1. Why has the Harrison Avenue bus stop been eliminated?
Our current budget challenges forced us to make many difficult decisions that had unfortunate impacts on members of our community. We considered factors such as the relatively low ridership on the L bus route, demands for improved service on other heavily used routes, and the impacts to Highland Park residents.
The L Route through Highland Park was a pre‐Route 18 construction remnant that was considered the fastest and only way to and from the Livingston Campus. At that time, Route 18 was a two lane road with a congested traffic signal located at River Road. To alleviate the congestion, the State Department of Transportation constructed the Route 18 extension which was completed in 2005. One of the reasons for the building of Route 18 was to provide a faster and more efficient transportation option while reducing traffic congestion on local roads. Since that time, the fastest and most efficient way between the Busch and Livingston campuses has been Route 18. Over the past five years we have redirected resources from the L route to the LX Route in and effort to maximize the most convenient road network for travel.
2. A number of students have raised the issue of safety, especially during winter and night time, regarding walking in Highland Park; how will you address this situation?
The Highland Park community has regularly utilized this route for generations to access the New Brunswick train station and other New Brunswick establishments without incident. As you are aware Albany Street/Raritan Avenue (Route 27) is a state highway that is heavily traveled by many modes of transportation, including a high number of bicyclists and pedestrians. The high use of this area helps to increase the safety and a feeling of safety for the commuters and other residents utilizing this path between the two towns. All this activity adds what we call “eyes to the street” which is intended to, and in fact does, create a safer environment. In addition, the sidewalks along this road have recently been upgraded, near Route 18, and the entire route is now ADA compliant (American Disability Act) with
new street lights.
3. A number of students also have raised the issue of accessibility (grocery, medical, etc) to Highland Park; how will you address this situation?
It’s unfortunate that students can not get to the stores in Highland Park as easily as they once did. There are other stores and medical locations in New Brunswick that are within walking distance. Also, NJ Transit runs transit service through Highland Park. The Rutgers campus bus system is primarily for academic purposes, all other purposes are secondary.
The core mission of the Department of Transportation Services is to ensure that we provide inter‐campus transportation for students to class. The other uses of the transportation that are not a part of the core mission do not have as high a priority as those that address the core mission.
4. Although the LXc is scheduled to arrive every 30 minutes, the actual schedule is more like every 40 minutes; how will you address this situation?
Since the beginning of the semester we have been monitoring the LXc very closely. We have changed the LXc bus to be an articulated (long bus) that carries significantly more passengers. We have also required that any time a driver leaves any passengers behind on Cedar Lane he/she must report that condition to the bus dispatcher. The bus dispatcher then sends the next LX bus towards Cedar Lane to gather the remaining passengers. We will continue this process to ensure that the passengers can get to class. As of September 22nd we added a second bus to serve Cedar Lane, Monday through Friday, between 9:15am and 5:15pm. The frequency during those hours is now a bus every 15 minutes.
5. The 2 week‐notice regarding the L‐route cancellation is very short for most students who have already signed one‐year leases after having taken into consideration the connectivity provided by the L‐bus route; Why wasnʹt this eventuality communicated to students well in time so that they might have made informed decisions while choosing suitable housing for the current academic year?
The late notification to the community was regrettable but was dictated by the fact that we were not informed of our final state budget numbers until that time and were forced to immediately react to them. As soon as our budget numbers were given to us, we came up with a plan, and we then notified the community. The reason we have continued the LXc service was because we were aware that such a change, with no alternative options, would be even more disruptive to the residents of the Cedar Lane apartments.
6. Why donʹt you allocate the funding from LXc bus into L bus?
The “LXc” bus is being provided as a temporary solution for this academic year for Cedar Lane residents. This route also serves as an overflow option on the LX route which helps to handle the passenger volumes on that route. If we were to create a route specifically for Cedar Lane and Harrison Avenue, the need for additional buses on the LX route would still exist. Therefore instead of a route that serves both needs, we would be creating a need for an extra bus for Highland Park. One bus for one year serving Highland Park would cost RU
7. Please define and/or explain ʺunder‐utilizedʺ in relation to your statements on the L‐bus
The L route was described as “under utilized” in comparison to the other bus routes in our system. At times students were waiting for LX buses that were packed and did not get on half empty L route buses. This space on the bus, therefore, was considered to be an under utilized resource. By taking that “space” and putting it on the LX route we have maximized the efficiency of that route.
Jack E. Molenaar AICP/PP – Director
Rutgers University – Dept. of Transportation Services
Administration and Public Safety Division
55 Commercial Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 932-4827 – http://rudots.rutgers.edu