayor of New York.
If followed through and successful, the extended No. 7 line could have expected travel times as short as an 8-minute trip from Secaucus into Hudson Yards on the west side, a 12-minute trip into Times Square, and a 16-minute trip to Grand Central on the east side from New Jersey. If successful, this plan would be a huge change in public transportation throughout the tri-state.