Traffic Jammin’ In Jersey

Newark, N.J., residents are bracing for the rush hour from hell when the $365 million Prudential Center debuts with the first of 10 Bon Jovi concerts October 25th. But city officials unveiled a rail expansion plan October 9th they expect will ease those fears as well as possible gridlock.

With the opening of the arena creating the potential for an influx of as many as 20,000 for concerts and hockey games, Newark and New Jersey Devils officials teamed up to announce a series of measures they hope will convince fans and neighbors to use public transportation.

Keystones of the plan are an expansion of rail service – more trains as well as later service on two major community lines that pass through the city. The Prudential Center also provides kiosks at which fans can purchase train tickets and check schedules.

"We know it could possibly be a traffic nightmare," Newark Mayor Cory Booker said at a news conference at the city’s Penn Station. "We think this is going to be one of the best transportation-accessible arenas in our nation."

Booker said "SlowGo" traffic advisories will be broadcast on television and radio when events at the arena or elsewhere could result in additional congestion. The goal is to get arena-goers or people who work in downtown Newark to leave their cars at home.

Officials will learn soon enough if the campaign is working. In addition to the Bon Jovi residency, the NHL’s Devils played their first game at their new home October 7th followed by four more home games the following two weeks.

Among the expanded rail lines will be late night trains between Newark and Hoboken, Jersey City and New York. Trains are also being added to New Jersey’s northeast corridor as well as the North Jersey Coast line.