Hackensack as a long-time transit hub - Part 4 - Trolleys

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Hackensack as a long-time transit hub - Part 4 - Trolleys

Journeys into Hackensack

In February, 2016 Hackensack became the 31st community in New Jersey to receive the designation Transit Village.

Most of those other transit village communities were so designated because of their connection to rail service. Though Hackensack has is blessed with two rights of way, and two stops along N.J. Transit's Pascack Valley line, the focal point of its designation was Hackensack Bus Terminal. The bus terminal provides access to 12 different NJ TRANSIT bus routes, and connects riders to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station as well as to Jersey City and Newark and many northern New Jersey locations.

The idea of the transit village is that it serves as an anchor Hackensack's downtown redevelopment plan for the area within a half-mile of the terminal. The plan promotes retail and commercial improvements and aims to create a connected community around all three transit facilities.

Notwithstanding the excitement this designation is creating, Hackensack has long been a transportation hub.

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This series is inspired by a wonderful source of information about Hackensack's history we recently came upon. It is very entertaining and easy to read ("Historic Facts about Hackensack", compiled and written by George Mercer Scudder, September, 1999). Part of it outlines Hackensack's changing role in transportation over the years. We share it with you here and highly recommend it to you. In Part 1 of this Series, we shared with you some of the history of the role of the river. In Part 2 we took a look at the roads, turnpikes and taverns of Hackensack's early years. Part 3 is about the trains that came through town. This Part 4 is about the Trolleys that traveled to and through town until 1930:

The Bergen County Traction Company was organized in 1896 to provide trolley service to Bergen County: On February 24, 1899, the first trolley left Fort Lee bound for Paterson, through Hackensack. This line later became known as the Hudson River Line (later the # 1 bus line).

Lines were later extended to Rutherford, Passaic and Newark. In summer it was a pleasure riding in the "open air" trolley fiom Leonia across the meadows to Hackensack.

The line going to Paterson ran alongside the Susquehanna tracks in Hackensack as far as First Street. It then turned right and ran under the trestle north up First Street to Passaic Street, then west on Passaic to Franklin Place, north to Hamilton Place where they went west over the hill into Pleasant Avenue, Maywood.

The line to Rutherford and Newark ran west through Hackensack as far as Summit Avenue then south through Hasbrouck Heights on the Boulevard.

Meanwhile, the Public Service Company was running a trolley line north and south through Hackensack. The line terminated at the northern most boundaries on Main Street at Zabriskie's Pond. From there it went down Main Street, Hudson Street and through Little Ferry, Ridgefield and all the way to Weehawken Ferry (later Public Service bus line #165).

The East-West line led folks to the ferry at Edgewater which crossed to 125th on the city side. The intersection between East-West and North-South occurred at Main and Mercer. Unlike the rail lines the crossed but provided no transfer possibility, the intersection of trolley lines turned Main-Mercer into a vibrant crossroads.

Hackensack as a long-time transit hub - Part 4 - Trolleys

The cost of a trolley ride was five cents.

Images Credit: Bob Hooper of the North Jersey Electric Railway Historical Society via Hackensack, NJ Community Message Boards