Monday, March 16, 2009

Suburban Wasteland

Last week I visited my family out in Wayne NJ. If you look at the Township's website the first sentence says "Located in the heart of Passaic County, New Jersey, less than twenty miles from midtown New York City, ..."

Wow less than 20 miles from NYC. That is the first the the Mayor has to say about his community. I guess that is definitively suburbia. I should not make fun.... Park Slope used to be suburban Brooklyn Heights.

I have driven there with the family many times, this time it was just me. So, I took the bus. The bus ride there was a cool trip. I got to look out the window. Ya know what I saw, I saw three things.

  1. Places to be (homes, stores, workplaces, meeting places)
  2. Roads
  3. Parking lots.
Everyplace had it's own parking lot and was connected by roads to other things with their own parking lot.

Whatever, I was just visiting. This place does not have to be for me. I was a nice efficient bus ride. I got to see my family without burning any more gas. I even found a shorter way to walk from the bus stop to the hotel by looking at the area from orbit.
View Larger Map I walked in strait up the main road instead of following the long hotel driveway. But the sidewalk ended and I had a choice between nasty road or mud to walk on. No big deal

The trip home was not-so-fun.

The buses are scheduled to go back to the Port Authority once an hour, 8 minutes after the hour. I was told to get to the bus stop early because sometimes the buses come early. (Better than Brooklyn, where the bus schedule is only fiction, I thought.) So, I was dropped off at 3:45. No biggie.

I made myself comfortable at the bus shelter. At 4:15 I saw the bus coming about a quarter mile away. I stepped to the curb and the bus blasted by me at about 40 miles an hour.
WTF WTF WTF. What the Fuck. I freaked out for a minute or so, but I realized that would not help. I just had to wait and hope the next one would stop. So I stood there and observed the traffic.

Discounting commercial traffic, over %90 of the vehicles passing me had only 1 person in them. Half of them were SUVs or Minivans. About %25 percent of the drivers were talking on their phones and/or eating. Uchcch.

I knew the next bus would stop because other people showed up to wait this time. A young man to me"That happens all the time, it is bad luck that it happened on your first trip. But the not so bad, it could be cold or raining." So I got to thinking.

I accrued to me that this suburban world is gonna be a car world for a long time.

  • The sidewalks are just for show.
  • The bus shelter was a real shithole, the bench was covered in road salt.
  • The only way to get to a bus shelter was by walking in mud. (I noticed that most were like that).
  • The newspaper box was full of trash.
  • The Town does not consider the bus important enough to put on it website.
  • From where my family lives, you could not buy a quart of milk without first getting in your car.
  • If I wanted to go for a run in this part of New Jersey, I would have to drive first.
So at 5:20, after an hour and thirty five minutes of waiting I got on the bus. On this Friday evening it was packed. I was the only white person on the bus.

Dear reader, you may draw your own conclusions as to why mass transit in this part of suburbia sucks.


  1. We are replying to your feedback of 3/16/2009 regarding subject: Suburban Wasteland.

    Thank you for contacting NJ TRANSIT to share your blog, in which you reported being bypassed by one of our bus operators while waiting at a valid bus stop. I'm truly sorry that your trip back to NYC did not go as scheduled. We expect our bus operators to allow all prospective customers waiting at an authorized bus stop, an opportunity to board. Based on your account of this situation, I submitted your complaint for investigation and to determine whether any reason existed that would cause this bus operator to bypass this particular location. Should no such extenuating circumstances exist and the operator is found to be at fault, rest assured that appropriate action will be taken to guard against a recurrence of this type.

    With regard the condition of the bus shelter you were waiting at, please note that under NJ TRANSIT's Bus Shelter Program, we arrange for and bear the cost associated with installing bus stop signs and shelters a the request of a local sponsor, (typically the municipality). However, once erected, the sponsor (in this particular case, the Wayne municipality) bears the responsibility for maintaining the shelter, and we recommend contacting them directly about the shelter condition.


    NJ TRANSIT Customer Service Team
    CLICK HERE to reply. E-mail responses cannot be processed.

  2. I really hope nobody gets in trouble. I don't see how. There is so-not-enough information in my blog to have an investigation.


You do not have to be nice!


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