Smells like…well, certainly not like victory. Every morning as I transfer from the Bergen line to one of the lines that goes to midtown NYC via the Secacus Junction, I get to enjoy the smell of rotting marsh grass. While others may enjoy exploring or studying this complex ecosystem, I get to stand in a train station in the middle of it, every morning. And it is quite open to the fragrant air.
While I’m bitching, who the hell designed this monster of a station anyway? The much delayed, overbudget and now renamed “Frank R. Lautenberg” Station has a few major flaws.
The system is supposed to sense trains up the line and announce “Train 123456 to Penn station now arriving on track B.” Actual practice – trains are announced that go flying through the station at 40 miles an hour, trains are announce for track A and show up on Track B, etc. Screens promote the 8:11 AM train as “On Time” at 8:13 am.
And the main rotunda – a beautiful marble area with magnetic card reading barriers before one can enter the tracks – so badly designed it makes me want to weep. There are 4 or 5 functional gates to NY that everyone from a train tries to go through. There are, of course, more gates down the hall. No one wants to walk down the hall, so NJT has people specifically standing in front of these gates telling people not to use them, and to go down the hall where there are more gates. You don’t have to be Don Norman to figure out that something is wrong when someone is being paid to be standing in front of the gate right in your natural walking path telling you to go down the hall.