Monday, June 5, 2017


The battle over plans to divert most Midtown Direct trains to Hoboken in July and August continued Sunday with Mayor Vic Deluca penning another letter to NJ Transit over a long-delayed meeting with him and other mayors.

You may recall when the transit agency announced last month that all Midtown Direct trains would go to Hoboken in July and August because of Penn Station improvements, Deluca and South Orange Village President Sheena Collum penned a joint letter slamming the idea and requested a meeting with the agency. 

That meeting was first set for May 26, then pushed back to May 29. But when NJ Transit asked for another postponement to May 30, Deluca and Collum would have none of it, vowing to show up at 2 p.m. on May 29 and wait as long as it took for a meeting.

But when they arrived at the NJ Transit headquarters in Newark, along with officials from Millburn and Livingston -- as well as Assemblyman John McKeon and State Senator Richard Codey -- they were turned away.

Deluca did show up the next day at a state Assembly hearing on the issue in Newark, where the transit agency revealed that at least four Midtown Direct trains would operate each day, but all before 7 a.m.

They also indicated that a meeting with the local mayors, including Deluca, would be held June 7.

But on Sunday, Deluca said he had not heard any details about the meeting and sent the following letter to NJ Transit seeking more information:
Township of Maplewood
Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street

Maplewood, New Jersey 07040-2691
Telephone (973) 762-8120
Fax: (973) 762-3645
June 4, 2017
Dear Director Santoro,

I am writing to confirm the time and place for the June 7th meeting with elected officials on the Morris and Essex Train Line. As you know, there is great interest by the Maplewood Township Committee and commuters in our community in NJ Transit's plans for the Penn Station track work that begins on July 10th.
Our two previous scheduled meetings - Friday, May 24th and Tuesday, May 30th - were cancelled by Transit. On May 24th, elected officials received an email from John Leon, Senior Director of Government and Community Relations, stating the following: 

We know that you and your constituents are deeply interested in how Amtrak’s extensive and disruptive summer Penn Station track work will affect you, and in receiving more information about NJ TRANSIT’s plan for providing summer service that will continue to move the most customers safely and as reliably as possible.

In order to ensure that all communities along the Morris and Essex lines can be included, NJ TRANSIT will be pleased to offer in-depth briefings on the Amtrak track work and the summer schedule we have developed in response to Amtrak’s work 

Due to continuing extenuating circumstances, the meeting scheduled for Tuesday is being postponed.  However, we ask that you hold the date of Wednesday, June 7th available, so we can schedule an effective session (a separate meeting for Legislators is also being planned for Tuesday, June 6th).  We will contact you with a specific time and briefing location shortly. (Italics added)

As of Sunday, June 4th, five weeks before the track work is to begin, we have not been informed of the time and place for the June 7th meeting. Please respond on Monday, June 5th with the meeting information. 

Thank you for your anticipated response. 

Victor De Luca

Deluca said Monday he had yet to hear back from the transit agency. Stay tuned!

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