Motorists urged to consider new public transit
options during Pulaski Skyway northbound closure
Severe traffic delays and congestion expected next week
(Jersey City) – New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials today strongly urged motorists to use public transit options, including a new Park and Ride bus near Newark Liberty International Airport and new ferry service from Monmouth County, during the two-year closure of the Pulaski Skyway in the northbound direction (from Newark toward Jersey City).
The closure, which is necessary to replace the entire 82-year-old bridge deck, is expected to result in severe traffic jams on the already congested alternate routes, despite improvements that have been made to help accommodate higher traffic volumes.
These improvements, along with lighter traffic volumes because many schools were on spring break this week, resulted in traffic flowing smoothly during the first week of the closure.
However, NJDOT expects much greater congestion next week as volume returns to normal levels. The Department is encouraging motorists to use alternate modes of transportation (pdf 938k) or risk sitting in traffic.
Park and Ride/Bus Service
A new Park and Ride lot operated by Suburban Transit, located on International Way just west of Route 1&9 near Newark Liberty International Airport, may be the best bet for many motorists. Free parking is available for 650 cars, and the bus fare, subsidized by NJDOT, is just $2.
- The shuttle bus to Grove Street and Exchange Place in Jersey City will make 10 trips each morning starting at 5:30 a.m. and 14 return trips between 12:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- The lot is easily accessible from Route 78 eastbound, Route 22 eastbound, or Route 1&9 northbound via the Haynes Avenue exit.
In addition, NJ TRANSIT has enhanced its bus service. It launched an express bus service, Bus #95, along the Route 22 corridor to Newark Penn Station with PATH and rail connections to Hoboken, Jersey City, and Manhattan. Park and Ride lots for commuters wishing to ride the #95 bus are available at Sears on Route 22 in Watchung, Springfield Town Center, and Union Center.
On Monday, April 21, NJT will begin midday service on Bus #119 from Bayonne to Jersey City, where customers can access PATH, or continue on to Hoboken and Manhattan.
Another option that frees Middlesex, Monmouth, or Ocean county commuters from congested roadways is the ferry. Seastreak has started a new service from Atlantic Highlands to Jersey City and Hoboken with two trips in the morning and three returns in the afternoon.
NY Waterway also offers ferry service from Belford to Jersey City and Manhattan. There are six ferries in the morning to Paulus Hook in Jersey City between 5:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and five return trips in the afternoon between 3:55 p.m. and 8:05 p.m.
NJ TRANSIT has increased morning and evening peak period capacity on Morris and Essex Lines trains, Raritan Valley Line trains and North Jersey Coast Line trains. Trains to Hoboken Terminal provide customers with good connections to NYC via PATH or ferry and to Jersey City via NJ TRANSIT’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line.
- Morris & Essex (M&E) Lines
NJ TRANSIT has added two train trips each morning and two train trips each evening on the M&E Lines between Summit and Hoboken Terminal. Two of the trains will operate during the peak periods, with the other two trains operating just outside of peak times, resulting in an additional 900 seats each morning and the same number each evening. Stations with parking availability include Dover and Morristown.
- Raritan Valley Line
NJ TRANSIT has added additional seating capacity on Raritan Valley Line trains operating to Newark Penn Station during the morning peak period (6 a.m. to 10 a.m.) and from Newark Penn Station during the evening (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) peak. This will add 1,260 seats during each period. Stations with parking availability include Raritan, Somerville, Bridgewater, and Bound Brook.
- North Jersey Coast Line
NJ TRANSIT will add a train trip to the morning peak period schedule from Bay Head to Hoboken and a train to the evening peak period schedule from Hoboken to Bay Head, accommodating an additional 460 passengers each way. Stations with parking availability include Middleton, Aberdeen/Matawan, and South Amboy.
Increased PATH departures
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has increased the frequency of its train departures from Newark Penn Station, increasing capacity by approximately 6,000 customers each morning to help accommodate additional NJ TRANSIT rail and bus customers.
PATH service in Hoboken will be able to accommodate additional customers for trips to Jersey City and New York City.
Car and Van Pools
Car and van pools are another way motorists can help reduce the overall number of vehicles on the road. Regional Transportation Management Associations (www.hudsontma.org and www.ezride.org) can help motorists connect with others who are interested in these options.
1-800-245-POOL is a state hotline for carpooling information. The Hudson County TMA can help motorists learn about new vanpool opportunities.
Employees are encouraged to discuss flextime and telecommuting opportunities with their employers to help shift or reduce travel away from the morning peak period of 6 a.m.-9 a.m.
Commuters should learn the multiple public transportation options and alternate driving routes that are available to them, and be prepared to try several options in the first days and weeks of the closure to find the route or mode of travel that best meets their needs while minimizing inconvenience.
NJDOT has developed a webpage dedicated to the $1 billion Pulaski Skyway rehabilitation project at www.pulaskiskyway.com, where a video to familiarize motorists and residents with the project is posted. The video is also on You Tube – search “Pulaski Skyway.”
Follow the project on Twitter @skywayrehab and get up to the minute information on traffic conditions in and around the Skyway at www.511nj.org, where a widget will enable a visitor to cut through all the other traffic information on the site and focus in on the Skyway region.