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WEST ORANGE, NJ-Gov. Jim McGreevey was a busy man yesterday–just hours after laying out his economic development agenda before business leaders in Newark (see earlier story), he held a press conference here to announce that the state will create a total of almost 5,800 park-and-ride spaces at five locations around the state. The Governor had announced back in January that the long-range goal of his administration was to create a total of 20,000 such parking spaces as part of an effort to reduce the state’s chronic traffic congestion.

The press conference yesterday was at the site of one of the five projects–an $8 million, 500-space parking garage adjacent to the South Mountain Arena here. Construction is expected to begin in mid-autumn, with completion slated for next May.

The West Orange facility is slated for double duty, serving both local commuters during the week and those attending events at the adjacent arena and a nearby zoo during off-hours. “It will also help stimulate economic development in an area that has the potential to grow,” Essex county executive Joseph DiVincenzo said at the press conference.

Besides the local facility, other park-and-ride projects announced around the Garden State were the Atlantic Highlands Ferry Station (400 spaces), Waterview Blvd. in Parsippany (275 space), and the Montclair State University Station (1,500). And a total of more than 3,100 parking spaces will be spread among 13 stations along the under-construction South Jersey Light Rail Line linking the cities of Trenton and Camden.

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