SENTINEL North Brunswick / South Brunswick
February 21, 2008
Brunswick area on track for a rail line
Two rail lines are being proposed in North and South Brunswick.
The Northeast Corridor line could make a stop in North Brunswick
along Route 1 if a proposed station and transit village are approved,
and the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex (MOM) line could run through the
Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick.
Each is being evaluated for its traffic and environmental impacts,
expected ridership and costs.
In the North Brunswick area, there is currently a 14-mile gap between
the existing Jersey Avenue and New Brunswick stations. A station
in North Brunswick would be a welcome change to the congested Jersey
Avenue station or the New Brunswick station, which is plagued by
parking problems. If the proposed transit village accompanies the
station, so much the better.
Jonathan Frieder, a managing partner of TOD Associates, the developer
of the property, said 6,000 local residents would use the North
Brunswick line if it is developed in conjunction with the MOM line,
and even more would travel along the line in the event Monmouth
Junction is left vacant.
In relation to the MOM line (as reported in the Sentinel a few
weeks ago), a study conducted by McLaughlin & Associates surveyed
500 residents, 200 of whom live in Middlesex County. The study
found that 78 percent of Middlesex County residents favor the line.
Overdevelopment and urban sprawl are epidemic across New Jersey,
and residents must see that those problems don't become even worse
in years to come. Solutions will come from proper land use, smart
growth principles and mass transit options that support both.
There is an opportunity in North Brunswick to develop an otherwise
open area into a mixture of housing, restaurants, shops and community
uses that will take environmental concerns into account and improve
traffic flow on existing roadways.
On the other hand, if the South Brunswick connection goes through,
congestion on both Middlesex and Monmouth County roadways will
be reduced. This would ease the commute for residents, and reduce
vehicle emissions at the same time.
Either way, it seems clear that one of the Brunswicks will have
a train station within the next decade or so. Whether lines are
built in North or South Brunswick, or in both communities, commuters
across central New Jersey will benefit.