Posted Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

COUNTY PURCHASED ABANDONED NYS&W RAIL RIGHT OF WAY FOR LINEAR PARK 

The final design of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway Bicycle and Pedestrian Path Project will be presented at two public meetings next month in Pequannock and Wayne before the project moves on to its construction phase.

Residents will have opportunities on Oct. 3 in Wayne and Oct. 11 in Pequannock to view details of thew entire design and pose questions about the project.

Public Meetings Set on Final Design of Planned Bike and Pedestrian Path in PequannockPublic Meetings Set on Final Design of Planned Bike and Pedestrian Path in PequannockWayne Township: Oct. 3, 6-8 p.m., at the Wayne Township municipal building–health room 2– 475 Valley Road, Wayne N.J 07470

Pequannock: Oct. 11, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the Pequannock Senior Center, 530 Newark-Pompton Turnpike, Pompton Plains, N.J. 07444.

The Morris County Board of Freeholders in late December, 2017 signed an agreement to purchase an abandoned 4.4-mile railroad right-of-way in Pequannock and Wayne for $4.2 million  from the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway for the creation of a long-planned recreation, hiking and biking trail that will connect to the NJ Transit Mountain View rail station. The county will be reimbursed by the federal government for the purchase price.

The NYS&W Bicycle and Pedestrain Path will be a 4.8-mile shared-use path starting at  River Drive in Pequannock, near Route 23, connect to the township’s Aquatic Park, and extend into Wayne at Mt. View Boulevard, just a short distance from NJ Transit’s Mountain View train Station. It eventually will tie into Passaic County’s Morris Canal Greenway.

The path will be constructed on top of the inactive NYS&W railroad bed. It will be separated from motor vehicle traffic though it will cross several streets along the corridor. The 10-foot-wide path is expected to serve as a transportation and recreation facility that will connect residents, commuters and visitors with area parks, schools, business and transit. It will be managed by the Morris County Park Commission, and will be similar to the Commission’s very popular Traction Line, which runs from Morristown to Madison, and gets heavy use by with walkers, joggers, and bicyclists.

The goal is to build and open the still unnamed trail in 2019.

Map shows route of the new Pequannock-to-Wayne Trail

Map shows route of the new Pequannock-to-Wayne Trail

“This will be an incredible new addition to the county park system for the northeast section of our county,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “It will offer great new recreational opportunities, connecting parks and greenways, and also will offer a green commuter route to the NJ Transit trains, similar to what we now have with the Traction Line.’’

The asphalt trail would be the first of its kind in the Route 23 corridor region of Morris and Passaic counties, and has special appeal because it connects with mass transit.

It would be open to cyclists, strollers, and skaters, but motorized vehicles, such as dirt bikes, would be prohibited. Pequannock officials hope to post kiosks along the trail and throughout town, pointing bikers to downtown shopping and historic sites.

The idea for the bike path was conceived more than two decades ago by Pete Standish, a Pequannock resident and avid cyclist. When Standish died, he donated money to the township for the project.

Trains have not run on this section of track for more than a decade. NYS&Ws Pompton Industrial Spur used to serve freight customers along the abandoned portion of track that will now become a formal trail. There also once were commuter trains along that track, as evidenced by the historic rail station preserved in Pompton Plains.