New Jersey advances Greenway development plans

Dec. 20, 2023
The Greenway, a former rail line that NJDEP plans to develop into a nine-mile linear state park, now has its initial development and construction plans.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced the initial development and construction plans for the multimillion-dollar Greenway project, which will transform a rail line to improve local stormwater management and green space access.

The first phase of the multimillion-dollar project will be focused on a nearly two-mile span through Newark, Essex County, and Kearny, Hudson County.

The initial development plans follow an extensive, months-long public engagement process.

As part of a phased development approach for the Greenway, the Newark-Kearny segment will directly serve the 350,000 residents of the two municipalities, and more in the surrounding area.

NJDEP says that the project is a catalyst for environmental improvements and economic development. It will expand access to green, open space, increasing transportation and recreation opportunities, and improve stormwater management and air quality. NJDEP expects to break ground in early 2024, with the first segment anticipated to open to the public in late 2025.

“Connecting communities in one of the most densely populated regions in the nation, the Greenway will serve as nothing short of a game-changer for cities across Essex and Hudson Counties,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. “Upon completion, this monumental project will increase recreation, transportation, and economic development opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New Jersey residents and visitors. Just as importantly, it will considerably expand access to green, open space – and its associated environmental and public health benefits – for environmental justice communities across North Jersey.”

The Newark-Kearny segment is composed of three project areas. The western section will span from Branch Brook Park to Broadway in Newark. The central section, in Kearny, will begin at Passaic Avenue and go through Forest Street. The eastern section, also in Kearny, will start at Forest Street and run east to the Meadowlands’ edge.

NJDEP says that it plans to develop the Newark-Kearny segment through a series of connected experiences, focusing on a combination of active and passive recreation opportunities.

Greenway’s background

When completed, the Greenway will connect eight Essex and Hudson county communities – Jersey City, Secaucus, Kearny, Newark, Belleville, Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, and Montclair. It represents an opportunity to create a linear multi-modal recreational and transit corridor enabling walking, biking and transit opportunities between Montclair and Jersey City, while providing opportunities for community connection and regional environmental improvements.

Governor Phil Murphy announced the acquisition of the Greenway in September 2022. The initial development and construction of the Greenway will be funded through a combination of state and federal appropriations.

“It is thrilling to share the initial development plans for the first almost two-mile span of the Greenway,” said John Cecil, Assistant Commissioner for State Parks, Forests & Historic Sites. “Once complete, residents living in the two most densely populated counties in New Jersey will have access to green space that will not only allow them to experience nature, but also provide an alternate transportation route through their communities.”

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