Commuters Get Some Relief At Exit 109

December 14, 2017
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About 30 extra spots were provided to commuters at the Park and Ride located at Garden State Parkway Exit 109 after a former state police trooper building was razed last weekend.

By Jay Cook

LINCROFT – Whenever commuters to and from New York City can catch the slightest of breaks, it’s appreciated.

That was the feeling on Monday morning at the Park and Ride parking lot at Garden State Parkway Exit 109, when the usual crowd rolled in to discover a change that will ease their first hurdle of the morning – finding a place to park their car.

Commuters who use the Academy Bus and the Olympic Shuttle were greeted with about 30 new parking spots in the heart of the parking lot along Half Mile Road and Newman Springs Road.

Over the weekend, a former state police Troop E headquarters building, which had been used as a ticket sales office, was razed to provide more parking spaces in the oft-crowded parking lot.

Tom Feeney, a spokesman with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, said last week his agency had been actively looking at ways to lessen the parking burden in Lincroft. Those new spaces now push the capacity to over 250 cars in the main lot.

“With the lots at (Exit) 109, it gets busy, and we needed those additional spaces,” he said. “Knocking that building down gave us an opportunity to get them.”

Any help is good help, said Fair Haven resident Scott Nixon.

“The fact that somebody actually was willing to knock down a building, not replace it, and provide commuter parking is a positive step,” he said after finishing his Monday evening commute.

Sailing on New Ice

Nixon, who often commutes to the area near the Empire State Building, said the Lincroft lot is consistently overcrowded, considering the high demand and proximity to the Garden State Parkway.

“The honest answer is it’s a great convenience for anyone that wants to commute, but the demand far outweighs the supply,” he said.

Jay Patel, residing in Ocean Township, said he noticed construction over the weekend but didn’t realize the former state police building was coming down.

The Big Apple commuter said more parking spaces will help alleviate the mad rush around 6 a.m.

“This is ideal,” he said. “A lot of express busses go out to Port Authority and that’s why a lot of people take advantage of this location.”

He said with the added spaces, using the Exit 109 lot is now an option for people who go into work after the rush.

Since the former building had been used as a ticket sales office, Academy will continue to sell seats at the Lincroft lot. A ticket agent will work out of an Academy minibus daily from 4:30 to 9 a.m., but will only accept credit cards. Cash is not an option until Academy installs a new ticket booth for commuters.

Also, tickets will only be sold for the Lincroft Park and Ride, the transportation service said. Park and Ride tickets to the Monmouth Service Area, at milepost 100 in Wall Township, will not be sold.

Feeney said this work was independent of the eventual overhaul coming to the Exit 109 interchange. Public information sessions were held between the NJTA and Middletown Township in 2015 which outlined sweeping changes to both the Garden State Parkway North and South exits, but Feeney said those plans presented have since been modified and shrunk.

Hartshorne Woods Park To Expand

A public hearing will occur sometime in January, Feeney said, to update residents and commuters on the new work. Then the project would finally break ground in the spring or early summer, he said.

“The (Exit) 109 project is about providing better access to and from the parkway there, and to Newman Springs Road to reduce some of the congestion,” Feeney added.

This article was first published in the Dec. 7-14, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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