By Michael Oliva
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.)
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