|The only doors at the new NJ Transit train station on Anderson Street in Hackensack are on two closets inside. On Sunday, a woman who said it is her job to clean stations didn't have a key to the closet with cleaning supplies.|
|The station is open facing Anderson Street and facing the tracks, above.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
When NJ Transit announced that it would replace the Anderson Street train station in Hackensack, it didn't mention that the $571,000 building wouldn't have any doors to protect commuters from the weather.
The station opened late last week, and on Sunday, it was evident that during heavy rain on Saturday, one of its windows has already sprung a leak.
The station is on the Pascack Valley Line that runs between Spring Valley, N.Y., and Hoboken.
The new station is said to have the same 46-foot-by-20-foot waiting room as the original under a pitched shingle roof, according to a March 2013 report in The Record of Woodland Park.
The original station dated to 1869, and when it was destroyed in a fire, it was said to be the second oldest train station in New Jersey after the Main Street station in Ramsey.
But the beautifully restored Ramsey Station has doors, and a Starbucks nearby. The small NJ Transit station in Clifton also has a door, a long bench and heat.
The other NJ Transit station in Hackensack, at Essex Street, is a park-and-ride, and doesn't have a waiting room. The city also once had a third rail station on Central Avenue.
The new station may have wide openings and no doors to prevent the homeless from moving in, said employees of the Straphanger Saloon, the bar next door.
One man, who identified himself as a part owner, said he's been startled by homeless men sleeping behind a nearby dumpster at 3 in the morning, when he is throwing out the garbage.
Hackensack has a large homeless population, drawn by three meals a day served free at the county shelter on South River Street.
|Puddles of water inside the station, near the ticket machine, from Saturday's soaking rains. The water appeared to leak through the window and over the inside sill.|
|Two overhead heaters provide a little comfort. The station opened late last week.|
Compared to the two bus shelters provided to commuters who use the Anderson Street station, the new building is a vast improvement.
The last station burned down about five years ago.
But if next winter is as bitter as the one we just experienced, waiting for a train will be uncomfortable, to say the least.
As traffic congestion gets worse every day, it remains to be seen if the new station will be enough to get commuters to leave their cars at home and take mass transit.
And if the workers at the Straphanger Saloon are correct, does it make sense that the design of the station and the comfort of commuters have been sacrificed because of a fear that the homeless will take over the place?
|Commuters can take shelter from rain and snow under the pitched roof.|