Thursday, June 19, 2008

More NJ Complainers delaying the MOM Line

The worst newspaper in the whole wide world is reporting that the state Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Parks and Forestry doesn't approve of the MOM line running through Monmouth Battlefield State Park. ( link to APP story )

First, I've lived in Monmouth County for my whole life and I've never once stopped at Monmouth Battlefield State Park. No one I personally know has been there either. I have driven a few hundred miles to visit Yorktown and walked the battlefield there but I've never made an effort to stop at Monmouth Battlefield State Park and the state of New Jersey has done nothing to attract me, or any other tourist, to this park. On the contrary, Virginia has chosen to embrace this nation's history and the role their state has played in the history of our nation, and actively works to attract tourists from around the world to visit historic Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and Busch Gardens. New Jersey on the other hand, has not embraced it's role in the history of the nation. Great Adventure in Jackson, just miles away from Monmouth Battlefield State Park doesn't integrate into the history of the state where Busch Gardens in Williamsburg blends seamlessly into the historic look and feel in the Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown area of Virginia. The Freehold Mall, essentially across the street from Monmouth Battlefield State Park, is just a brick and mortar memorial to free markets and capitalism whereas every strip mall or mall in the historic part of Virgina fits the "look and feel".

My point? What goes on in this park that a train can't roll through the park? I get it "a Revolutionary War battle was fought here"... or "your freedom was won here", yeah, and then?

I've read the history books about the Revolutionary War and I've read the history of the Battle of Monmouth and to be quite honest, the battle wasn't all that important in the grand scheme of the war. When NJ was being developed and inhabited, no one found Monmouth Battlefield State Park to be so important as to embrace the history and no one made it a point to even advertise the location on real estate sales as "Monmouth Battlefield State Park is nearby!". Just this past year our Governor even threatened to close Monmouth Battlefield State Park. It doesn't seem like anyone in NJ, aside from maybe Garry Wheeler Stone, Monmouth Battlefield State Park historian, really wants Monmouth Battlefield State Park around any more, which is sad in some way but telling of where New Jersey is going. How many people really visit the park and what revenue is generated from the park? I know that the budget for the park is apparently $495,000/yr but I somehow doubt that the park is making that money back, and I doubt that the park is attracting tourists to the area that generates at least that much in sales taxes or profits for local business, so again, I have to ask, why can't a train roll through the park?

Imagine, a train rolls through, maybe even stops, at the park. Maybe a few people even get off of the train every once in a while to stop and see the park. Maybe the train station becomes part of the park and memorial. Maybe enough NJ residents take the 5 minutes to stop by the park and see what it has to offer and maybe in the future some business owners and residents in New Jersey will embrace our role in history and not just use the park as an excuse to prevent future generations from sitting in bumper to bumper traffic as we do every day. I'm not talking about closing the park like Mr. Corzine is talking about, I'm just talking about running a train across the train tracks that are already in place. We won't be the first generation to run a train through the park...

Ohh and also this morning, same day as the "Train route may be defeated by battlefield" story was published, the app is also reporting "Two southbound lanes of Route 9 are closed because of an accident, authorities said. The crash occurred this morning near Route 522"

Just think, mass transit means less pollution, less traffic, less accidents, less police/ems need to respond to such scenes every morning. And the environmentalists really have nothing to complain about, the tracks are already in place, nothing new really needs to be done. No eminent domain needs to be used in the park so the people against future development have nothing to complain about and I'm not sure how the noise from a train passing by every hour or so somehow pollutes the park's quiet scenery, except when there are cannon's firing and muskets being fired.

Stop complaining NJ. There is a dolt running for US President on the platform of "Change" and it appears that most of you are going to vote for that dolt. If you want "Change", then building the MOM line, which has been a design and expense since the 1970s, into a real working rail line would be a nice "Change". Face it, the world isn't supposed to look the same today as it did when you were a kid 50 years ago and with all of the development that has occurred here in Jersey, it's about time that our public transportation infrastructure catches up.

On a related note - Gas price was posted at $4.22 this morning. A 74 mile round trip from my house into NYC at about 15mpg (probably less in traffic, but I like to think 15 is a fair average) means I burn about 5 gallons on a trip or $21.10 in gas. Add in the $8 for a bridge and a round trip NJT ticket makes good sense, this not even adding in tolls for the Turnpike or Parkway, or bridges and tunnels and not including cost to park in the city.


Melissa L. Gaffney said...

I'm just so glad someone other than me is not happy with the Press. I love the tag.

Eric Sedler said...

Middlesex is really the one blocking the MOM line..they are opposed.

All the legislators in the 14th (parts of Mercer & Middlesex) are opposed to it, which means it's not a very popular project given that's a split district.