Advocates for turning Downtown’s abandoned Sixth Street Embankment into a greenway including walking and bike trails, are calling on supporters to come out for an important Zoom meeting with the Feds.
On September 28 from 5 to 9 p.m. Surface Transportation Board will give locals a chance to weigh in the historic structure’s future.
Conrail, the owner of the long-dormant railroad property, has petitioned the STB to remove the Harsimus Branch and Embankment from federal jurisdiction, a move advocates fear could leave the iconic rail structure “with no historic preservation conditions, opening it up to all the development pressures in Jersey City.”
Said Stephen Gucciardo, President of the Embankment Preservation Coalition, the public needs to “tell the STB to use its jurisdiction and powers to hold Conrail accountable for its unlawful sale of the embankment and to protect one of the city’s most valuable historic resources.”
The 27-foot-high stone structure, which runs along the south side of Sixth Street from Marin Boulevard to Brunswick Street, once supported seven tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Passaic and Harsimus Line connecting to its freight yards on the Hudson shoreline.
After Conrail had taken possession of the rail property, service was suspended in the 1980s and, since then, the embankment has been overtaken by foliage while the city has wrestled with the disposition of the property which was listed on the state Register of Historic Places in 1999.
In 2005, Conrail tried to sell the property to a developer but it was contested and has been tied up in the courts for 17 years. In 2020, a deal was struck to allow for a high-rise residential development along one block closest to the river but that, too, collapsed.
The city has spent several million dollars on legal fees to find a solution that could include development of the embankment to a greenway for hikers and cyclists, thus far to no avail.
Those interested in participating should pre-register by going to this link.
To request to speak, email email@example.com. To be called on early in the meeting, call Karen Stevens at 202-245-0304.