SENTINEL North Brunswick / South Brunswick

February 21, 2008

Brunswick area on track for a rail line

Two rail lines are being proposed in North and South Brunswick. The Northeast Corridor line could make a stop in North Brunswick along Route 1 if a proposed station and transit village are approved, and the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex (MOM) line could run through the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick.

Each is being evaluated for its traffic and environmental impacts, expected ridership and costs.
In the North Brunswick area, there is currently a 14-mile gap between the existing Jersey Avenue and New Brunswick stations. A station in North Brunswick would be a welcome change to the congested Jersey Avenue station or the New Brunswick station, which is plagued by parking problems. If the proposed transit village accompanies the station, so much the better.

Jonathan Frieder, a managing partner of TOD Associates, the developer of the property, said 6,000 local residents would use the North Brunswick line if it is developed in conjunction with the MOM line, and even more would travel along the line in the event Monmouth Junction is left vacant.
In relation to the MOM line (as reported in the Sentinel a few weeks ago), a study conducted by McLaughlin & Associates surveyed 500 residents, 200 of whom live in Middlesex County. The study found that 78 percent of Middlesex County residents favor the line.

Overdevelopment and urban sprawl are epidemic across New Jersey, and residents must see that those problems don't become even worse in years to come. Solutions will come from proper land use, smart growth principles and mass transit options that support both.
There is an opportunity in North Brunswick to develop an otherwise open area into a mixture of housing, restaurants, shops and community uses that will take environmental concerns into account and improve traffic flow on existing roadways.

On the other hand, if the South Brunswick connection goes through, congestion on both Middlesex and Monmouth County roadways will be reduced. This would ease the commute for residents, and reduce vehicle emissions at the same time.

Either way, it seems clear that one of the Brunswicks will have a train station within the next decade or so. Whether lines are built in North or South Brunswick, or in both communities, commuters across central New Jersey will benefit.