ORANGE, NJ - West Orange and Orange members of the Friends of Highland Station, a group dedicated to working toward the renovation of the shuttered Orange stop on the NJ Transit rail line, can take some solace that the project is inching forward; but don't expect it to reopen anytime soon.
A Change.org petition was started by West Orange's Kevin Brady, a member of the group, to reach politicians who could help move the project along, including State Representatives John McKeon and Mila Jasey, Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren, State Senator Richard Codey and five others.
McKeon responded to the petition in a release which didn't give much hope for a quick turnaround for the shuttered stop:
McKeon: Thanks for again bringing this to everyone's attention.
After Mila's and our office reached out to the state, we were told that at this point, the project is in the hands of NJ Department of Transit and the city of Orange. Study dollars have been allocated by the state and a study as to how to rehabilitate this station (which has had the inside of it closed for many years) and the study is soon to commence.
Though this isn't going to be a quick fix, the fixes to this station are in the pipeline. This is an ongoing issue that we will continue to push for and monitor on everyone's behalf. Thank you everyone who has signed the petition and all the riders for their patience as this problem gets solved.
The petition has 233 signatures as of press time, and organizers hope to keep it going to help continue to keep the issue in the public eye. Brady said the renovation and re-opening would benefit neighborhoods. "We've added many members since this was last circulated," he said. "If momentum ever built up behind improving this station, it could be a wonderful thing for West Orange and Orange properties."
Interest has been growing in reopening the Highland Avenue Station as the number of riders traveling to New York and Hoboken increases with new developments. At minimum, the petition is looking to have the station open from 6-9:00 a.m. to accomodate those commuters.
To keep up to date on the petition, you can follow the Friends of Highland Avenue Station on Facebook here.