A Train Trip to Hike Mills Reservation

Yesterday, I took the train to Mills Reservation and did a two-mile hike there.  Mills Reservation is one of the few hikes in New Jersey accessible by train.  I’ve gone there by train several times in the past, taking the Montclair-Boonton Line to the Montclair Heights station and walking up Normal Avenue to the park.  But this requires an 0.4-mile roadwalk along Normal Avenue, a rather narrow and heavily trafficked street, which lacks sidewalks for part of the way.
 
For yesterday’s trip, I decided to detrain at the Mountain Avenue station, the next stop to the south.  This way, I had only a short road walk on Laurel Place—a dead-end residential street with sidewalks.  From there, I could climb a grassy slope and follow the Lenape Trail to the park at the crest of the ridge.  This ended up being a far more pleasant and safe route.
 
Yesterday was a perfect day to visit the park, which affords magnificent views of the New York City skyline:

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A Trip to the Symphony: State Theatre

Today, March 13th, I had a ticket for a 3:00 p.m. performance by the New Jersey Symphony at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, and I decided to go by train. I drove to the New Bridge Landing station, where I boarded Pascack Valley Line Train #2112, which departed at 12:45 p.m. and arrived at Secaucus at 1:12 p.m., giving me plenty of time to transfer to Northeast Corridor Train #7845, scheduled to depart at 1:23 p.m. The train operated a few minutes late, and we arrived at the New Brunswick station at 2:17 p.m., six minutes late. That was fine, as it takes about 10 minutes to walk to the State Theater, which didn’t open to the public until 2:30 p.m.

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From Florida on Valentine’s Day

Member Gary Kazin, a “snowbird” who winters in Florida and is an avid cyclist, sent in this report from his travels this past Valentine’s Day:

We’re in Kissimmee, Florida, an appropriate destination for Valentine’s Day weekend, for the Florida Folk Dance Council’s Winter Camp, which started Friday evening and ends at noon Monday.  Eat (too much), sleep (too little), dance. . . .

I’m a ‘non-dancing spouse’ so I get breakfast and dinner and can do my thing during the day.  We’ve done this before and I bring my bike.  We start our travel a day early to sight-see northbound but go directly to Boca Raton on Monday.  I rode 42 miles Saturday to visit a state park northwest of here; the weather was great and the ride went well.

On the return, about 5 miles from the hotel, I was riding on a service road and heard a crash behind me.  A 63-year-old man had crashed an electric dirt bike; it apparently had gone off the edge of a sidewalk where the dirt had eroded away and the bike dropped about four inches.  The rider didn’t follow the bike down and went over the handlebars, falling to the ground ahead of it.  Some of these bikes can reach 30 mph and he had no helmet!

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James T. Raleigh (1934–2013)

It is with profound sadness that we note the passing of our Legislative Director, James T. Raleigh.

Jim was a scientist, a historian, and a great advocate.  He understood politics, and how officials make the decisions that affect our daily lives.  He made history through his brilliant strategies that helped to defeat New Jersey Transit’s plans to build a dead-end, deep-cavern terminal far below Midtown Manhattan—a plan that, at one time, only our organization believed would pose a detriment to the rail riders of our communities.  With Jim’s wisdom and advice, and with our hard work, we were able to build an alliance that kept the issue alive until Gov. Christie terminated the project in October 2010.

As an advocate for better transit, Jim cared deeply about our mobility. As a historian, he cared deeply about our heritage. As a scientist, he dedicated himself to the pursuit of truth.

Jim possessed an amazing understanding and knowledge of politics and the legislative process.  He had campaigned extensively in Trenton, and to a lesser extent in Washington, for better transit.  He made many statements and appearances at legislative hearings, community meetings, NJT Board meetings, and rail conferences.

Jim’s greatest achievement in advocacy was in planning and implementing the campaign to oppose the construction of a dead-end, deep-cavern terminal 20 stories below 34th St. in Midtown Manhattan, the result of changes in the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Project.  With significant assistance from Coalition Technical Director Joseph M. Clift and other Coalition members, we were able to build an alliance with other rider advocacy organizations, convince some elected officials and media figures to oppose the project, and keep the issue alive until Gov. Chris Christie terminated the project in October 2010.

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A Message from the Chair

Hurricane Sandy has been rough on all of us.  Some of us lost power for days, and some of us suffered damage to our homes.  Even if our homes are intact, we lost our railroad for at least 2 weeks.  At this writing, service is coming back, and we hope that New Jersey Transit can restore full service to our lines quickly.
John Bobsin deserves a special word of thanks for posting so many informative reports on this Web site during the emergency, as well as during normal times.  We value communication highly, whether with you our riders, with community officials, or with New Jersey Transit.  Unfortunately, it appears that NJT does not value communication with us as highly.  They have not been forthright with information about the extent of the damage or plans for restoring service.  We know this railroad and we work with our communities, so we could have helped the effort, if NJT had been willing to talk frankly with us.
We need to be sure that, when another emergency arises, this scenario is not repeated.  If we are to achieve that goal, we need YOUR help.  You can do this in two ways.  First, you can join the Lackawanna Coalition.  Dues for Associate Members (as of 2021, Associate Members are renamed Individual Members) are only $10 per year (as of 2021, $15 annually).  Second, and more importantly, we would like you to become an active member of our organization—not just a passive reader, but helping us communicate with riders, NJT management, and legislators.  If you are not familiar with our rail lines, we can tell you what you need to know.  We need people to join us in fighting for better transit, and a rail system that suits our needs as riders.
There is strength in numbers, and we invite you to help strengthen us as an organization.  Please join the Lackawanna Coalition and help us to fight for the transit we all need.
DAVID PETER ALAN
Chair
updated 12 June 2021, Sally Jane Gellert, current chairperson