Essex County Freeholder President and New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) Board member Brendan Gill announced Tuesday the collaboration between NJBWC and the September 11th National Memorial Trail (NMT) Alliance for the development of the Essex-Hudson Greenway.
“There are tremendous health, economic and environmental benefits to creating new cycling and walking opportunities in Essex County,” said Gill. “This collaboration with the 911 National Memorial Trail Alliance will not only serve as a fitting tribute to the innocent lives we lost in the 911 terror attacks, but also take an important step in the development of the Essex-Hudson Greenway. It’s an honor to partner with the 911 NMTA on this important project, and I look forward to continue finding new ways to make our communities more bike and pedestrian friendly so together we can enjoy a brighter, healthier, and safer future for all of Essex County.”
The 911 NMT is a 1,350-mile trail that connects the three crash sites: Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, and at this time is 47% off-road. The Essex-Hudson Greenway, which is proposed to go from Montclair east to Jersey City using a currently out of service right of way, will co-align with the 911 Memorial Trail through the two counties and 7 municipalities along the route. The 911 NMTA will partner with the NJBWC to develop it into a shared use path for walkers, joggers, and bike riders.
Recently, representatives from NJBWC and 911 NMTA took a break from cycling the full 1,350-mile 911 NMT route to visit Freeholder President Gill in Montclair and discuss the Essex-Hudson Greenway project. “The September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance is honored to be working with Essex and Hudson County to create a linear recreational and transportation opportunity for two of the most densely populated counties in New Jersey,” said 911 National Memorial Trail Alliance Board Chair Andy Hamilton. “Sixteen percent of the population of New Jersey will benefit directly from this trail being built. The impact on quality of life, health, and economics, along with the chance to remind people both young and old about the tragedies of September 11th, 2001, make this an amazing opportunity.”
By connecting all three crash sites, the 911 NMT is a living memorial to those who were lost on that tragic day, and helps to ensure that it will never be forgotten. The Essex-Hudson Greenway, as part of the 911 NMT, will become part of that living memorial, while also providing economic, recreational, and commuting benefits to all of the towns along the route; it will serve as a way to ultimately reach Manhattan by bicycle, providing an additional transportation option to residents of the two counties.
Freeholder President Gill and the NJBWC have worked to generate support for the project throughout the 11- mile alignment, including with the Friends of the Ice & Iron Rail Trail, Bloomfield Open Space Fund, Bike & Walk Montclair, and many other stakeholders along the route.