Gov. opens new parking lot at Toms River park-and-ride

In an effort to relieve congestion on Ocean County’s roads, Gov. James McGreevey and state Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere last week officially opened a new 250-space lot at the existing Toms River commuter park-and-ride near the Garden State Parkway.

In addition to the expanded park-and-ride, which originally housed 298 spaces, a new commuter facility will open in December to provide rest rooms and vending machines. Commuters at this location are served by two bus lines –– Academy, a private carrier, which transports commuters to Wall Street, and NJ Transit which transports commuters to Manhattan, Newark, Jersey City, Middletown and Atlantic City.

"Drivers in New Jersey lose 261 million hours a year to congestion –– an average of 45 hours per driver. This is time that could be better spent with our families," McGreevey said in a press release. "To reduce the sheer number of cars on our roads, we must make mass transit the ticket to lessening traffic. To that end, I promised New Jersey’s commuters that I would create an additional 20,000 park-and-ride spaces, and today we are delivering 250 new spaces here in Toms River."

"With 73 percent of New Jersey’s weekday commuters driving alone, we must continue to make every effort to improve our mass transit system," Lettiere said. "Transportation Trust Fund investments such as this commuter facility go a long way toward easing congestion on our highways and improving the quality of life for all New Jersey residents."

The governor promised to create 20,000 new commuter parking spaces throughout the state. These new spots will increase park-and-ride spaces from 95,000 to 115,000 over the next five years for an expansion of 21 percent.