Newark needs new motor vehicle agency, but replacing old one won't be easy, MVC boss says

By Larry Higgs | NJ Advance Media for
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on April 23, 2015

Drivers get their cars inspected at the state inspection station in Newark. The head of the state Motor Vehicle Commission wants to replace this agency and inspection station.


Newark's aging motor vehicle agency and inspection station has to go, says the boss of the state Motor Vehicle Commission, who wants to replace the Mad Men-era building that houses them.

"The Newark office is on my hit list for improvement, it's 50 years old and that office has outlived it's usefulness," he said. "It's our busiest office."

Replacing the agency and inspection station on Frelinghuysen Avenue is a top priority for Raymond Martinez because the agency building is at the end of its useful life. The office layout isn't efficient and there isn't enough space, he said.

How the MVC conducts business has also changed in the half century that's gone by since the agency was shiny and new, Martinez said. The old building doesn't lend itself to the MVC's current processes, how customers flow and lacks an "appropriate space" for the inevitable wait, he said.

But replacing that building won't be as easy a job as the MVC has had in other locations, he said. Typically, the MVC constructs a new structure next to the old facility, which remains open. Then the old building is demolished. The MVC property in Newark won't allow that to happen, he said 

"It's ... in a tight space," Martinez said. "We've looked at other properties and have not come up with another property."

So MVC officials are back to looking at how they can repurpose the current agency and inspection station site.

"We'll try and figure out how to do a redo of that office," Martinez said.

Meanwhile drivers and other MVC clients will have to live with the existing facility until plans are firmed up.

"It's usually a two-to-three year process," he said.

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