Frequently Asked Questions
About the NV Greenway
The Northern Valley Greenway (NVG) is envisioned to preserve the 8 miles of unused and dilapidated train tracks and convert them into a multi-use, recreational trail for biking, running, walking and more.
The NVG will connect the towns of Tenafly, Cresskill, Demarest, Closter, Norwood and Northvale to the existing Joseph B. Clarke Rail-Trail starting in Tappan, NY. In time, it would connect to the new Tappan Zee Bridge’s bike trail as well as other green spaces and destinations in New Jersey and New York State.
The NVG initiative is a joint effort of the six municipalities along the rail and the local Rotary Clubs. Each of the municipalities has passed a resolution of support authorizing a project planning committee. Currently, there is a core team of municipal, Rotary and NJ Bike & Walk Coalition representatives, along with a group of dedicated volunteers.
The wide space of the double-tracked railway will allow for comfortable separation of different recreation and fitness uses, including biking, running or walking. Features may include exercise stations, benches, rest areas, artwork, gardens, dog parks and more.
About the Project
The NVG has been included in the Bergen County Park System’s 5-Year Master Plan and may become part of the County Park system.
The NVG will be open to the public. Residents of nearby towns can use it and enjoy the many features it will offer. Other municipalities in the surrounding area have already passed resolutions of support.
The NVG will probably take years to be completed. Feasibility studies, analysis of the CSX offer to sell, environmental and engineering studies, federal transportation grant applications, grant development, grant receiving, land purchasing, designing, and building/construction are just some of the components of the project that will need to be completed along the way.
What About Finances?
The NVG will likely be financed via county, state and federal transportation funds, along with local donations, sponsorships and grants.
About Rail Trails
New Jersey Transit’s 2017 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) indicates that the current local light rail project would terminate at Englewood Hospital in Englewood. It would not go north of that. Additionally, the NVG tracks were recently evaluated. To be used for light rail, the line requires significant investment to replace and upgrade the tracks and bridges. The current economics do not support a light rail north of Tenafly. In 10 years, demographics could change. At that point, additional light rail service could be considered, which would require a roughly 10-year regulatory approval cycle and another 10 years to fund and build an extension of the light rail. If that were to happen in the next 20 to 30 years, the NVG’s existence will have ensured the preservation and availability of the corridor...preventing it from being sold for other purposes.
The roughly 8 miles of track is no longer a service route for CSX. The company could abandon it or split it up and ruin positive future opportunities for this unique corridor. The Federal government deemed the permanent loss of rail line properties not in the interests of the public good, so they created rail banking as an alternative. This allows rail property to be preserved and used for public benefit, with projects like Greenways, to preserve and protect the corridors for future generations to use as needed.
We are fortunate to have the support of a growing list of many national and local environmental groups, local environmental commissions, organizations and businesses: NJ Bike & Walk Coalition (collaborating partner), Closter Nature Center, Demarest Nature Center, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Land Conservancy of NJ, NY/NJ Trails Conference, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Rotary Club of Cresskill/Demarest, Rotary Club of Northern Valley, Rotary Club of Tenafly, Rotary Club of Englewood, Sierra Club North Jersey Group, Tenafly Bicycle Workshop, and Tenafly Nature Center
More information and periodic updates:
On our WEBSITE www.NorthernValleyGreenway.org
Join our FACEBOOK GROUP www.facebook.com/groups/NVGreenway
Follow us on TWITTER www.twitter.com/nvgreenway
Follow us on INSTAGRAM www.instagram.com/nvgreenway
If you are interested in volunteering to help with the many components of this project, please sign up on our mailing list at NorthernValleyGreenway.org or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenways provide opportunities for healthy activities for many people, from children to seniors. Greenways provide places for people to ride a bike who would otherwise not ride because they are afraid to ride on the roads. Greenways reduce or eliminate undesirable behavior along abandoned and out of service rail corridors. Greenways eliminate the garbage problem of abandoned rail corridors. Greenways typically increase property values for those who live along it or near it. Greenways are typically NOT used by competitive road riders, as they prefer to be on main roads where they can ride faster. Greenways prevent unused rail corridors from being abandoned by the railway for commercial development. Greenways provide a connected, recreational facility for surrounding communities, while preserving potential future rail use.