The Liberty State Park Circulator Cost-Benefit Analysis will examine various route options and modes for mass transit, including rubber tire and rail, throughout Liberty State Park to serve destinations within the park and existing and future adjacent residential development and businesses. The study will result in the identification of feasible concepts for more in-depth analysis in the future. This study is funded by a grant from the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority. The City of Jersey City hired Sam Schwartz Engineering (lead consultant) and Stump/Hausman (sub-consultant) to prepare the study.
Study ContextLiberty State Park is the most visited park in New Jersey and the second most visited state park in the nation. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection痴 Division of Parks and Forestry owns and operates Liberty State Park. Located adjacent to New York Harbor, the park offers spectacular views of Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the New York City skyline. The park also offers visitors unparalleled ecological and wildlife opportunities located in an urban setting. Popular destinations located in Liberty State Park include Liberty Science Center, ferry access to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty National Monuments, the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, the park痴 Interpretive Center, and the Liberty Landing marina. In addition, Liberty State Park is the largest park in Jersey City, the second most populous city in the state.
Because of these unique opportunities, the park is visited by locals, as well as tourists from the rest of New Jersey, across the country, and around the world. Park attendance is expected to increase in the future as the City痴 residential population grows and as planned improvements to the park, including the restoration of wetlands in the park痴 interior, are made. Currently, transit access to the park is limited, and most people travel to the park by car. Furthermore, parking in the park is limited, and the amount of parking is not expected to increase. In addition, a high percentage of Jersey City痴 residential population does not have access to a car and relies on transit. A mass transit circulator between destinations in the park and existing transit would improve access and mobility for local and regional visitors.
Study PurposeThe Liberty State Park Circulator Cost-Benefit Analysis will:
- Evaluate concepts for a mass transit circulator service, considering various routes and modes.
- Identify feasible concepts, eliminating cost-infeasible alternatives and keeping results consistent with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) requirements.
- Reduce auto travel to park
- Capitalize on the multi-modal mass transit network to make Liberty State Park more accessible
- Consider transportation needs of underserved communities
- Develop connectivity within Liberty State Park and consider destinations near the park
- Recognize park as local and regional destination
- Support tourism
- Improve linkages with National Monuments
Public InvolvementTwo public meetings will be held over the course of the study; the first one is planned for January 2013 and the second one for Spring 2013. These meetings will be opportunities for the public to hear about study progress and findings and to provide feedback to the project team. Also, a survey was conducted in Summer 2012 to collect information on the travel behaviors and visitation patterns of park users.
Scope of WorkThe scope of work includes the following tasks:
- Data Collection
- Summary of Existing Conditions
- Projection of Future Conditions
- Determination of Project Purpose and Need
- Identification of Options for a Circulator Service
- Evaluation of Concepts
- Development of Implementation Strategy
- Preparation of Draft and Final Reports
- Public Outreach