The growth of automobile usage and accompanying roadway congestion in recent decades led planners and officials to search for solutions to the growing traffic problems in the Bergen County area. In the mid-1990s the West Shore Region Study provided a comprehensive examination of multi-modal opportunities throughout Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York. Recommended for further study was an extension of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) from 85th Street in North Bergen along the Northern Branch to Tenafly, New Jersey
The Northern Branch Corridor DEIS was prepared by NJ TRANSIT in cooperation with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to evaluate the benefits, costs and social, economic and environmental impacts of constructing and operating passenger rail service on the Northern Branch. The DEIS evaluated two Build Alternatives: the Preferred Alternative, which extended existing Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) service from North Bergen to the Tenafly-Cresskill border, and a similar HBLR extension that terminated at Route 4 in Englewood.
The DEIS was published in November 2011, and can be reviewed here: Northern Branch DEIS.
Public hearings were held in January 2012, and the public comment period closed on February 21, 2012. More than 1,200 comments were received and reviewed by NJ TRANSIT. While many comments expressed support for the service, residents and community leaders in Tenafly were strongly opposed to the extension of service into their community. After considering the comments, FTA and NJ TRANSIT have developed a new alignment that would extend HBLR service from North Bergen to Englewood Hospital, which is north of Route 4 and south of Tenafly. Light rail service would not extend past Englewood.
This new alignment results in changes to the service plan and potential environmental and social impacts explored in the DEIS circulated for comment in 2012. As a result, this new alignment and associated changes will be analyzed in a Supplemental DEIS (SDEIS) and recirculated for public comment and agency feedback in a process closely approximating the one undertaken for the DEIS.
Presently, the SDEIS is in development. When complete, notice of SDEIS availability for public review will be posted in the Federal Register and on this website.
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