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On-Again, Off-Again New Jersey Bus Terminal May Be On Again

NJ Transit's Secaucus Junction station (Photo by Jim McIntosh)

Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

Secaucus Surfaces Again as Possible Bus Terminal Site
Warnings of future track closures and delays at Penn Station are rippling through NYC commuter circles this week, but another transit hub project, in New Jersey, is also getting a closer look. While the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has committed itself to building a replacement for the Port Authority Bus Terminal on the West Side of Manhattan, a proposal that previously had not found favor on the west bank of the Hudson has resurfaced.

That’s a new bus terminal in Secaucus, floated in conjunction with an extension of New York’s No. 7 subway line across the river, an idea that had been advocated by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

NJ.com reports that former Port Authority Chair Scott Rechler recently dusted off the idea of building a new bus terminal in Secaucus and rehabilitating rather than replacing the Manhattan facility. New York Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg endorsed the idea at an April 21 panel sponsored by the Regional Plan Association.

Reviving the possibility of a Secaucus bus terminal is just the latest tug in a tug-of-war between New Jersey and New York officials, neither of whom actually relish the idea of building an entirely new bus terminal to replace the aging and overcrowded Port Authority, which opened in 1950 and was expanded in 1979.

The New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers supports the No. 7 line extension, saying it would ease pressure on both the Lincoln Tunnel and the bus terminal and offer New Jersey residents a faster commute into Manhattan, since many already connect to New York subway lines once across the Hudson.

Tunnel-Boring Harriet Honored for Her Work in L.A.
Having successfully dug two 1-mile tunnels beneath Los Angeles’ west side, Harriet the tunnel-boring machine was given a farewell send-off by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials at an April 21 retirement ceremony, Streetsblog LA reports.

(Credit: LA Metro)

Harriet, named for heroic Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman, spent the past year digging out the north end of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line, which will provide a more direct connection to Los Angeles International Airport. The line will also connect the existing Green Line and Expo Line LRT routes.

The 1-mile, twin-bore tunnel Harriet dug will contain the three northernmost stations on the line: Crenshaw/Expo, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park. The entire line will have eight stations — three underground, three elevated and two at grade — when it opens in 2019. A ninth station, which will become the transfer point for a people mover Los Angeles World Airports is building to connect LAX directly to rail transit, is being built separately and should open in 2023.

In a Metro news release, a Metro board member acknowledged the disruptions the excavation caused to small businesses along the line’s route, saying, “We all know that construction is a messy business but with the arrival of Harriet to Leimert Park we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Light-Rail Extension to Bergen Airport Opens
Bergen, Norway’s second-largest city, now has light rail to its airport with the opening of a two-station extension from Birkelandsskiftet to the airport April 21.

The International Railway Journal reports that the 2.2-km (1.4-mile) extension will directly serve the airport’s New Terminal, which will open this August. The existing terminal is a 3- to 5-minute walk from the rail line. Travel time from the airport to the city center is 45 minutes, and trains run at 5-minute intervals at peak hours.

The extension is the final segment of the third phase of construction for the city’s light-rail network. The first segment of Phase 3, a 4.8-km (2.9-mile) extension from Lagunen to Birkelandsskiftet, opened last August. Total cost for the 7-km (4.3-mile) project was 3.7 billion Norwegian kroner ($430 million U.S.)

Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.