Essex County News

Cedar Grove Councilmen Disagree on Idea of Train Station in Town

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Mayor Peter Tanella listens as residents express their opinion of a train station in Cedar Grove.
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CEDAR GROVE, NJ - The Cedar Grove Town Council discussed a much talked about issue at the April 3 township council meeting.

Councilman Harry Kumburis stirred up controversy when he brought up the idea of building a train station in Cedar Grove to another local news source, an idea that Tanella said was never discussed by the council.

With an expected growth of as many as 1,000 people in town with the addition of the K. Hovnanian townhouses on Fairview Ave., Kumburis said a transit hub would be justified, according to article. The transit hub could be built off of Commerce Road and could include amenities like restaurants and bus stops, which would attract more foot traffic, according to Kumburis.

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“I feel that a transit hub would benefit our town and reduce the congestion,” Kumburis said during his report at the council meeting.

This transit hub, though, is not something the council has addressed, Tanella said following Kumburis’ report, and is an idea that is extremely premature.

“I think for all of us on the council, we just have to remember that we act as a majority,” Tanella said. “Nobody spoke or discussed that issue on this council.”

Councilman Joseph Cicala echoed Tanella’s remarks, saying that he was not happy to hear that a councilman spoke on an issue the council did not discuss. He is also opposed to the idea of a train station in town, he added.

As for the public, several residents spoke about their opposition to a train station in town, including Robbie Vargo, who is vying for a seat on the township council in May’s election.

“I think if we have a train station, I’m concerned it would change the character of our community,” Vargo said. “I think contrary to the vision that it would somehow ease the traffic, I think what we’re failing to discuss or consider at the time is the transient traffic.”

Vargo also spoke on the importance of preserving open space in town and said he does not want to see every inch of Cedar Grove covered in buildings – or in this case, a transit hub.

Resident Kerry Peterson who is also running to a council seat agreed with Vargo and even said a train station would pose a safety issue for residents.

“The thing that concerns me the greatest is that it’s a public safety issue,” Peterson said. “Considering the current climate that our country is in right now, bringing something like a transient hub and a train into Cedar Grove really puts our residents at risk for their safety, especially the residents at  Anderson Parkway.”

Peterson also said kids hanging out near the train station – which is something she said she has heard dialogue on – would be extremely dangerous.

Several other residents agreed with Vargo and Peterson, saying the train station would alter the character of the town and create more congestion, but resident John Martinelli offered a different opinion.

“I think it actually is a good idea,” Martinelli said, adding that as a commuter, he would like not having to go to a different town to catch the train. “There’s a lot of people that I know in the area that go into Manhattan who would be excited to have a train station that would come through.”

Still, Tanella said this idea is one that is extremely premature and would need to go through many steps – including being discussed by the council – before becoming a plausible possibility in Cedar Grove.

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