A 175-foot pedestrian bridge from the Newport section of Jersey City to the Hoboken train terminal is scheduled to open in four months.
The $6.4 million NJ Transit project is considered an important segment of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway, a state-mandated master plan to connect municipalities via a path running 18.5 miles from Bayonne to Fort Lee.
Commuters can already travel between the Newport Mall area and Hoboken train terminal via PATH train or light rail, but the bridge will allow extra options. NJ Transit estimates more than 50,000 people use the Hoboken terminal each weekday, which could mean regular traffic for the bridge.
One potential user is Jersey City resident Dan Levin, who bicycles from his Jersey City home each day to his framing shop, Fastframe, on Washington Street in Hoboken.
“It is great mobility for people who are walking or bicycling to and from Hoboken,” Levin said.
An estimated 30,000 residents live within the 600-acre Newport community.
Bridge to somewhere
An estimated 30,000 residents live within the 600-acre Newport community on the Jersey City side of the bridge.
In Hoboken, the city is pursuing a plan for NJ Transit to build a large office tower and condominiums by the train station, although development activists are protesting the size of the proposal.
A NJ Transit spokesperson was asked last week if there will be security measures in place to watch over late-night users of the bridge. The spokesperson said Hoboken Terminal has 24-hour security provided by NJ Transit police and there are security cameras placed throughout the terminal monitoring the area.
Encouraging mobility without car
The LeFrak Organization, which built Newport, has actually taken to creating a “playful” ad campaign called “Newport Loves Hoboken” to promote the bridge and Newport as well, said Managing Director Jamie LeFrak. A billboard with that slogan can be seen near the Hoboken terminal.
LeFrak said his company has built out a portion of the Waterfront Walkway running through Newport leading up to the bridge’s entrance on the Jersey City side.
U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (a Hoboken resident) helped push a federal transportation bill a few years ago that brought $800,000 in federal money to the project.
“I’m thrilled because the more options that we give people to get out of a car and to have access, whether it’s through pedestrian bridge, bikeways, or mass transit,” Menendez said.
Hoboken Councilwoman Theresa Castellano represents Hoboken’s 1st Ward which covers much of the south end of Hoboken where the bridge is located. She also runs a business on lower Washington Street. She looks forward to the bridge opening, making trips to Newport Mall easier.
“I am so used to most of the time not using a car when I am in Hoboken, only when I am going out of town,” Castellano said. “Now, I have another reason not to use the car.”
Ricardo Kaulessar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.