On September 15th, Governor Phil Murphy announced that the state of New Jersey had officially acquired a former rail line + will be converting it into a massive greenway, which will stretch from Essex County to Hudson County. This almost 9-mile linear state park, which starts in Montclair and runs to Jersey City, will serve as a recreational path for bikers and walkers — as well as provide necessary green space to a variety of communities. The hope is that this design will also help mitigate flooding in many areas. This new trail will follow along the right-of-way of the eastern portion of NJ Transit’s former Boonton Line, which discontinued commuter service back in 2002 and, after freight services stopped in 2015, has since been inactive. The state spent $65 million to acquire this 135-acre property — which is the single largest conservation project ever, per an announcement from the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project. Read on for what know about the acquisition of this former rail line and the plans for the Essex-Hudson Greenway.
All About the Brand New Greenway
Governor Phil Murphy and the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project announced on September 15th that they had achieved a major milestone: the purchasing of a northern New Jersey inactive railway. This railway, which was NJ Transit’s former Boonton Line, is slated to be turned into a linear State Park that will stretch from Montclair to Jersey City on an almost 9-mile path. The state spent $65 million, which is the single largest conservation project to date — and is also the biggest investment in a non-motorized transportation corridor.
This project has been a long time coming with a lot of advocates working behind the scenes. The Essex-Hudson Greenway Coalition — which is made up of the Open Space Institute, the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, and the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance — celebrated yesterday’s purchase.
“This acquisition by Governor Murphy and the state of New Jersey brings us one step closer to creating much-needed green space to the most densely populated and diverse region in the entire nation,” Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute, said in the announcement.
This 135-acre property will start from Montclair and pass through Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and end in Jersey City. The path, which is up to 100 feet wide at certain spots, will allow residents space for recreational biking and walking. Plus, according to the release, this trail offers a host of different benefits to residents in these areas.
“The Greenway has the potential to support new and existing businesses, create enhanced access to a healthy, thriving green space for historically underserved communities, and offer the communities adjacent to the property with significant flood control and environmental solutions to resolve longstanding issues,” the announcement states.
In 2021, the September 11th National Memorial Trail received unanimous federal legislation for a trail route, which created a triangle-shaped, 1,300-mile trail. The Essex-Hudson Greenway will make up a portion of this trail.
“Many people don’t realize that in addition to providing nearby residents with new green space, the Essex-Hudson Greenway also has national significance as a component of the 9/11 Memorial Trail,” Andy Hamilton said, Chair of the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance Board of Directors. “It’s exciting to see that we are one step closer to realizing this full potential of this project and we remain committed to supporting the State of New Jersey and our coalition partners as the project moves forward.”
See More: Outdoor Exercise Paths in Essex County
Many locals have been campaigning for a linear park that would serve as a “shared-use path” for people walking, riding a bike, running, rollerblading, or just relaxing. Advocates including the Bloomfield Open Space Trust Fund, the Friends of the Ice & Iron Trail, and groups in North Newark, Jersey City, and Hoboken have been pushing for this Greenway to come to fruition.
We can’t wait to see what this project will look like once it’s finished.