Keep Subway Lines Out of Jersey


Jessamine Irwin is a hero. (MEGAN O’HARA/THE OBSERVER)


With so many different transportation options for traveling into the city, Jersey doesn’t need subway lines. (Megan O’Hara/The Observer)
With so many different transportation options for traveling into the city, Jersey doesn’t need subway lines. (Megan O’Hara/The Observer)

As a native New Jerseyian, (or whatever we’re called), I’ve spent much of my life traversing state lines between my home and New York. From New Jersey, getting to the city is an easy trek. Growing up, one side of my family lived in Manhattan so I quickly became very used to car rides through the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels. However, once in the city, the one thing that I always looked forward to was riding the subway. It’s a uniquely New York experience—walking down an eerie subway tunnel, grime all around you and metal bars waiting to take you to the other side. As great as I thought the subway was as a child, I’ve come to realize that some things just belong strictly in New York and not in Jersey.

The subway is one of them.

I think of New York and New Jersey like siblings. New York is the older brother: suave, sophisticated, well-connected and cool. New Jersey is the younger sibling: smaller, less connected, yet still cool in its own way and still trying to reach the same level as his brother. They argue often, bickering back and forth about sports teams and things like that, but in times of need, they’re always there for each other. It’s a love-hate relationship. So when I heard that MTA was considering extending the 7 train into Secaucus, NJ, I thought to myself: “This isn’t worth the fight it’s going to become.”

New Jersey shouldn’t have a subway line because, currently, there are more than a few options for traveling from New York to New Jersey. There are PATH trains, NJ Transit buses and trains, private bus companies, and, of course, bridges and tunnels to make the journey from one state to another. According to recent reports, extending the 7 train into New Jersey would cost upwards of five billion dollars. I have to wonder: aren’t there more productive things we could be doing with that money? Sure, traffic between states via automobile can be terrible in the morning and evening and the buses and trains are incredibly crowded during peak hours, but who is to say that a subway extension will alleviate any of those discomforts?

Let’s talk logistics: the 7 train extension would stop in Secaucus, NJ, an industrial town that already has a train line that runs to the city. However, besides its proximity to the Hudson and the Meadowlands, Secaucus does not have much to offer location-wise. A subway extension would be much more useful in cities such as Hoboken or Jersey City—major transit hubs with absolute access to the Hudson. Now, I’m sure there are clear reasons why these cities are not viable options, but if New Jersey was ever going to get a subway, that’s where I think it should go.

Furthermore, exactly how significantly would commuting improve if the 7 train was extended? Although the line would be a direct link from NJ to Queens, the amount of traffic that a transit line of that convenience would create would essentially negate the goal of making commuting easier. Also, if there is already a NJ Transit train that goes into the city, wouldn’t this subway line act as direct competition?

As a commuter, when I get off the PATH at 33rd Street and descend the stairs to the BDFM line, I immediately transcend into a ‘New York State of Mind’. But once my day is over, I look forward to getting on that PATH train and heading back to New Jersey to relax and unwind.  When I’m in Jersey, I want to be in Jersey (and I’m pretty positive that there are more than a few New Yorkers who would prefer if there were no connections at all) but that’s just siblings for you—always bickering.