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Heights Mayor Sides With Commuters, Wants Improved Rail Access

Hasbrouck Heights officials support commuters plight to get NJ Transit to improve rail service to the borough.

A man who started a petition against NJ Transit for fencing off access to the Teterboro-Williams Avenue train stop brought his plight to borough officials Tuesday night who agreed something needs to be done to improve rail access to the borough.

Lino Brescia says he had an easy commute in and out of New York City at that train stop until NJ Transit constructed a fence which now blocks any access to the stop from the Hasbrouck Heights side of Williams Avenue.

It's believed the intention was to make the stop "safer" says Brescia however he and other commuters who used to cross the tracks at the Hasbrouck Heights side to board the train now have to walk up the Route 46 ramp onto the highway which he says is much more dangerous.

He says other stops along the rail line are wide open with people walking over the tracks such as in Hackensack.

Brescia says driving to the Wood-Ridge train station is of course a possibility but why should Hasbrouck Heights commuters not have access to this stop which is just "a stone's throw away" from their homes. He cited other reasons the rail stop is important to the community, as the lack of access to NYC could bring down property value. It would also be a benefit to the community for the Super Bowl event next year, said Brescia.

Mayor Rose Heck agreed stating that she has tried to get NJ Transit to improve the area to transform it into a Teterboro/Hasbrouck Heights stop. She says there was a commitment from the developer currently constructing in Teterboro near the train stop to provide space, at no cost to NJ Transit, to add hundreds of parking spaces for commuters but they refused it.

The mayor pointed to other options NJ Transit could take to expand that station including purchasing the empty gas station which borders the tracks. 

"Why they make these so-called improvements at the expense of the commuters is beyond me," said Heck.

Heck said she reached out to NJ Transit alerting them to situation working towards bringing representatives to a borough meeting so that Brescia and fellow supporters could present their case.

The meeting is expected to be set up in the coming weeks.

Matthew Maginley February 14, 2013 at 05:04 PM
This is both a safety issue and financial issue. There should be a lighted gate that comes down when a train passes - just like the one on Franklin Ave and Route 17. At level crossings on the Pascak Valley line there are lighted gates that swing down whenever a train passes that prevents cars, but also serves as a warning. If Williams Street were not blocked off, cars could turn right from Rt. 17 North, cross the tracks and get access to Route 46 East. Of course it would stop traffic at that intersection the same way it does at Franklin. The issue is why is Williams a dead end? and why are there no warning lights? If the warning lights were there, the Teterboro Station would be the same as any other crossing. Are there NJ Transit guidelines for what streets have those gates? Is it written into a law, or department of transportation regulation anywhere? It seems easier and wiser to get NJ Transit to acknowledge a safety issue, than to purchase real estate and create a station. Don't get me wrong, a station would be great and hats off to the Mayor and Council if they can get that done.
Ricky February 15, 2013 at 08:57 AM
>>If Williams Street were not blocked off, cars could turn right from Rt. 17 North, cross the tracks and get access to Route 46 East<< You already have access to 46E from 17N, it's a left lane exit. There's too many agencies, too much red tape that would be needed in order to extend Williams as a through road across those tracks simply as a way to mostly benefit pedestrians.
Ricky February 15, 2013 at 09:09 AM
It would also require a big configuration of roadwork since cars and trucks would be using that as a short-cut to Green St., plus cars coming from Terrace Ave going east straight across Rt. 17 in that direction,, many more turning vehicles and trucks past the tracks, many heading in the direction of all the industries and businesses in the Green St. area and beyond. You'd also need construction done on Rt. 17N as an exit for turning right.
lino brescia February 15, 2013 at 09:21 PM
We can boil the ocean later. In my opinion, there could be many ways to better this area for pedestrians, commuters, drivers, local businesses, new commerce at Teterboro Landing, etc. Baby steps, I'd like to just get to work in a safe, cost-effective manner without walking on a highway literally risking my life. Crossing Route 17 was dangerous enough, walking on on-ramps and on Route 46 isn't something I am interested in doing. I'd just like our towns support to get NJ Transit to reconsider this obstruction.
lino brescia February 18, 2013 at 03:09 PM
petition mentioned above is located here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/njtransit-pascack-valley-teterboro-access/
Matthew Maginley February 18, 2013 at 09:18 PM
I agree. That is why the goal should be to get pedestrian access rather than building a station, or buying the closed Exxon station.
Matthew Maginley February 18, 2013 at 09:24 PM
In my humble opinion NJ transit put in the obstruction for safety's sake. I think the Mayor supports the cause of putting in a request to reconsider the action. Getting anything done will require a plan,budget and coordinated pressure from Hasbrouck Heights and Teterboro municipalities for NJ Transit to remove the obstruction.
Matthew Maginley February 18, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Yes there is already access to Rt 46 from the left hand exit, which is why it should stay blocked off. My point is there is no need to open up Williams for vehicular traffic- just pedestrians.
Matthew Maginley February 18, 2013 at 09:31 PM
"Mayor Rose Heck agreed stating that she has tried to get NJ Transit to improve the area to transform it into a Teterboro/Hasbrouck Heights stop. She says there was a commitment from the developer currently constructing in Teterboro near the train stop to provide space, at no cost to NJ Transit, to add hundreds of parking spaces for commuters but they refused it. " I for one would like to know who the THEY are who REFUSED the plan. My point again : if we expect anything to be done with Teterboro and Hasbrouck Heights working together - we the people should hear about it ahead of time, not after the fact.
lino brescia February 19, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Ironically, last week i saw workers reconstructing part of the fence to put a swinging gate in (precisely where i cross the track). I stopped and asked the workers if this would be open to the public and they said, "no, its for us. emergencies only". True to form, the fence now has a lock on it; another insult to us. I look forward to speaking to the NJ Transit member next week, if the mayor is able to broker the conversation. I will be prepared and urge Matthew and others to attend.
Matthew Maginley February 21, 2013 at 01:49 PM
I too am looking forward to the meeting to get some clarity on the issue. This is obviously something that goes back a number of years.
Matthew Maginley February 22, 2013 at 01:42 PM
If the state of New Jersey, and boroughs such as Hasbrouck Heights want to fund cost increases for essential services, then there must be a focus on revenue growth by increasing the tax base. Already towns near Giant's Stadium are complaining about the high cost of providing security for Superbowl 2014, yet the highest influx of new revenue opportunity is right in front of them. The hotels, restaurants, stores and shops of Hasbrouck Heights, and indeed the entire borough would benefit in the near-term as well as the long term by having this rail station available to riders. There is money from commuters being left on the table as well as money that can be gained from NYC Tourism left on the table. This is not a matter of cost, but a matter of will and the conscience of leadership to put together a plan, and execute it. That is what they have been elected to do, and that is what they have sworn an oath to do. The community does need to stand together and make the point that this issue is important and relevant to make this a priority. If all of the people who have signed the petition come to the next Council meeting to make our voices heard, and to show support it does make an impact in terms of eventually getting something changed.
Alana Quartuccio February 22, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Meeting with NJ Transit for commuters affected by the fence at the stop is set for Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Here's the latest article - http://patch.com/A-2hVB
mark March 12, 2013 at 09:01 PM
it was closed off because it is considered highly contaminated water, soil.NJ. dot wont touch it. Look what they did up the street at Franklin ave with catch basin with a six foot fence around it.Heck is a liar she knows all this, but dont want public to know. just google and read " Allied Signal teterboro State of New Jersey" and learn about a superfund clean up site and we were never told mark

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