Over 150 Cyclists from Across the Garden State Joined Bike JC and the Newark Community Cycling Center for 58-Mile Bicycle Ride and Rally at the State House in Trenton
NORTHERN NEW JERSEY & TRENTON, NJ – Early in the morning of September 26, more than 150 cyclists set off from downtown Newark as part of Bike2Trenton – a five-hour, 58-mile bike ride to Trenton – all to raise awareness for the Essex-Hudson Greenway and urge action by Governor Murphy to fund the project.
The ride, coordinated by Bike JC and the Newark Community Cycling Center, with support from the Essex-Hudson Greenway Coalition and the East Coast Greenway Alliance, concluded with a support rally on the steps of the New Jersey State House in the afternoon.
“We are grateful for the overwhelming support of the cycling community from across New Jersey, each of the project partners, and for the members of the general public who came out to offer their encouragement to each and every rider,” said Patrick Conlon, President of Bike JC of Sunday’s ride. “Having a nine-mile path for biking, walking and other recreational activity would be transformational to the region. Time is definitely running short for the acquisition of the rail line, and we encourage Governor Murphy and his administration to do their part to get the project across the finish line before the opportunity is lost forever.”
For cyclists, along with walkers, runners, hikers, and others, the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway would create nearly nine miles of linear park, connecting Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City. The Essex-Hudson Greenway Coalition consists of the Open Space Institute (OSI), the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) and the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance.
Among the cycling groups participating in Bike2Trenton were:
· Bike JC
· Newark Community Cycling Center
· Sisters United Bike Club
· RBG Cyclist
· Trenton Cycling Revolution
· Bikes Will Save the World
· Trendsetta Cycling Clique
· Major Taylor Cycle Club
· Bike Hoboken
· Morris Area Freewheelers
From its start in Newark, Bike2Trenton proceeded south through Elizabeth to Bound Brook, and then onto the Princeton Battle Monument in Princeton. After departing the Battle Monument, the ride proceeded to the William Trent House in Trenton, before the final ride over to the State House for the rally. The support rally for the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project, featured speakers from various organizations and other VIPs supporting the Greenway, as well as a unique photo opportunity.
“The Essex-Hudson Greenway Coalition is honored at the outpouring of support. The Greenway has been talked about for decades and today we are closer than ever to making it a reality, but we need Governor Murphy to join us in this effort,” said Debra Kagan, Executive Director of the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, one of the project’s main coordinating partners.
For decades, local community leaders have been calling for the creation of a linear park on the former rail line property to create a safe, off-road trail to ride a bike and walk; ease traffic and offer active transportation options; create alternate commuting options; provide close-to-home, easy access to the outdoors; and bring much needed green space to urban communities.
In January 2020, OSI secured a time-limited purchase agreement with Norfolk Southern for the purchase of the former Boonton Line. Having already secured one extension to finalize the deal, time is running out to complete the purchase of the property. Under terms of the $65 million purchase agreement, the property transfer deadline is quickly approaching.
The Greenway spans an average of 100 feet or more in width throughout its route, and has the potential to reduce traffic congestion and help mitigate storm water issues that plague the region around the proposed linear park. In light of the September 1 storms that ravaged significant parts of New Jersey, the project represents a strong response to the demands of state and federal elected officials that we address issues related to severe weather and climate change.
The project will also improve transportation options for residents, and allow for improved infrastructure connectivity for things like broadband and emergency response. Work has already begun in terms of planning, surveying, environmental assessments, and more.
For more information on the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project, visit www.essexhudsongreenway.org.
About Bike JC
Bike JC is a citizen-based advocacy organization that aims to make Jersey City streets safe and welcoming for bicyclists, by promoting traffic law enforcement, bicycle lane creation, additional bicycle rack placement, education, and group rides. They are bicyclists, commuters, parents, BMX riders, business people, planners, and advocates for the full potential of Jersey City.
About Newark Community Cycling Center
The Newark Community Cycling Center (or NewarkCCC for short), is a division of the Newark Community Sports Center, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to bringing unique sporting opportunities to the youth of Newark. The NewarkCCC is focused on using the bicycle as our tool of choice for bringing people together, finding common ground, and engaging in an active lifestyle, all while choosing a clean green form of transportation.
About Open Space Institute
Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.
About New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition
The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey. NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.
About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished on September 11, 2001, and the many heroes who have committed themselves to the response for their country.