This week the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey authorized planning funds for a $1.7 billion extension of the PATH train to Newark Liberty International Airport. Beyond expanding transit options for travelers to and from the New York region, this project will also vastly improve transit access for Newark’s South Ward.
The City of Newark is experiencing a renaissance in its downtown: Audible.com and Panasonic have joined Prudential as large downtown employers; residential development is booming; and a Whole Foods store has blossomed in the formerly vacant Hahne & Co. department store. All of this development and more has happened within walking distance of Newark Penn Station.
Meanwhile, residents of the South Ward of Newark are not sharing in this prosperity. They have trouble accessing the new employment opportunities and the downtown shopping, because they don’t have transit access to the downtown. This lack of transit access translates into less employment opportunity, and lower household incomes.
The funds approved this week will allow the Port Authority of NY & NJ to plan an extension of the PATH rail line south from its current terminus at Newark Penn Station nearly 2 miles southward to Newark Liberty Airport. They would open that airport station to the general public (it is only accessible now to airline passengers), and it is within walking distance of the South Ward’s Dayton neighborhood.
RPA supports this project, as a PATH station in Newark’s South Ward will provide:
- New access to rail transit for South Ward residents to downtown Newark, and New York City;
- Better access to jobs around the region for Newark’s South Ward residents;
- Improved home values for Dayton neighborhood residents;
- Enhanced PATH train frequency and reliability thanks to a new rail yard that would allow for storage of more PATH trains. (This, in conjunction with automated train control, which is already being installed on PATH trains, will allow greater train frequency, thereby increasing capacity of the line.)
- Improved access (and frequency of service) to Liberty Airport for residents across the region;
This extension has the support of Newark’s Mayor Ras Baraka and key legislative leaders in the NJ Senate and Assembly.
Photo: Paul Sableman/ Flickr