HARRISON Councilman Larry Bennett, left, with Hudson County Executive Craig Guy, at the PATH station house opening last week. Photo by Kevin A. Canessa Jr.

The new PATH station in Harrison is so immense, so beautiful, it’s almost impossible to remember how basic the old one was. In fact, the 88-year-old former station frankly had seen many better days. But on Feb. 21, another leg of its massive transformation came to fruition with the opening of a new portion of the station on its southwest side.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey marked the completion of a new $47.2 million station house in Harrison.

The newly built 3,200-square-foot station house officially opened to the public at 3 p.m., Feb. 21.

It features new amenities such as an elevator, a public plaza with seating, 82 bicycle parking spots along a 17,800-square-foot concourse and a dedicated turnstile that accepts TAPP, PATH’s new contactless tap-and-go fare payment.

Other turnstiles in the station house continue to accept existing PATH fare payment systems such as SmartLink and MetroCard. The station house replacement project was funded partly by a $40.7 million Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant.

The original station house, built in 1936, had become outmoded and outdated by modern transportation needs and was razed to make way for a more modern and accessible replacement. The new facility was built with particular focus on resiliency and sustainability in adherence to the Port Authority’s rigorous standards.

It was designed with enhanced flood protection from the Passaic River, with the station house’s first level located above the flood plain. Water runoff will be collected and stored in water-retention tanks for landscape irrigation.

“Today’s announcement marks yet another milestone in the comprehensive modernization of our regional transportation system,” Gov. Philip D. Murphy said. “I applaud the Port Authority for the forward-thinking lens through which this project was conceived. Combining state-of-the-art technology with sustainable and resilient practices will ensure New Jersey commuters have a first-rate mode of transportation to get where they need to go while benefiting our regional economy as a whole.”

Murphy was not present at the opening, but many PA leaders, and Harrison Councilman Larry Bennett, were.

“I was so honored to be Mayor Fife’s representative at the opening of the station house,” Bennett said. “The late Mayor Ray McDonough’s vision is the reason we all stood there — in fact, all of what is happening in Harrison can be traced back to the vision he and Pete Higgins had for a better Harrison. I am especially pleased the station will now be accessible to all patrons with the addition of the elevator. We are grateful to all the folks who worked so hard, behind the scenes, too, who made this all possible.”

“Our $256 million investment in the PATH Harrison station complex has turned an outmoded nearly-century old facility into an ultra-modern 21st-century transit hub accessible to everyone,” Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said. “This expansion of the Harrison station that we are opening today advances our commitment to providing a modern 21st-century customer experience at Port Authority facilities.”

The new station house is the latest step forward in the Port Authority’s $256 million transformation of the sprawling PATH Harrison station complex as a vital transportation hub in the region. The new facility provides safe pedestrian access for the Harrison station without the need to cross the busy Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard. It complements a station house in the northeast section of the complex completed in 2018, and a second station house that opened in 2019 in the complex’s southeast section.

The expansion and modernization of the complex was conceived as the town of Harrison’s development and population increased sharply in recent years, driven by quick and easy PATH service to and from New York City. In addition to service on the PATH Newark-World Trade Center line, the station provides connections to midtown Manhattan via the 33rd Street Line, NJ TRANSIT buses, vehicle parking for commuters who wish to park and ride and safe and secure free-to-use bicycle parking. At its peak, the station served 2.6 million passengers in pre-pandemic 2019, and has since rebounded to more than 1.7 million passengers in 2023.

In developing the new station house, PATH retained the original 1936 structure’s history and legacy by preserving and showcasing the original signage and numerous artifacts from the previous building. These include the installation of an interpretative display and a striking black-and-white aerial map in an area outside the entrance; bronze station signage letters; a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone, and a directional mosaic tile sign.

The Port Authority’s $256 million investment at Harrison encompasses extensive renovations, the three new station houses to improve egress, and the construction of a new substation that now powers the entire station complex. The new substation, which has been operational for a year, ensures a dedicated power source for the large complex and was built to the agency’s stringent sustainability standards.

“I commend PATH Director Clarelle DeGraffe, Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton on the completion of yet another new station entrance at the Harrison PATH station,” new Hudson County Executive Craig Guy said. “A more modern, accessible PATH system is critical not only for our Harrison residents, but also for those who might consider West Hudson for investment and development. PATH is vital to our county infrastructure, growth and development, and we appreciate all PATH and Port Authority staff who made this project possible.”

Mayor James A. Fife also chimed in, though he was unable to attend the event.

“Since the Port Authority built the new state-of-the-art PATH station in Harrison, we have seen firsthand its great success as a complement to the massive redevelopment that has transformed this once-industrial zone,” said James Fife, mayor of the town of Harrison. “We commend the Port Authority for its commitment to Harrison and to PATH riders who rely on this station. Partnerships like the one we have with the Port Authority to improve this area are vital to our continued development, and we look forward to many more years of collaboration.”

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.