There is now a path forward for the proposed nine-mile linear park and greenway that would connect Jersey City to Montclair. On November 12th, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy approved the state’s purchase of the land that will make up the Essex-Hudson Greenway, a project that will revitalize the abandoned Old Boonton Line, create walking, and biking trails, and provide residents easier access to other cities and mass transit. After many years of discussion and debate, this is a significant step forward.
A major announcement has been made on November 12th, 2021, regarding the greenway. Read on for more information about the plans and perks of the new nature trail.
“This is an amazing day for Montclair and the region. Ever since I heard about this project years ago, I’ve been daydreaming about the possibilities this could mean for our town. To have a nine-mile linear park and pathway to connect Jersey City and Newark to Montclair, creates significant economic development opportunities for our town and new ways for people to get to points east of here,” Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis said in a press release.
“We would not be here today if it wasn’t for the leadership of Deb Kagan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition, and the long-term vision and support of my fellow Board Members, Brian Stolar and Essex County Commissioner Brendan Gill. This is because of their years of advocacy and work.”
A Path to Connect 8 Cities
(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. One special feature of the proposed 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 effort has garnered more support from local communities and environmental groups alike.
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.
135 Acres of New Green Space
The proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway will bring approximately 135 acres of new green space to the residents of the most densely populated counties in the country. New Jersey has a multitude of walking paths and hiking trails: the new path will connect with several existing trails.
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.
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.