Jersey City’s Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition Joins High Line Network

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Bergen Arches Bike Path Jersey City
Rendering of a bike path through the Bergen Arches. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

A group that has long promoted for a plan to convert an abandoned rail line into a shared-use nature trail just gained membership into a notable non-profit that could significantly boost their profile as they advocate for the infrastructure’s revitalization.


The Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition (BAPC) recently announced that they have joined the High Line Network, a community of non-profits that was started in 2016. The network was spearheaded by Robert Hammond, who co-founded The High Line and helped facilitate the transformation of an abandoned elevated rail line along Manhattan’s west side into one of the city’s newest and highest-profile greenspaces.

Erie Railroad Cut Jersey City Historic Photo
The former Bergen Arches is the common name for a mile-long stretch formerly utilized by Erie Railroad. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

BAPC wishes to similarly reuse existing infrastructure in Jersey City and several plans have been proposed for the former Bergen Arches, which is the common name for a mile-long stretch formerly utilized by Erie Railroad. The 85-foot deep tunnels were built in 1906 well below street level to carry trains through the Palisades to a now-demolished Hudson River terminal.

Bergen Arches Jersey City Map
Map courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition

Advocates including the BAPC have long hoped that a public park along the Bergen Arches would create a shared-use nature trail as the main corridor for the East Coast Greenway, a national trail from Florida to Maine that seeks to also connect with New York City. The group being selected to join the High Line Network’s first-ever open call should help advance that cause.

“Our group is very excited to be a part of the High Line Network and to be the first member representing Jersey City,” says BAPC’s Project Leader Rahid Cornejo. “We believe that our vision for the Arches will help breakdown socio-economic divides – figuratively embodied in the underutilized industrial infrastructure of the city. Our alliance with the Network opens many new opportunities and allows us to rethink our own strategies as we face new challenges in our society.”

Bergen Arches Aerial Path Proposal
BAPC wants to convert an abandoned rail line into a shared-use nature trail. image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

The BAPC says their main mission, for now, is to educate the community on the benefits of preserving the existing ecology and historical structure of Bergen Arches while activating an infrastructure re-use project they envision as a natural urban forest. The announcement comes just months after two recently approved developments at 414 Hoboken Avenue and 622 Summit Avenue included public space components in their plans that would create access to the proposed Bergen Arches greenway.

Bergen Arches Plan Jersey City
Current photo of the abandoned line. Image courtesy Bergen Arches Preservation Coalition.

BAPC was one of 15 new groups that joined the High Line Network and the current class of members is the most diverse they have ever welcomed. New additions include the network’s first Mexico-based project, La Mexicana Park in Mexico City, and Destination Crenshaw in Los Angeles, which celebrates over 200 years of Black activism through art and cultural placemaking.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. This should be used as travel lanes for highway 139 to the holland tunnel. The existing upper level should then be expanded over this and turned into a surface level park for the city. That be a much better way to use this space.

  2. Negative. We don’t need more car lanes to increase pollution and traffic. Keep that dumpy route 139 where is.

    Congrats to BAPC! Big steps in bringing more green space to JC and this would be a great, safe space for bikes and pedestrians without cars.

  3. Agree with Ryan. Excellent idea as a dual use space. Cars will be going all electric in the future so no pollution. Perfect, and possibly only, spot for the Gateway Tunnel to NYC. As for a hiking and bike trail that seems like a pipe dream if only a few locals want to use it. Chelsea Highline is a massive success because it’s a very well designed, world class great park in a great location. If the Bergen Arches is just a nature trail I don’t see the private or government funding anytime soon. It took 20 years just to get a couple of million dollars for the Heights reservoir. The Low Line is going to cost way, way more than that and if it’s not a proper destination, as someone else said, who is going to go DOWN THERE !

  4. Cities need green space and mass transportation, not more infrastructure for low density cars. Jersey City is not a suburb. Suburbs are where cars belong.

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