Local and state officials in Jersey City are praising the $100,000 from the New Jersey budget allocated towards the Bergen Arches feasibility study.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This is a unique opportunity to transform abandoned greenway, rarely found in the most densely populated area of the state, and turn it into a functional corridor and alternative transportation network to benefit numerous communities,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.
“Thanks to Senator [Brian] Stack, Assemblyman [Raj] Mukherji, Councilman [Rich] Boggiano, and the Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition, we are able to move forward on a unique project that would create countless opportunities for residents and employers throughout northern New Jersey.”
“For the past 65 years, the Bergen Arches corridor has sat unused and underutilized. That is why we drafted legislation to take the next steps and move forward by determining how the land can become accessible to the public and serve a greater purpose within the community,” added Stack, also the Union City mayor.
“As we made clear in our efforts to secure this necessary funding, we can unlock the land’s true potential and encourage borderless travel using alternate modes of transportation on a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians without affecting existing roadways.”
Jersey City hosted a series of community meetings to garner public input on how the site could benefit the community most, with many hoping it would become part of a larger 10-mile-long trail to create an uninterrupted greenway spanning from Jersey City to Montclair.
The Essex-Hudson Greenway would serve as a major asset for regional connectivity and accessibility.
“This is great news for Jersey City and all of Hudson County! After 60+ years, it is very exciting to work towards figuring out how the Bergen Arches can become green space and mass transit,” exclaimed Boggiano.
Additionally, the Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition has been the most outspoken community group on this particular issue.
“The Bergen Arches Feasibility Study Committee looks forward to continuing as the primary liaison with the community, civic organizations, and City Hall as we have since 2018 when our organization formed. We expect the study to cost $250,000 so this is a great first step!,” said BAPC President Gregory D. Edgell, also thanking the electeds for their efforts.
At least for the time being, NJ Transit retains ownership of multiple rights-of-way within the Bergen Arches, keeping the door open for any future mass transit projects.
“Repurposing the inaccessible former railway corridor known as the Bergen Arches into a public greenway or rail-trail would serve the purposes of historic preservation, infrastructure reuse, and perhaps eventually align with the East Coast Greenway,” Mukherji concluded.
“This effort has languished for years. I’m delighted that the funding toward a feasibility study will be the first step in getting this multi-year project underway so we can finally realize the potential of this underutilized asset.”