Summer 2003, p.15

Jersey's Long Campaign for Hudson River Waterfront Path

Civic groups want property owners to provide public access to the proposed Hudson River Walkway Multi-use Path in New Jersey.
Civic groups want property owners to provide public access to the proposed Hudson River Walkway Multi-use Path in New Jersey.
The regional plan association's 1966 "lower Hudson" study proposed the creation of a continuous eighteen-mile walkway and bikeway along the Hudson River from the Bayonne to the George Washington Bridge. Since then, advocates have fought hard to preserve public access to the waterfront despite massive residential development.
The 1984, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Coastal Zone Management regulations require developments within 500 feet of the high tide mark to include a thirty-foot wide public multi-use path along the Hudson River waterfront. Some developers have built these paths but do not provide public access to them through their developments.

Since 1990, a coalition that includes the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy, Fund for a Better Waterfront, Friends of the Weehawken Waterfront, the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Hudson River Fisherman's Association and the Trust for Public Land, has worked and fought with developers and the government to ensure publicly accessible and well-connected paths. Despite developers' guardhouses and "private property" signs, advocates have negotiated and sued to ensure public access to the path, often working to extend the street grid to the water's edge.

As older industrial sites and waterfront properties are developed, the multi-use path has grown. According to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection, a total of eleven miles are completed, though five of these miles are a sidewalk along Broadway in Bayonne. In the last ten years, two-and-half miles of path opened in Liberty State Park, and a total of three miles opened in Hoboken, Weehawken and West New York. The George Washington Bridge-River Road connector path (see above article) would be the northern piece of the Hudson River Walkway Multi-use path.

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