Concerns lead to bus stop being moved again

South River officials respond to complaints from church members


SOUTH RIVER – A borough bus stop will be moved from the front of a Main Street church in response to congregants’ complaints about loitering and related issues.

The Borough Council voted unanimously to move the bus stop, though officials did raise concerns that the problems faced by the Conklin United Methodist Church may be indicative of a larger problem.

“We need to study the whole bus system and route, and see if there is a larger problem,” Councilman Anthony Razzano said. “We need to look at the problem as a whole, not just a bus stop.”

Among the problems that Conklin members reported with the bus stop in front of their church at Gordon and Main streets were public urination, loitering and litter. The bus stop will soon be moved to the area of a former synagogue, a building now used by the Christ Is Lord Church for Spanishlanguage services.

Razzano has said the former synagogue site is less conducive to the problems at Conklin, since bus riders were using the steps in front of the church to sit and wait. Several Conklin patrons attended the council’s Sept. 10 meeting to voice concerns before the council voted to move the bus stop.

Razzano said he no longer attends services at that church, but his wife does and he is familiar with the problems experienced since the bus stop was placed there.

“They have put up with this for a long time,” Razzano said. “They tried to talk to the people [who ride the bus]. They did everything they could do. This was a last resort for them.”

A Portuguese-language service is held at Conklin at night Razzano said, and those who attend that service have reportedly witnessed the same problem with bus riders.

“The people [waiting for the bus would] grudgingly move out of the way on Sunday, so [church attendees] could get out of the door,” Razzano said.

The bus stop was formerly at the corner of Main and Obert streets, but was relocated due to problems there as well. The buses are operated by NJ Transit, which runs routes through South River and to and from New Brunswick, Woodbridge and other nearby areas.

After the relocation ordinance takes effect, the police department will determine when the most prudent time will be to move the bus stop to the area of the former synagogue, Razzano said.

Council President David Sliker said the council is not simply moving the problem to another location.

“We are certainly going to take these concerns that the Conklin Methodist Church had and bring them to the police and code enforcement’s attention. We are going to do something,” he said.

Mayor Robert Szegeti said the process would move along in such a way to ensure that the relocation goes smoothly.

“The administration and the police department are in conversation with the DOT

state Department of Transportation],” Szegeti said. “…We will ask the police department to make more frequent passes with reference to the time schedule. The bus riders are infringing on private property.”

Problems with people loitering on private property and discarding garbage in the area of bus stops have been a problem in the borough in the past, Szegeti said.

“We have always had problems with bus stops in town,” he said. “We try to make it comfortable for everybody, but when people start infringing on private property, that is a no-no.”