A New Bus Terminal for Hackensack ?
Journeys into Hackensack
Transportation plays an important role in the history of Hackensack.
Usually, those histories point to the important role of the river, the railroads and trolleys.
Busses have also played an important role – in fact so much so that Hackensack has traditionally been a crossroads for various bus lines.
During the latter part of the 1920's many of the trolleys were being replaced with buses which could alter their course and did not rely on tracks or wires. New bus lines popped up all over; many operated by individuals over short distances. Small companies began to buy other small companies and eventually the Public Service Transportation Company owned most of them. The trolley that went up and down Main Street was replaced by a bus that went from Little Ferry to North Hackensack, and later to Westwood. Another bus line terminated at Summit and Catalpa Avenues and a private line owned by Nelson Company ran from New Milford, past the New Bridge Inn, over the old bridge by Steuben House and down Main Street to the Court House. The Nelson Garage was in the building opposite the old "Old Dominion" restaurant. All bus fares were five cents.
In addition to those lines mentioned above, there were a number of other routes that came through town – so many, in fact, that bus terminals and stations have been used to accommodate the buses and their passengers.
The first and still most admired and recalled was the 1930’s structure, a Depression era project of the WPA.
Municipal Bus Terminal was built in the 1930's as WPA Depression era project. Located a couple of blocks to the east of the crossroads Main-Mercer intersection, it was a nonetheless a hub. It was a landmark of the community for a long time. A 1939 WPA Federal Writers’ Project described the then new terminal as follows: “The Municipal Bus Terminal, River St. opp. Demarest Pl., is a modern one-and-one-half-story structure of white-faced brick and glass. Designed by Spencer Newman and opened in 1937, it was financed jointly by the city and the Works Progress Administration. The severity of the functional style is relieved by effective planting on the approaches. The terminal serves most buses operating in the Hackensack section.” A recent book looks back on the former terminal: “The municipal bus terminal on River Street in Hackensack was a state-of-the-art building. … Comfortably heated with a cafeteria, it was a landmark in its day. Nowadays, it has been replaced by … the Heritage Diner.” (Sellarole et al.)
That terminal was replaced in 1970 by the existing Hackensack Bus Transfer just across the street and just north at what used to be Shea Chevrolet. It was renovated in 2007.
The present day outdoor central island boarding–disembarking area surrounds an indoor waiting room and ticketing facilities. Service from nearby bus stops travels to locations in Bergen, Passaic, Essex and Hudson counties as well as the Port Authority Bus Terminal and George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Manahattan.
As part of Hackensack’s ongoing development, one of the proposed projects includes a new bus station. The site of the new project is just north of the present bus transfer – it is the block surrounded by Mercer, River and Moore Street as well as Demarest Place.
The building would be on River Street, a few blocks north of county headquarters. The new bus station would replace the existing transfer and have the capacity for 12 buses. NJ Transit, which rents the current terminal from Hackensack, is expected to rent the new station from the county, county officials said recently about the a mixed-use residential building that would also county offices in addition to the new bus station.
County officials are characterizing the plan as visionary, saying it would move NJ Transit buses off Hackensack streets, boost capacity for public transportation in an area of the city is seeing dramatic real estate growth and create housing intended for middle-income workers.
Two stories of parking and two stories of county offices would sit above the bus station. The residential building would be on the side and have about 100 apartments, most of them one-bedroom units or studios.
Article in Northjersey.com December 8, 2020: https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/hackensack/2020/12/08/bergen-county-nj-wants-ok-150-million-borrowing-plan/3857058001/
Source info: Info on W.P.A. Municipal Bus Terminal - https://livingnewdeal.org/projects/old-municipal-bus-terminal-hackensack-nj/