Home Events + News Essex-Hudson Greenway to Connect Jersey City to Montclair Becoming Reality

Essex-Hudson Greenway to Connect Jersey City to Montclair Becoming Reality

by Ainsley Layland
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After years of dispute over a proposed plan for a multi-use greenspace to make use of the abandoned Old Boonton Line, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has approved a critical land purchase, setting a path forward. The Essex-Hudson Greenway is a nearly nine-mile trail that will connect Jersey City from near the Grove Street PATH station to Montclair via the Bay Street Station, creating easier access to surrounding towns in Bergen and Hudson counties. Not only will the path benefit walkers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts but this development will provide a more environmentally friendly transportation route for the nearly 300,000 New Jersey-based commuters into New York City.

A major announcement was made on November 12th, 2021 regarding the Essex Hudson greenway — and it looks like it’s becoming a reality. Read on for more information about the plans and perks of the new nature trail.

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                                     A map of the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway

A Path to Connect 8 Cities

essex hudson greenway jersey city

(Photo credit: Essex Hudson Greenway website)

The Old Boonton Line was abandoned when the new station in Montclair was completed in 2002. The rail line cuts through eight New Jersey cities including Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair. A special feature of the soon-to-be path is that it crosses both the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, offering an in-depth view of the natural life of an otherwise highly industrialized area.

The Open Space Institute announced the purchase agreement for $65 million with the Norfolk Southern Railway Company in August 2020. Since that time, the endeavor has garnered more support from local communities and environmental groups alike.

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The outdoor space will connect the towns in a creative way and offer a new, healthy outlet for residents in the area, so groups like the New Jersey Sierra Club are in full support. Other groups who are invested in this project are the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, the Bloomfield Open Space Trust Fund, and the Friends of the Ice & Iron Trail.

As of November 12, 2021, Governor Murphy announced that the Essex Hudson Greenway would move forward.

Governor Murphy approved the state’s purchase of the land that will compose the Greenway. The parcel is nearly nine miles in length and will be a new use for a property that has been in disuse since 2002. Once the project is completed, there will be bike and walking trails, in addition to connecting with exiting trails.

“The Greenway represents another critical element of our three-decade-long effort to increase open space, bike and pedestrian pathways, and public waterfront access in the region,” said Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise.

The Essex-Hudson Greenway will bring approximately 135 acres of new green space to the residents of the most densely populated counties in the country.  Following the example of new park developments in Hoboken and Jersey City, the proposed plan for the Greenway includes space for rain gardens and bio-swales to mitigate flooding in addition to extensive tree coverage to enhance the environmental scene.

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A Vision for Community Enhancement

While this addition will directly benefit those who use the path, the new development is predicted to bring in new business and aid the economic development of the area as well. As the project is still in the early stages, it’s expected the community will have the chance to weigh in on design and amenity options. At this point, the possibilities are endless when it comes to cultural influence for programs and art incorporated into the greenway, similar to the Highline in New York City. 

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