By David Wright
The Ice & Iron Greenway is a grassroots project now under the leadership of NJBWC. This project’s mission is to transform an unused rail corridor (the old Boonton Line, from Hoboken to Montclair’s Pine Street), currently owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad, into an eleven-mile greenway connecting the municipalities of Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Bellevue, Newark, Kearny, and Jersey City. The Boonton line was taken out of use by NJ Transit when Mid-town Direct train service was brought to Montclair in the early 2000’s.
Along its route, the Ice & Iron Greenway will connect parks, including Branchbrook Park, schools, hospitals and retail, in addition to providing an integral active transportation link enabling commuters to bypass some of New Jersey’s most congested roadways. It will provide recreation for thousands living along this corridor, providing them access to exercise and the ability to walk or ride a bike to destinations in a car-free environment. It is hoped that commuters will be able to use the Greenway to ultimately reach Manhattan via Jersey City from points west in Essex County and from the towns along the corridor.
Emerging out of individual municipal initiatives, the Ice & Iron Greenway Project was advanced through the creation of an Inter-Local Agreement uniting the towns and counties along the proposed route into a governing body that will drive the overall progress.
Most recently, the partners involved have been extending their understanding of how other successful projects have worked with Norfolk Southern as well as reaching out to key area representatives to bring them up to speed on the goals and progress of the project.
Some of the key accomplishments include:
- Inclusion in the winning HUD Rebuild by Design Project
- Partnering with East Coast Greenway to traverse Newark and the Hackensack River crossing
- Extending our outreach and advocacy to key impacted towns, counties and representatives
Also in process are our efforts to:
- Include Montclair and Kearny in the Interlocal Agreement
- Set up periodic working sessions to keep the Inter-Local members current on progress and receive key direction and insight
- Embark on a feasibility study to prepare for initial planning discussions with Norfolk Southern
Please follow our Facebook page (Ice & Iron Facebook) to keep current on our progress and how you can assist.
David Wright is the NJBWC Project Manager for the Ice & Iron Greenway Project. He has spearheaded this project from its inception as a community volunteer.
Artist rendering of what the proposed Greenway would look like. Note the rail-with-trail adaptive reuse.
Artist rendering of the proposed Greenway along Highland Avenue in Newark.
Map of the proposed Greenway route through Essex County.