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Hudson River Waterfront Walkway

DEP Photo - Hudson River Waterfront WalkwayWith more than 1,100 people per square mile, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the Union. Much of this population resides in the northeast portion of the state where development pressures are intense, especially along the waterfront. Fulfilling the duties as required by the Public Trust Doctrine of preserving and protecting public access to trust lands, waters, and resources in this urban setting can be a significant challenge for the state’s planners and lawmakers. The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway (Walkway), a waterfront corridor spanning nine municipalities, balances the interests of economic development along a thriving waterfront with the public's right to access opportunities along tidal waters.

The concept for the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway first appeared in "The Lower Hudson", a study completed in 1966 by the Regional Plan Association. Twelve years after the publication of “The Lower Hudson”, Governor Brendan Byrne established the Hudson River Waterfront Study, Planning, and Development Commission. Their final report included a recommendation for a continuous public walkway extending along the Hudson River

In 1988, the Coastal Zone Management rules established specific criteria for development along the Hudson River Waterfront Area including the creation of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. When complete, this Walkway will be an urban waterfront corridor connecting the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee with the Bayonne Bridge in Bayonne. As the crow flies it will extend about 18.4 miles, but the total length will exceed 40 miles. Nearly complete, the Walkway offers residents and visitors spectacular views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York City skyline, Ellis Island, and the Hudson River.

DEP Photo - Hudson River Waterfront WalkwayHistorically, public access to the waterfront in this urban area was precluded by industrial use of the land. As existing land uses change, this "pathway for the people" is reestablishing the public's right of access to and full enjoyment of the tidally flowed and formerly flowed filled waterways. The Walkway integrates historic neighborhoods with new offices, housing and commercial development. People are drawn to the waterfront and the open space, views, and community feel of the area, and visitors to the Walkway engage in a variety of recreational activities including walking, running, biking, sightseeing, and fishing. The Walkway is a testament to the value of imaginative urban planning that considers the public benefit at large.

Through public-private partnerships established among state and local government, commercial developers, and public interest groups, additional segments of the Walkway have been and will be constructed. Most recently, in October of 2014, North Bergen and Guttenberg opened the joint 1.5 acre Waterfront Park on River Road.  The park was fully funded through the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund and New Jersey's Green Acres Program, and is one of the few green open spaces in Guttenberg.  Also on January 31, 2014 a new section of the walkway in Hoboken between Sinatra Park and Castle Point Park was opened. This includes a section completed by the Stevens Institute of Technology and a rebuilt section of the walkway around Sinatra Field. With the opening of this walkway, Hoboken now has a continuous waterfront multiuse path from the Jersey City border to their skate park at Castle Point. Previously, sections of the Walkway were completed in 2012, including Weehawken Cove connecting Weehawken and Hoboken, Steven’s Institute in Hoboken and the Moorings condominiums in Edgewater.  With these completions it is now possible to walk or bike from Goldman Sachs in Jersey City to the northern end of North Bergen, over seven miles.

 

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Last Updated: April 9, 2015