Hudson River Waterfront Walkway Still Not Completed

Hudson River Waterfront Walkway Still Not Completed

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Golf, said Mark Twain, is a spoiled stroll.

The same can be said about the Hudson River Waterfront Walkway.

It’s a beautiful walk, but it’s marred by seven potholes that interrupt the 16-mile route, which runs from the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee to Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

That’s what the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy reported July 1 in its progress report on the 40-year project to reclaim one of the most breathtaking parts of Jersey’s landscape for pedestrians: the riverfront with its breathtaking views of Manhattan.

More: We discussed the waterfront: a hike along NJ’s 18-mile hiking trail

“People who live in Manhattan don’t realize that it’s better to live in New Jersey and look at the city,” said Don Stitzenberg, spokesman and former president of the sanctuary. “If you want to combine the beauty of the New York City skyline with the exercise and the outdoor energy and all the benefits of a waterfront and combine them all into one experience, that’s the Walkway.”

Right of way

There is so much to see on the Walkway: parks, soccer fields, the famous Colgate Clock in Jersey City, a full outdoor gym in Edgewater, views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. And last but not least, the old, crumbling docks and piers that are the lonely ghosts of Jersey’s past.

The ultimate goal of the reserve, which was established in 1984, is to create a 15-mile, unobstructed boardwalk that walkers, cyclists, joggers and scooter riders can enjoy without ever losing sight of the river and its beautiful skyline.

The problem is that the Walkway runs through eight communities: Fort Lee, Edgewater, North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York, Weehawken, Hoboken and Jersey City (a ninth, Bayonne, will eventually be added to the mix).

And sometimes it wanders onto private property. Private, as in, “No Trespassing.”

Through a mix of negotiations and litigation, the conservancy has thinned out the holes in the esplanade, cutting them from about 14 to half since we last spoke in 2019.

Remaining obstacles

Pedestrians still have to take a detour in seven places:

  • Liberty Harbor North, in Jersey City, has a half-mile gap that must be navigated. This is expected to be resolved when the residential developments along the shoreline are completed, around 2030.
  • Union Dry Dock, in Hoboken, is a crumbling remnant of the city’s old shipping industry (as seen in the 1954 film “On the Waterfront”). It too is expected to be brought into compliance within six years. In the meantime, its hundreds of yards can be bypassed by using Sinatra Drive.
  • Weehawken Park contains a 100-yard gap that must be bridged within the next two years. Pedestrians can use Port Imperial Boulevard to go around it.
  • Riverview Residential, in North Bergen, is the site of a future housing complex. It includes a 200-yard gap, closed to the public. The conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the developer. Until that is settled, you can use River Road as a detour.

  • The Quanta Superfund site in Edgewater is the place you might prefer not to walk, even if it were permitted. A temporary walking path is planned to help pedestrians navigate the 200 yards in question (the site has been declared free of human health hazards by the EPA). That could be completed by 2026. In the meantime, use River Road.
  • The site of the former Hess Oil Tank Farm in Edgewater, at 615 River Road, has a hole several hundred yards long that is off-limits. The conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the developer. Hikers can use River Road as an alternative for now.
  • The Admiral’s Walk Condominiums in Edgewater have hundreds of feet of waterfront accessible only to residents and registered guests. A lawsuit filed against Admiral’s Walk was settled in the preserve’s favor; a permanent public walkway is expected to be built by 2025. In the meantime, use River Road.

If all goes well, Stitzenberg said, the Walkway should be free of all holes and obstructions by 2030. That, at least, is the most important part of it.

There is a final 3 miles, south of Jersey City, that is even more daunting. It is only accessible to pedestrians in certain areas.

“The remaining piece, the city of Bayonne, still has active waterfront facilities, ports and tank farms and so forth,” Stitzenberg said. “We could be 45, 50, 100 years in the making before that’s completed.”

Easy access points for the Walkway

Technically, the Hudson River Walkway is accessible anywhere along its 18-mile route. But some spots are easier than others — and then there’s the matter of parking. For the uninitiated, Stitzenberg suggests a few easy access points.

  • Edgewater Commons Shopping Center: 555 New River Road, Edgewater.
  • Edgewater Harbor Shopping Center: 15 Somerset Lane, Edgewater. Walk south along the newest section of the Walkway.
  • Port Imperial, Weehawken: 4800 Avenue at Port Imperial, Weehawken. This is about the middle of the route; walk south to the Weehawken 9/11 Memorial.
  • River Street, Hoboken: 333 River St., Hoboken. Visit the parks at Piers A and C; walk south on the Walkway through Hoboken Train Station to Jersey City.
  • Exchange Place, Jersey City: 10 Exchange Place, Jersey City. Best place to see the World Trade Center, also a short distance south of Veteran’s Park and the Colgate Clock.
  • Liberty State Park, Jersey City: 200 Morris Pesin Drive, Jersey City. This is the place to see the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial, the Liberty Science Center, and get a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.