Let’s Connect Newark to Jersey City

Michael Oliva, mike@greenway.org

From Newark Penn Station to the NY Waterway Ferry in Jersey City is the only section of the entire East Coast Greenway current route which we don’t offer cue sheets for and recommend users take public transit. (the PATH Train or NJ Transit to get to Jersey City or directly into NYC)

The ECG just received a grant from the Helen & William Mazer Foundation to develop a travelable biking and walking route between Newark and Jersey City in the next 18 months. Now we obviously won’t be able to fund and build a trail in that timeframe. We have longer term plans for trails that involve new bridges crossing the Hackensack River and old rail lines etc. But what we can do is produce the best available “today route” utilizing whatever the best options on the ground are today even if they are not perfect. After identifying this route we hope to make simple safety improvements such as painting sections with bike lanes, bike sharrows, and implementing other simple traffic calming measures. We also can make this route clearly navigable by installing ECG signs and other wayfinding measures.

All of the aforementioned improvements are safety measures that can be quickly and cheaply implemented. Proposals like this are perfect for difficult budgetary climates. It will just take some political will and initiative to get this done.

While we realize this route will not serve the Long Term needs of East Coast Greenway users it is important to establish this route as it will give impetus and raise awareness to the necessity of building the long term vision of the ECG from Newark to Jersey City which will be mostly separated from traffic. Establishing this route will also give ECG users and local residents an opportunity to travel between New Jersey’s two largest cities without having to drive a car! (I have been told it is 5 minutes faster by bicycle)

3 Comments

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  1. Shane says:

    I have been trying in vain over the past year or so to find a reasonably safe bike route from Jersey City to Newark. The Wittpenn Bridge is kinda scary, but it’s a ride in the park compared to crossing the Hackensack on Rt 1-9 (Lincoln Hwy). And Rt 7 west of the Wittpenn is also pretty much straight-up highway riding. Any help you guys can provide on this would be most welcome!

  2. Jacob says:

    This could be a great idea, but the devil is in the details. For the main drag, anything less than well-buffered lanes just doesn’t make sense. As Shane mentions above, these two roads (I don’t see any other possible routes) operate at highway speeds with many large trucks. At 50mph the concept of “share the road” and “take a lane” pretty much devolve to “pray to god for your life”. Jersey barriers could provide a nice solution, but they’d be fairly expensive. In all cases, you’d have to narrow the travel lanes, which would be difficult on these constantly clogged routes. You’d also need to design carefully for ramps and intersections.

    In general, I’m extremely nervous about placing bikes adjacent to trucks traveling at highway speeds, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

  3. Patrick Dennis says:

    I see that no one has been posting here for a while. I would like to update this post. I have biked the newark to jersey City Raymond blvd 1&9 truck route 2x already. Its a little rough. But doable. Its like a new trail in the woods. It just need to be ridden, worn in so to speak. i’ll try to link my ride Union NJ to Brooklyn Br. http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/1470685 hopefully it works.
    Its best to stay on the north side of 1&9 , the new sidewalk is nice. Good work.

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