Tenafly officials, residents oppose light rail

January 24, 2012 8:07:10 PM PST
There was a resounding "no" from most residents in the Town of Tenafly to New Jersey Transit about a controversial proposal to bring light rail service to the area.

Town officials claim the project would destroy the downtown business district and ruin the quality of life for residents.

Tuesday night the crowd was largely against the plan and jeered the handful of people who spoke in favor of it.

It was a public hearing about a plan that would extend NJ Transit to Tenafly or Englewood.

"Mass transit has environmental benefits and potential benefits creating jobs in Bergen County," said John Durso, of NJ Transit.

But critics of the plan say they are concerned that it will have a negative impact, forcing some Tenafly businesses to relocate.

In terms of safety, critics believe light rail in close proximity to schools could put children in danger and affect first responders.

"Anybody that lives on the east side of town would see delayed response times for police cars and ambulances," said Michael Bruno, Tenafly Chief of Police.

However despite those concerns, supporters like Keith Smollen say a light rail extension is long overdue.

"It's not going to go through my neighborhood, but I'll use it if I come over to this area," said Keith Smollen, a supporter.

This was the second public hearing and there are two more to go.

Already many in the community are digging in against the plan.

"Any attempt to extend the service into Tenafly under the conditions described in the estimate will be met with the stiffest possible resistance," said Peter Rustin, Mayor of Tenafly.

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