Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dream On

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dream On

Article excerpt

THE DEVELOPERS of American Dream Meadowlands, which is proposed to be a revamped version of the failed Xanadu complex in East Rutherford, say the shopping and entertainment center will attract "millions of people a year," many of whom would visit an indoor amusement and water park. How they'll all get there is not apparent.

The developers, Triple Five of Edmonton, Alberta, have told the state Transportation Department that including the water park at the sprawling complex near where Routes 3 and 120 and the New Jersey Turnpike intersect would result in merely a "minimal increase in traffic." What's even more puzzling is that the state is supporting that rosy assessment.

Governor Christie is a big proponent of completing what was once called Xanadu. The half-finished and abandoned project adjacent to MetLife Stadium is often ridiculed for being one of the ugliest structures in New Jersey. Christie is right to encourage redevelopment, but at the same time, let's look at traffic estimates without blinders.

The indoor amusement and water park is considered essential to the viability of the project. The proposed features include a year- round, climate-controlled environment, rides and "water features" for the entire family, and ecosystem education programs. It surely promises to be one of the premier attractions of the entire complex. With all that, Triple Five says it would increase traffic less than 1 percent above an original estimate of 200,000 trips to and from the complex on Saturdays.

It's true that various road improvements in the area already have been made. They include a rail link to the stadium, new Turnpike access ramps and various upgrades to secondary roads. Nonetheless, suggesting that the traffic impact in an already-congested area would be minimal seems overly optimistic.

Triple Five notes that mass transit (see rail link) to the Meadowlands has been improved, but as one critic of the traffic estimates, Mayor William Roseman of nearby Carlstadt, noted, "When was the last time you took a train to the mall? …

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