Government

‘It’s Complicated’: Raritan Valley Rail Coalition Meets for Update

Peter Palmer, RVRC Chairman and Somerset County Freeholder with Westfield Councilmen David Oliveira and Keith Loughlin. Credits: K. Brochu
Legislators, elected officials, transportation professionals and the public were invited to join the RVRC meeting, Monday. Credits: K. Brochu
Legislators, elected officials, transportation professionals and the public were invited to join the RVRC meeting, Monday, May 15. Credits: K. Brochu
Cranford Mayor Thomas Hannen, Jr introduces RVRC Chairman Peter Palmer Credits: K. Brochu
RVRC Chairman Peter Palmer Credits: K. Brochu
Mindy Scarlett, Partner & Marketing Strategist at Scarlett Ryan Consulting Credits: K. Brochu

CRANFORD, NJ — The Raritan Valley Railroad Coalition met Monday evening at the Cranford Community Center to provide an update on the status of the Coalition’s one-seat ride efforts.

“I have good information, but the news in not particularly good,” said Peter Palmer, RVRC Chairman and Somerset County Freeholder.

Palmer later noted the heavy Westfield presence in the room.

Sign Up for E-News

“There is a strong contingent here from Westfield,” he said. The town was represented by Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Councilmen Mark LoGrippo, David Oliveira and Keith Loughlin.

In the first quarter of 2017, the trustees of the RVRC pushed for a schedule enhancement that would not run up against any of NJ Transit’s previous objections including budgetary constraints and logistical complications. NJ TRANSIT offered an “after 8 p.m.” one-seat ride that he described as less than ideal.

“While the RVRC is pleased that NJ TRANSIT launched the after 8 p.m. weekday ‘one seat’ ride, the first train out of NYC is currently 8:50 p.m,” said Palmer.

After careful analysis, the RVRC was able to determine a possible solution for an earlier train, which they said is a step in the right direction for the ultimate goal of securing a consistent one-seat ride schedule.

“It’s the next step — it’s progress,” said Mindy Scarlett, partner and marketing strategist of Scarlett & Ryan Consulting, which represents RVRC. When asked what the public could do to push the one-seat ride forward, Scarlett urged everyone to sign and share the RVRC’s petition that can be found online at https://raritanvalleyrail.com/petition/.

“It’s not just about convenience for our commuters; it’s about growing our towns,” said Scarlett, reminding the public that a one-seat ride would have a beneficial impact on the community overall, likely increasing property values by 15 percent and aiding in the health of local commerce.

“Leave comments — it will make it harder for politicians to ignore us,” she said.

Currently, the petition has 3,000 signatories, but with a strong social media strategy, RVRC hopes to increase that number until they gain the attention of the transit decision-makers — attention that the community feels is well-deserved.

“We should get at least 10 percent of the one-seat rides going into the city. We should get our fair share,” said BJ Kowalski, RVRC trustee and Union County freeholder.

While ridership on the Raritan Valley line makes up nearly 10 percent of all ridership into Penn Station, overall and projected values were not available. Community members urged the need to get NJ TRANSIT to realize potential value of a one seat ride. The Raritan Valley ridership has increased at a greater rate than all other lines.

The RVRC also discussed the future plans of Penn Station and the coalition’s hope that long-term benefits will be considered.

“Any plan that buries Penn Station under the Garden is not good planning,” said Palmer.

Both the Hunter Flyover and PATH to Newark Airport were briefly discussed with the hopes that construction of these projects will be planned together so that construction of one will not preclude construction of the other.

It was also reported that the renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund will lead to an increase of about $100 million additional dollars annually for NJ Transit capital. $32.5 million of funding will be allocated for Positive Train Control — a system that is designed to prevent certain train accidents. This initiative gained renewed focus after the fatal crash at the Hoboken Terminal in September.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Fanwood Officials Address Rat Problem Near Municipal Lot Downtown

July 27, 2017

FANWOOD, NJ — Borough officials, including Police Chief Richard Trigo, DPW Director Clint Dicksen, Councilman Tom Kranz and Borough Administrator Eleanor McGovern met with representatives of local businesses that use the dumpsters in the Fanwood municipal parking lot on Tuesday to discuss rodent sightings in the area.

Kranz has been in the forefront in ...

Update from Councilman Loughlin: Changes Coming to Downtown Westfield

July 26, 2017

Downtown Westfield is a great place for shopping, dining, arts, and entertainment. Like all retail destinations, Downtown Westfield must and will continue to evolve to remain vibrant and co-exist with online shopping.
 
Under the leadership of Mayor Andy Skibitsky, our town council is working to ensure that Downtown Westfield continues to be the best shopping destination in New Jersey, as ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_a1248587436b6d95e9f9_riverhorselogo

Fri, July 28, 5:00 PM

NosVino, Westfield

River Horse Brewing Tasting!

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_f82e8ae031b59c5f8d11_logo-cp

Sat, July 29, 2:00 PM

NosVino, Westfield

Free Wine Tasting: Chilean Wine!

Food & Drink

Mon, July 31, 9:00 AM

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center, Little Falls

Summer Baseball Camp at the Yogi Berra Museum

Education Sports

Lance Leads U.S. House on Sanctions Bill

July 25, 2017

Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), one of leading voices in Congress calling for tough sanctions on Russia, hailed passage of a bill that would impose new sanctions against Russia and require President Trump to get permission from Congress before lifting or easing the existing sanctions. The bipartisan measure also imposes economic penalties against Iran and North Korea for their ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Shoplifting, Wallet Stolen & More

July 26, 2017

July 20, 2017 10:31 p.m.

Officer Forcenito and Officer Santangelo arrested Shalise Hairston, age 31, of Plainfield, NJ, for possession of controlled dangerous substances (marijuana) under 50 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in the area of the 500 block of West North Avenue. Subject was transported to the WPD Headquarters where she was processed and ...

Westfield Extended School Year Program Strengthens Academic Skills

Westfield Public School District’s Extended School Year Program for pre-school through high school students is in full swing. The five-week program is designed for targeted students and provides special education and related services during the summer. In addition to fulfilling a state mandate intended for public schools, Westfield’s program focuses on maintaining and strengthening ...

Test Prep Should be Part of Westfield High School’s Curriculum

July 27, 2017

My father dropped me off at a testing center in a neighboring town on an April morning to take the ACT. After having taken five other standardized tests and having been privately tutored for the past year, I felt relatively prepared. To my surprise, when scores came back, I earned a perfect score on the science section.

 

It was a great feeling to know that my hard work payed off, and ...

Strong Swimmers, Confident Kids — Westfield Area YMCA Launches New Swim Lesson Curriculum

As America’s Swim Instructor, the YMCA is both a national champion and a key local community resource to prevent drowning and encourage a lifelong enjoyment of swimming by teaching swimming and water safety skills. The latest evolution of Y Swim Lessons accommodates varying abilities to help foster a sense of achievement as swimmers’ progress between levels. Through this approach, ...

Fanwood: Jersey’s Best Kept Secret

 

At less than 30 miles to NYC, Fanwood offers a wonderful small town feel. Fanwood is 1.3 square miles in size with a population of approximately 7,300 residents. Appealing to young families, commuters, as well as baby boomers looking to downsize, it is the perfect location to call home.

Fanwood offers:

Pretty Victorian-style train station at the town center and a bus line to ...

Cat Found in Westfield

Friendly cat found in Westfield on Sandy Hill Road. Call Westfield Police at 908-789-4000 if you recognize him/her.

'Spider's Web' Weaves Spell

PRINCETON, NJ – You know you’re in for a treat with super sleuth Agatha Christie at the helm. Princeton Summer Theatre put on an entertaining production of the play through July 23.

Although it’s too late to see this show, upcoming offerings include “The Crucible, July 27-Aug. 6th and “Appropriate,” Aug. 10 - 20th.

Here we have the drawing room of an ...

Surviving Multiple Generations Under One Roof

We're back to 1950.

Historically, we can point to periods in time when it was popular for generations of a family to share one home. Remember the TV show "The Walton's?" Grandparents, parents and children all said goodnight to each other, loving and living under one roof. Well, today, 19 percent of Americans are back to sharing a house with multiple ...

Obituaries

- Jul 15, 2017
Edward A. Jardim of Long Hill Township died on July 15 at Morristown Medical Center with his family ...
Read more

Just Pups Pet Stores Owner Agrees to Stop Selling Animals in NJ, Pays $326,000 to Settle Allegations of Fraud

July 25, 2017

NEWARK, NJ – Just Pups stores in East Brunswick, East Hanover, Emerson, and Paramus were among 26 pet stores cited for noncompliance with state consumer laws last year in a string of staggering accusations. As of Monday, Just Pups owner Frank LoSacco can never sell pets in New Jersey again.

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs ...