Mayor David Roberts, State Sen. Bernard Kenny (D-Hoboken), and officials from Stevens Institute of Technology joined New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox as he conferred a grant for $1 million toward the construction of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway on Sept. 20.
State officials also announced that the grant will be supplemented by $500,000 from the state Department of Environmental Protection and $400,000 from Stevens Institute of Technology - $250,000 of which comes from a U.S. Department of Education grant.
According to city officials, the grant will go toward the construction of the walkway that will link the recently completed Castle Point Park with Sinatra Park, providing a continuous walkway from Union Dry Dock to the Hoboken Terminal.
According to Fox, the project will eliminate the need for road closings on Sinatra Drive and will provide pedestrian access to the Hoboken Terminal for commuters. "This walkway project epitomizes this administration's commitment to smart growth and urban revitalization," said Fox Friday. "Commuters headed to the Hoboken Terminal will now have a safe place to walk, and at the same time, we are encouraging economic growth and development along Hoboken's waterfront."
According to Fox, this phase of the project will entail the construction of approximately 400 linear feet of the walkway to eliminate gaps that force pedestrians and bicyclists to use Sinatra Drive. The project is part of the East Coast Greenway Association's Millennium Trail, which will ultimately provide a pedestrian and bicycle trail from Maine to Florida.
This project is also part of the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. The construction of the proposed 30-foot-wide, 18-mile long public walkway is now finished on more than 11 miles of the Hudson River. When all 18 miles are complete, the public will be able to walk or bike along the Jersey side of the river. Developers building on private waterfront land are required, by state law, to contribute to the walkway.
The Regional Plan Association in 1966 first proposed the concept for a walkway. The Department of Environmental Protection adopted regulations in 1980 requiring owners seeking to develop the waterfront to construct and maintain the walkway and provide public access. In 1988, the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy was created to oversee the walkway's future.
Roberts said it is important to have an uninterrupted walkway along the entire Hoboken waterfront. "Completion of this 'gap' segment will allow unimpeded pedestrian access along the waterfront from the Hoboken Terminal to the newly renovated Castle Point Park and the soon to be constructed skate park," said Roberts. "Thanks to state funding, Hoboken residents will soon be able to walk along the waterfront from the Jersey City boarder at Newport to Weehawken."
Gov. James McGreevey said recently that the walkways are a vital aspect of waterfront rejuvenation. "By partnering with all levels of government, and working with Stevens Institute of Technology, we're able to fund [this] phase of this important project," said McGreevey. "One day, this segment will be a part of the walkway, providing safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists between the George Washington and Bayonne bridges. This walkway is a model for communities nationwide looking to revitalize their waterfronts."