Bayonne is currently engaged in conversations with NJ Transit to extend the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail further downtown, but officials said the prospect remains a long shot. The revelation surfaced at the Oct. 21 city council meeting, during discussions about the newly-amended Texaco redevelopment plan.
At the meeting, the council adopted an ordinance that would amend the Texaco redevelopment plan to allow for the construction of film studios and associated buildings, including sound stages, mill space, work space, a small theater, food service, and editing space.
While there was no opposition to the amended redevelopment plan, the council faced questions about how people will commute to the area.
The nearest light rail stop, the 8th Street Station, is eight blocks away from the site where a film studio may be built. Some are concerned that the distance is too far, and that people would be deterred from working at the studio.
Extending the light rail
A possible solution was suggested at the meeting: extend the light rail to 1st Street. One resident suggested connecting the proposed aerial gondola from Staten Island to the extended light rail.
City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski said that while she would “love to see” the light rail extended, it’s not up to the city council to decide. The decision belongs to NJ Transit, and she isn’t sure the agency would make the investment at this time due to COVID-19.
Ashe-Nadrowski said that Bayonne has already been in conversations with NJ Transit about extending the light rail. She said that in the past, NJ Transit was considering extending the light rail over the Bayonne Bridge and into Staten Island, but that didn’t necessarily include a new stop in Bayonne.
According to Ashe-Nadrowski extending the light rail is unlikely, but if it does happen, it’s a long way off. Currently, she said that the city is looking for potential grants at the federal level to fund such a project, but it’s a long shot, and COVID-19 has made it harder.
Meanwhile, riders can get off the light rail and onto the bus which can drop them nearby, Ashe-Nadrowski said. She also noted that, as someone who has worked in New York City, eight blocks isn’t a long walk.
First Ward Councilman Neill Carroll highlighted the fact that Bayonne has the largest light rail ridership. He said that extending it to include another stop would make sense, but the decision is ultimately up to NJ Transit.
Carroll also said that once the film studio is constructed, a shuttle will most likely transport employees to the site.
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