Posts tagged ‘transportation’

April 6, 2013

All clear!

Wave bye now!

On NJ Transit, conductors look up and down the train and platform after everyone has boarded/disembarked at a station, and signal to the other conductors that no other passengers are coming and it’s okay for the train to pull out. (In daylight, they wave; at night, they flick a flashlight.)

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November 21, 2012

A reexamination of the current transit situation

SEPTA buses to the rescue! Sort of.

Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Transit was crippled.

Things have improved overall. On Friday, NJ Transit was proud to announce that “all but one NJ TRANSIT rail lines [would] be running full or modified service effective Monday, November 19. This include[d] the restoration of service along the North Jersey Coast Line, which suffered the brunt of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy” (NJ Transit News Release).

…Guess which one line STILL doesn’t have service, even after restoration of the line that received “the brunt of the damage?” That’s right, MINE, Gladstone branch.

NJ Transit recovery map, November 19. GUESS WHICH TRAIN ISN'T RUNNING YET

When NJ Transit talked about all the Morris & Essex line damage they had to fix, they named the rail washout at Kearny junction (which has been fixed) and “major damage” between Summit and Millburn (which have been fixed) and Denville and Morristown (also fixed). And there was something about some poles down near Lyons. The Gladstone line certainly didn’t seem any more damaged than any other line.

Why is it taking so long? Theories abound on NJ Transit’s Facebook page: some say the catenary poles were fragile wood instead of customary steel, so they the majority of them broke; some say the line’s single-track nature does not lend itself to repairs; some say that our Gladstone trains are being used elsewhere to compensate for all the trains that were (preventably) destroyed.

Most of us assume the real reason is that Gladstone branch is “the bastard stepchild of NJT line[s],” and fixing our line is simply not a priority. (We don’t have the highest ridership of the system, it’s true.)

But seriously, everyone else (including the most heavily damaged line) has been fixed for nearly a week at least. This is getting ridiculous.

 

Enough with my indignation. MOVING ON:

To ease the lack of Gladstone trains, NJ Transit has commissioned free emergency shuttle buses to stop at most Gladstone-branch train stations.

There are two sets of buses (route “A” and route “B”), which together hit most of the stations on the line.
Gladstone branch emergency bus route, as of November 20, 2012
[click here to pan around a Google map of the area]

(I have no idea why they left out poor little Stirling. Every other stop on the Gladstone branch is covered.)

 

Because New Jersey has apparently run out of buses, they’ve brought in SEPTA buses from Philadelphia (see top photo).

Unfortunately, presumably because these bus drivers don’t know their way around these suburban New Jersey roads, I guess they’re getting lost. Half of the buses never show up.

Basically: You dream about sex, but I dream that my train is running again. It will be a sweet, sweet day.

November 9, 2012

A brief review of the New Jersey transit situation

Train tracks in Allenhurst, totally unused for nearly two weeks

Train tracks in Allenhurst, NJ, unused for nearly two weeks

 

Commuting from New Jersey into New York, which isn’t fun under NORMAL conditions, has become downright awful since the hurricane.

The buses are more-or-less working again, but out of NJ Transit’s 10 rail lines, 4 are running, and only 1 goes into New York. (Ironically, one of the lines that’s running is Atlantic City, which took the most direct hit from Hurricane Sandy.)

And they can only run 13 out of the 63 morning-rush-hour NJ Transit trains that usually come into New York.

NJ Transit rail system map, normal, November 2011 NJ Transit rail system, hurricane recovery map, November 9 2012
NJ Transit rail map, normally (November 2011) NJ Transit rail map, hurricane recovery (November 2012)

This means a LOT of rail commuters suddenly need to find alternative ways to get into New York.
Which basically means we all need to find the nearest bus stop and hop on a bus.

Here are some facts:

Obviously, if you suddenly try to put tens of thousands of displaced rail commuters on buses, and you don’t increase the number of buses, that’s not going to work.

NJ Transit has been good enough to arrange “emergency shuttle bus service” from a few NJ origins into New York. (It’s free, which annoys the hell out of commuters who already paid for their monthly passes.)

This is great, but it hasn’t been working too well. Since buses are the only logical way for suburban New Jerseyans to get into New York, the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) has been mobbed. (I nearly had a panic attack trying to navigate the crowds, and it took me an hour just to find my damn bus gate on Tuesday.)

As of Thursday afternoon, NJ Transit announced that it would be adding six new emergency shuttle buses to its lineup. These new bus solutions all go to a ferry terminal, where commuters transfer to a ferry to take them into New York. This will bypass the PABT and hopefully reduce the ridiculous overcrowding.

NJ Transit Emergency shuttle service, November 6-8, 2012 NJ Transit emergency shuttle service, as of November 9, 2012
NJ Transit Emergency shuttle service, November 6-8, 2012 NJ Transit emergency shuttle service, as of November 9, 2012

We’ll see.

Hopefully this will all be over soon, but I have my doubts.

In the meantime, here are some links I’ve been refreshing obsessively to stay as on-top-of-this as possible:

October 10, 2012

Bicyclists

Biking on a Saturday morning!

Something I’ve noticed since I’ve started living here— this whole area has way more hardcore racing bicyclists than I’ve seen anywhere else. Throughout the weekend, they’re a common sight, and you just get used to sharing the road with them.

Hi there!

Unlike the bikes in New York City, which will run you down on the sidewalk and blast through red lights as though they’re green, these racing bikes are pretty good about following traffic laws. They keep to the right on the road, they use hand signals, they stop and yield everywhere they should.

Look, it's a pack of bikers!

When some of the roads around here were repainted last year, they included a nice wide shoulder, which acts beautifully as an unofficial bike lane.

Hello Mister Biker!

These photos were all taken in the Great Swamp, which provides some scenic routes that are really popular with bicyclists, but the routes are unfortunately quite narrow. Navigating the road requires a lot of leapfrogging with all the bikes on your side of the street, all the bikes on the other side, and all the oncoming cars.

It’s not a problem— just requires some patience.

(Which I unfortunately have in short supply.)

February 3, 2012

Abandoned overpass 2

Abandoned Triborough Road overpass, NJ 24, Chatham and Florham Park, NJ

As continued from yesterday… in case you’ve forgotten, I’m talkin’ about this mostly-completed cloverleaf interchange/ overpass that doesn’t connect to any roads.

Triborough Road unfinished cloverleaf exchange over Rte. 24, Chatham and Florham Park, NJ

Once you find the little gravel-tracks that were clearly supposed to eventually be paved roads, you can just follow them up and find yourself on top of Route 24.

View of Route 24

The cloverleaves, though not paved, have been curbed and graded.

Cloverleaf on the abandoned overpass

From the tire tracks, my preliminary guess was that Triborough Rd. is currently being used as some kind of service road, since it’s really close to some PSE&G power lines, and this would be a convenient way to get trucks across Route 24.

But I had a conversation with a nearby resident (Steve!) who was taking his dog for a walk; he assured me this was pretty much publicly accessible land, and apparently the locals are really into driving their ATVs through here. (I saw one too, and Wikipedia mentions it, so it must be true.) I dunno. It could be service vehicles AND all-terrain vehicles.

Why do I refer to the overpass as “Triborough Road” if there isn’t actually any road associated with it? Apparently, as you drive along NJ 24, there is a sign posted on the bridge that labels it as such.

Aaaaaand that’s all I know about the abandoned Triborough Road overpass.

 


Sources:

Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – NJ 24.” Alps’ Roads. http://www.alpsroads.net/roads/nj/nj_24/ and http://www.alpsroads.net/roads/nj/cr_609/s.html.

Anderson, S. (2006). “NJ 24 Freeway.” The Roads of Metro New York. http://www.nycroads.com/roads/NJ-24/.

Ca3ey. (2007). “Abandoned ‘highway’ in Morris County.” Weird U.S. Message Board. http://theweirdusmessageboard.yuku.com/topic/1137/abanonded-highway-in-morris-county#.TyXo7mM9naI.

Wikipedia. (2012). “New Jersey Route 24.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower_Parkway and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey_Route_24.

February 2, 2012

Abandoned overpass 1

Abandoned Triborough Road overpass, Chatham/ Florham Park, NJ

At some point in the early-to-mid 1970s, construction began on a cloverleaf overpass for a road that was intended to connect NJ 24 to NJ 124. (124 is a main street through Chatham and Madison; 24 is a major freeway that runs parallel to 124; 24 wasn’t finished until 1992.)

A couple standing on what would eventually become Route 24; c.1970?

But locals raised a fuss; apparently the plans for the new “Triborough Road” ran uncomfortably close to the Passaic River, so environmental concerns (as well as budgetary concerns) prevented the road from ever being constructed.

BUT THE INTERCHANGE WAS BUILT ANYWAY.

Triborough Road unfinished cloverleaf exchange over Rte. 24, Chatham and Florham Park, NJ

Thus: there is a mostly-constructed cloverleaf exchange, totally unused, totally unconnected to any roads, sitting in the middle of basically nowhere. (It’s on the border of Chatham and Florham Park, not far from Millburn’s Short Hills Mall.)

For all the trouble it took me to get to this thing, I’m going to stretch this out into two days, so… stay tuned! I’ll continue this tomorrow. (Click here for the next Abandoned Overpass post.)

 


Sources:

Alpert, S. (n.d.). “New Jersey Roads – NJ 24.” Alps’ Roads. http://www.alpsroads.net/roads/nj/nj_24/ and http://www.alpsroads.net/roads/nj/cr_609/s.html.

Anderson, S. (2006). “NJ 24 Freeway.” The Roads of Metro New York. http://www.nycroads.com/roads/NJ-24/.

Ca3ey. (2007). “Abandoned ‘highway’ in Morris County.” Weird U.S. Message Board. http://theweirdusmessageboard.yuku.com/topic/1137/abanonded-highway-in-morris-county#.TyXo7mM9naI.

Cunningham, J.T. (1997). Images of America: Chatham. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738545619.

Wikipedia. (2012). “New Jersey Route 24.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower_Parkway and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey_Route_24.

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