August 2017 News

Total auto gridlock at Liberty State Park was observed on the weekend of July 29 - 30. The west end of Zapp Drive was subject to bumper to bumper stagnation due to full parking lots. As a result, Park Police blocked off Morris Pesin Drive, Freedom Way and Zapp Drive east of the ferry parking lot.

A plan that would have prevented this mess and others like it was put forward by Liberty Historic Railway with an award-winning LSP Transit Study by Sam Schwartz Engineering a couple of years ago. It called for the re-creation of a historic electric trolley operation on its own private right-of-way along the south side of Zapp Drive. Vintage streetcars would shuttle park goers between the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal on the Hudson River and the Hudson Bergen Light Rail’s Liberty State Park station adjacent to the Liberty Science Center where parking spaces are plentiful.

Sadly, this solution to traffic congestion received unreasonable opposition from the Friends of LSP. They claimed buses were the answer – but we know they would be trapped by the same auto gridlock. They stated that the trolley would take “blanket space” from park visitors - not credible - no one would want to spread a blanket out 10 feet from a busy roadway in a 1,200 acre park!

Two years ago a meeting at the Thomas Edison Laboratories National Historic Site on Main Street in West Orange was attended by LHRy Chairman McKelvey. At the time the remnants of the pioneering Edison Menlo Park electric railway displayed at the front of the building were noted to be in a rather deteriorated state. We offered financing to restore and place them on short sections of vintage rail. Park staff said they had the funding and they planned to do the work. They have done so! An excellent restoration has been completed to preserve these iconic NJ artifacts on rail. Photos by Gage Bongiovi, Thomas Edison National Historic Park.