NJ Transit has been making slow steps towards building high-level, ADA-accessible platforms for its commuter trains, a feat that was fully accomplished on Metro North in the 90s and the LIRR in the 70s.
One the stations selected for high-level platforms is Lyndhurst on the Main Line. Once finished, this would be the only accessible stop between Paterson and Secaucus.
The new platforms would be located about a block to the south, on Delafield Avenue.
This arrangement has its advantages. For one, it would be located closer to a large parking lot owned by NJ Transit and used by commuters. The lot, just to the right of the proposed new platforms, has 470 free parking spaces.
This is not the first time NJ Transit has relocated a station. In 2012, new high-level platforms opened at Plauderville on the Bergen County Line, across the street from their original location.
The current design is also scaled back from previous concepts. Instead of an elevator, the platforms will be accessible by a ramp, saving money. $22 million was budgeted towards the project, but excluding the elevator, the cost will likely be under that.
The only reason to worry about this project is because of how close together Lyndhurst and Kingsland stations are. Currently, they are only .6 miles apart, and they would be a mere .5 miles apart once construction is done.
NJ Transit may, in the coming years, close Kingsland for good, but “for the time being, [an NJT spokesperson] does not foresee service ending to the Kingsland stop.”
If the past is any precedent, we should not rule out a future closure at Kingsland. It’s happened before. NJ Transit cuts service at a station once a new one opens nearby, ridership declines, and then the station closes. This happened at Great Notch after Montclair State University station opened in 2004. Service cuts at Mt. Tabor have already happened and commuters are fighting an uphill battle to keep the stop open.
While it would speed up train service by about a minute, consolidating the two stations would result in the average Lyndhurst resident being farther from the train.
Kingsland can be saved, but only if politicians take a firm position with NJ Transit on the matter, and commuters keep using it after Lyndhurst station moves a block closer.
NJ Transit hasn’t specified when the improvements at Lyndhurst would be completed.