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NJ TRANSIT IMPLEMENTS EXCLUSIVE BUS LANE IN DOWNTOWN NEWARK

Priority lane will offer a faster bus trip home from Newark Penn Station starting April 7

March 31, 2008
NJT-08-023

NEWARK, NJ — Thousands of bus riders will benefit from an improved commute beginning Monday, April 7, when NJ TRANSIT and the City of Newark implement an exclusive bus lane (XBL) along a heavily traveled portion of Raymond Boulevard in downtown Newark during the evening rush hour.

“The exclusive bus lane along Raymond Boulevard will enhance mobility for bus customers, pedestrians and motorists, supporting the continued development of the downtown Newark area,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri. “This project is part of our overall strategy to improve pedestrian and vehicular safety and traffic circulation around Newark Penn Station.”

“With the continuing development in our downtown area, Newark has become a focus for commerce, tourism and new residents,” said Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker. “It is vital that we control traffic in this area and provide our commuters with safe and efficient alternatives to personal cars. This partnership with NJ TRANSIT will play a major role in doing so. I commend NJ TRANSIT for its recognition of and commitment to Newark’s growth by partnering with our city in this process.”

The XBL is designated as the center lane on Raymond Boulevard from Raymond Plaza East (Newark Penn Station) to McCarter Highway (Route 21). Overhead electronic signs and lane markings indicate that the lane is for buses only during the evening peak period—weekdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

“The new exclusive bus lane and signal improvements will save customers time by reducing delays caused by evening rush hour traffic on Raymond Boulevard,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles. “Thanks to support from Mayor Booker and the City of Newark, we will be able to provide our bus customers with an improved commute during one of the busiest times of day.”

Three westbound lanes will remain available for motorists when the XBL is in operation.

Each weekday, more than 130 buses operate from Newark Penn Station along Raymond Boulevard during evening peak hours, serving approximately 3,000 customers.

In addition to improving the commute for bus customers, the project will enhance pedestrian safety and convenience by providing new ADA-friendly pedestrian crossings, including countdown-style walk/don’t walk signs and “push-to-cross” devices that provide audible signals/spoken instructions to individuals waiting at the crosswalk.

Shift in Newark traffic patterns

NJ TRANSIT will begin testing the new signals one week prior to opening the new XBL—on Tuesday, April 1.

Motorists are advised to be mindful of new traffic patterns during the afternoon/evening peak period. The center lane on Raymond Boulevard between Newark Penn Station (Raymond Plaza East) and McCarter Highway (Route 21) has been designated as the exclusive bus lane.

  • All buses leaving Newark Penn Station, heading westbound on Raymond Boulevard (toward Route 21), will have exclusive access to this center lane Monday through Friday between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Electronic lane-use signs displaying green arrows or red “Xs” will indicate which travel lanes are available for use.
  • During these hours, all eastbound motorists making a left turn from Raymond Boulevard onto Raymond Plaza East will need to use the lane adjacent to the exclusive bus lane. New signage will identify the left turn.

Change to Raymond Boulevard bus stop

NJ TRANSIT bus customers who use the bus stop outside Seton Hall School of Law are advised that no service will be provided at that stop during the bus lane’s operating hours (weekdays 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.). Customers who normally board from this location may use either the Newark Penn Station bus lanes or the bus stop located on Raymond Boulevard at Broad Street, near the PSE&G building.

The routes that will benefit from the exclusive bus lane include:

  • 5 Kinney
  • 21 Newark-West Orange
  • 29 Bloomfield Ave.
  • 39 Chancellor Ave.-Kearny Ave.
  • 62 Newark-Woodbridge-Perth Amboy
  • 67 Toms River-Lakewood-Newark
  • 70 Newark-Livingston
  • 71 Newark-West Caldwell
  • 72 Newark-Paterson
  • 73 Newark-Livingston Mall
  • 75 Newark-Butler
  • 76 Newark-Hackensack
  • 78 Newark-Secaucus
  • 79 Newark-Parsippany
  • 319 Atlantic City-New York
  • 978 Wheels
  • 44 Tremont (Coach USA)

In July 2007, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a $1.2 million contract to Daidone Electric, Incorporated, of Newark, to create the exclusive bus lane using new traffic signal synchronization, changeable message signs and pavement striping.

The project included installation of new pavement and striping, new traffic lights, sidewalks, ADA-compliant crosswalks and electronic lane use signs, as well as removal of medians, pavement, crosswalk pavers and planters where needed.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.