Commuters Enlist Norman Rockwell To Save Nutley Bus Stop

Commuters Enlist Rockwell, Email,

To Save Local Nutley Bus Stop

By Anthony Buccino

Not only would the proposed new bus stop location be far away, but there is no sidewalk between the current stop and would likely be much more dangerous than crossing at the present bus stop.

NUTLEY NJ - Norman Rockwell would be pleased if he saw the meeting of a few dozen hapless commuters and the Nutley Township Commission on Tuesday night. The people had their say and the elected officials listened. If the chamber wasn't at capacity with municipal employees irate about layoffs, Rockwell could well have painted the half-dozen commuters who had their say.

Bus stop at River Road and E. White Terrace Nutley NJThe commuters learned earlier this month that their local bus stop at River Road and East White Terrace would be eliminated.

FROM NJ TRANSIT NOTICE: "Effective Monday, November 22, 2010, two bus stops will be eliminated in Nutley, at the request of the Town in consultation with NJ TRANSIT, to address pedestrian safety concerns along River Road at White Terrace.

Customers for Bus Route Nos. 192/199 should use one of the following alternate boarding locations:

Bus stops on River Road at the shelter at the rear entrance gate to Cambridge Heights

Bus stops on Kingsland Avenue at River Road

Bus stops on Kingsland Avenue at Clifton Commons Mall..."

Their nearest stop would be about one-third mile north along a narrow two lane roadway where about 8,000 cars ignore the speed limit each day.

Not only would the proposed new bus stop location be far away, but there is no sidewalk between the current stop and would likely be much more dangerous than crossing at the present bus stop.

NJ Transit Route 199 bus, Nutley NJ, Lyndhurst, Clifton The hapless commuters were irate when they read the notice posted at the boarding area at Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Nowadays, when folks get riled, they make phone calls and send emails. Since the first notice was posted emails, updates and alternate views of the world have been flying among not only the three dozen commuters who showed up at the meeting, but with many of the other commuters who regularly walk to and from the bus stop in Rockwell-esque Nutley.

These commuters spoke with anyone who would listen. Township traffic officers, the police chief, several commissioners, township engineers, the county engineer and NJ Transit. And since the threatened bus stop abuts Route 21, they even spoke with the NJ Department of Transportation.

The grassroots reaction snowballed. One neighbor who doesn't even take the bus met with township traffic officials, measured nearby spaces to propose a closer bus stop, took photos and measurements and presented the commissioners with a bound copy of his research.

The first commuter who spoke to the Nutley commissioners during the township meeting laid out the history of the bus stop, the proposals, good and absurd, and requested, as the rest of the hapless E. White Terrace commuters requested, that the town change nothing now until further study has been completed and the mayor and township fathers have explored all the options to meet safety concerns.

The commuters were understandably upset at the prospect of losing their local bus stop, and all the inconvenience of relocating to a nearby stop that seemed to add greatly to safety concerns, not solve them.

But a funny thing happened at the township meeting. The commuters were treated civilly and with great patience by Mayor Joanne Cocchiola and the other commissioners.

Perhaps the commuters felt slighted having been left out of the initial decision to eliminate the bus stop, but Tuesday night, the commissioners were all ears and eager to set up meetings with the commuters and the appropriate safety people to find a solution.

Everybody agreed to change nothing until the town and commuters talked more about this.

It was email that brought out the commuters, and when one of the commuters asked what, after at least a decade with no accidents at the intersection, what prompted the township safety officials to meet with NJ Transit safety officials.

Ironically, Public Safety Commissioner Alphonse Petracco produced the August email citing safety concerns at the bus stop.

Commuters find local parking limited near Nutley bus stop.The author was among the commuters who arrived to protest the bus stop elimination. She rushed to the microphone to say that in her letter she asked that a policeman be assigned to the intersection because of the speeders and the narrow roadway. It was never her intention to eliminate the bus stop.

In the back and forth with commissioners, the commuters requested better lighting at the bus stop, and bigger signs than the small diamond-shaped pedestrian crossing signs recently installed at the crosswalks.

As a commuter on this very bus route every work day, this writer can vouch for the raceway atmosphere that often pervades that stretch of River Road, a county road, alongside state highway Route 21 between two distant traffic lights. Without a doubt we've seen many, many cars pass the bus as it's unloading or picking up passengers along that route, that is, passing the bus by crossing over the yellow line, and, of course, not passing slowly, either.

Those speeding cars crossing yellow lines, that's where the safety issue begins. Perhaps a few policemen issuing tickets for bad driving for a month or so would get the word on the street to slow down, don't cross that yellow line to pass a stopped bus, and don't mess with E. White Terrace commuters.

Buccino, a Nutley resident for more than 30 years, has been riding the 199/192 bus to work in NYC for about two years at the time of this writing. He also knows four of the five township commissioners well enough to say more than hello. He was contacted by an E. White Terrace commuter who asked him to attend the township meeting.

First published on NJ.Com Nov 24, 2010

Adapted from: This Seat Taken? Notes of a Hapless Commuter

Voices on the bus, train, subway, sidewalk and in my head  by Anthony BuccinoVoices on the Bus, train, subway, sidewalk and in my head

Verse  about commuting in Northern New Jersey. Feel the rhythm of the rails as you travel the last days of the Newark City Subway, or the PATH, and be relieved you are not present to hear the Preacher Man or Mr. Tourette's but do listen for the noise above the hum of the wheels and turn your ear to the voices on the bus, train or standing nearby on the platform. 

Read: Travels With Tonoose

Cherry Blossom Press

Nonfiction books by Anthony Buccino

Poetry Collections

Eight Poetry Collections by Anthony Buccino


New Orleans, New York, Jersey City, Nutley photo collections by Anthony Buccino

Photo Books
Photo Galleries

Military History

Military History books by Anthony Buccino

Nutley, NJ, Books

Belleville, NJ, Books

Belleville NJ books by Anthony Buccino