Secaucus Junction now Johnny Transit approved!

Yes, the rumors are true. Secaucus Junction is now my favorite way in and out of the city. I watched this station being constructed in the late 90s as I commuted to my office (at the time in Harmon Meadow/Mill Creek area of Secaucus) and after its completion, hoped and wished that it would soon feature a park and ride. Indeed, since 2009 it now has a place to pull off the NJTP (exit 15X, I LOVE THAT!!)  and park. Parking is as low as $5 (depending on when you get there) and the train ride is $8 round-trip. I first tried it out in late December on my way to the Vanguard for a Bad Plus concert. We were on our way in listening to WCBS 880 for traffic, and heard there was a 1 hour delay inbound on the Lincoln Tunnel, so we gave it a try. It took us 10 minutes to park and walk to the station, 12 minutes riding on the train. That was it. I was hooked. I recently went back with the fam and some friends, and again was delighted with the entire experience. Whether you say SE-caucus or se-CAUCUS, there’s no denying this gem is the best way in and out of town for the bridge and tunnel set.

High-speed rail and the stim

While there’s been a lot of debate on how or if the stim will work, one thing that was added by President Obama at the last minute was an $8bn allocation to create a high-speed rail system in the country. They’ve designated several areas as “high-speed rail corridors” which would be eligible for some of the stim money. Of course, the Northeast Corridor from Boston to DC was high on the list. Here’s hoping they make it happen. While having the cash is nice, there are still many other issues to work out, including rights-of-way, designation of funds, and others. The NY Times covered the story yesterday.rail-map

Johnny Transit on the road

about-light-railHere I sit in PHX Sky Harbor International Airport, having just taken a ride on the new Valley Metro Light Rail System. Serving Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa (Phase 1, with more to come), the system just opened in December 2008.  Having watched its developmet every year while here for an annual conference, I just had to take a ride.  The system was well signed, the cars nice and spacious, and I was happy to see the 4-car train fairly crowded even at 11.40am on a Tuesday.  While plainly lacking the street-cred of a more time-honored system like the MTA, CTA, London Underground, etc, whenever a major city opens a new public transit system, it is a good thing.  Go PHX!  Your Cardinals may have lost the big game, but your new light rail system is sweet.  Costs $1.25 each way, $2.50 for an all-day pass, and is 25 minutes from downtown Tempe to downtown PHX.