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Uncovering the Tracks: Reconnecting Historic Train Stations to the Communities They Serve

Craig Raphael
Jun 16, 2010
Dec 14, 2017

In honor of our new partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation (to be formally announced later this week), PPS is revisiting a body of project work impacting historic places. Below we'll look at several historic train stations in New Jersey; later this week, we'll examine historic market halls and main streets.

The nation's third largest transit provider, NJ TRANSIT, has a system that includes 161 rail stations--1/3 of which are historic sites--in addition to 28 light-rail stops and more than 17,000 bus stops.   Every one of these transit facilities is a natural focal point for the community, a gravity point for activity that can help to revitalize adjacent neighborhoods, improve the image of the transit agency and increase ridership. PPS and NJ TRANSIT have worked together over many years to ensure that New Jersey’s bus stops and train stations live up to their potential as great public spaces. A handful of these projects (shown below) demonstrate the positive outcomes of reconnecting historic train stations to the communities they serve.

Nearly one-third of the approximately 170 train stations in New Jersey, like Netherwood Station in Plainfield, New Jersey, are registered as historic places.
To help reestablish Netherwood Station as a gateway to the community, PPS put back the green space and traffic calmed a nearby street.
This station lies at the heart of the business district of Maplewood. PPS created a better connection to the town through crosswalks and a plaza.
A concierge service and cafe enlivened the interior of the restored train station.
A new roundabout at the Rutherford train station created a better link to the downtown.
PPS gathered more than 50 NJ Transit staff to evaluate how the New Brunswick train station performed as a place, in order to learn how to better manage all NJ TRANSIT stations across the state.
A variety of amenities are clustered in the station to create synergy, enhance their impact, and maximize use.
Craig Raphael
Craig Raphael
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