Stories and Reports

skating Toward Trenton + Philadelphia:
reports in 2006

Skating inline, outside but near the Hudson Valley

what's here

bulletskating Philadelphia to New York City (via rail stations): distances + links
bulletJune 2006: Philadelphia to Trenton
bulletJune 2006: Linden to New Brunswick to Rahway to Linden
bulletMay 2006: Linden - Elizabeth - Newark

see also

bulletmore New Jersey Stories + Photos
bulletmore Skate Hudson Valley stories + photos

KenR, June 2006: skating Philadelphia to New York City via rail stations

I'm not recommending doing this -- some sections are pretty difficult -- and any of them requires expert road skating skills and judgment to manage the risks and dangers.

I enjoy exploring new sets of roads, and after a couple of years it came out to this. The point of my approach was not to skate the whole thing continually, but to be able to choose one or two sections to skate one-way, and use the trains to get to or between finish and start.

The parts I liked best were Phila to Trenton, and various sequences of roads between New Brunswick and Linden and Elizabeth and partway into Newark. The hardest section for me was between Newark and NYC.

bulletPhiladelphia - > Trenton : [ Report ] : 36 miles

30th Street Amtrak station - > Bristol - > Morrisville - > Trenton rail station = 36 miles

west end of Ben Franklin Bridge to "Trenton Makes" Bridge = 33 miles

bulletTrenton - > Princeton Junction : [ Report ] : 13 miles

Trenton station - > Hamilton station - > Princeton Junction station

bulletPrinceton Junction - > New Brunswick : [ Report ] : around 23 miles

Princeton Junction station - > Princeton boro - > New Brunswick station

bulletNew Brunswick - > Linden : [ Report | Aug-05 ] : 22-23 miles

New Brunswick station - > Rahway station - > Linden station by more direct route with more vehicle traffic and more difficult traffic situations [ Report ] = 17 miles

bulletLinden - > Newark : [ Report-06 | May-05 | Oct-04 ] : 10 miles

Linden station - > Elizabeth - > Newark (Penn station)

bulletNewark - > GWB : [ Report-05 | Dec-04 | Sept-04 ] : = 22-24 miles

Newark (Penn station) - > Wallington NJ - > west end of George Washington Bridge (GWB) at Hudson River

bulletGWB (west end) to Pennsylvania station New York City = 10 miles

Total  Philadelphia to NYC train stations: 30th Street Station Philadelphia to Pennsylvania station New York City = 36 + 92 + 10 miles = around 138 miles

Bridge-to-bridge total:  Philadelphia to NYC: Ben Franklin Bridge to George Washington Bridge (Hudson River) = around 125 miles

New Jersey total: Trenton to GWB:  "Trenton Makes" bridge (Delaware River) to George Washington Bridge (Hudson River) = around 92 miles

KenR, June 2006: Philadelphia to Trenton

I skated this on a weekday morning after taking the train down from New Jersey. 30th Street station is a famous space, nice place to put skates on. I took JFK east across the Schuylkill, then Market St to visit City Hall and skate around and thru it. Back to Rittenhouse Square, then south to Pine St, and found that street a nice way to go west-to-east across the city.

Lots of smooth pavement around Philadelphia center city, but not many wide streets or avenues. Skated up 5th St to Independence Hall park. Somebody yelled "No" at me when I started aiming for the sidewalk in front of the Hall itself, so I waved and smiled and skated the streets around it. Then down to some 2nd St market (with some cobbles) and east to the end of South St with a view (not the best) of Penn's Landing and the River.

Got on Delaware Av and skated in the bike lane north and then northwest out of Center City area. Bore Right onto Richmond St to nearly its end, Left on Bridge, Right on Tacony St, semi-circle to Right to avoid much of the vehicle traffic for Tacony-Palmyra bridge access -- this was one of the few breaks in the generally smooth pavement for a long time. Right onto New State for more nice pavement. I tried bearing Right onto Milnor, Left on Bleigh, Right back onto State (which worked OK, but next time I might just stay on State).

There were some sections with parked cars and/or limited shoulder, and a section where the trolley tracks took up most of the lane (so I had to decide whether to skate inside or outside the tracks). But overall wide enough for me to feel comfortable in my style of skating with traffic -- I wear a rear-view mirror.

Then the road took me out of Philadelphia city, so the road was generally narrower, sometimes no shoulder. But not a lot of traffic.

When I saw some cars in my mirror coming behind me, I would wave to them, move toward the side and skate "narrow" or just coast for a couple of seconds until they had passed by.

I skated thru Cornwells Heights, and remembered a skate racing team with a name sorta like that. At Croydon I ran into bad luck: A road maintenance crew had grinded the pavement to make it rough and bumpy to prepare for paving it with fresh asphalt. Likely just a few days later it would have been delightfully smooth, but at this time I did my best by finding some side-streets to skate on, and just endured it until it reached Rt 413.

I tried the obvious road toward Bristol. A bit narrow and coarse-stone. Next time I might try the parallel road to its left (northeast) side. Right on Canal's End into Bristol. Right on Mill St to a pretty park beside the Delaware River, where I took a break to savor the morning. Then continued northeast skating on Radcliffe St, an even more fun way to savor the morning.

When I reached Tullytown, I continued sort of straight or curved right or something onto what I think was Bordentown Rd, along the right (south) side of Van Sciver Lake -- with another lake on the other side of the road -- and that was a pretty setting for skating. Until I was surprised to reach an "open grate" bridge deck -- which for me is dangerously unskatable metal grating, and definitely do not want to fall on it. Turned out  even the sidewalk was "open grate" metal -- so I carefully walked across. Then resumed the fun skating.

When the road ended at Tyburn Rd, I tried going Left, (two traffic lanes in each direction, not much shoulder, but not much traffic, so it worked fine for me).  Then after a ways took an exit marked only "Exit", no road name sign. I went Right, and it turned out to be Philadelphia Rd -- which went almost to the Delaware River, then forced me to turn Left, I went under some bridges, and turned Right onto a road which goes east over the "Trenton Makes" bridge across the Delaware River from Morrisville into Trenton. I went on the wooden sidewalk.

At the end of the sidewalk I sorta turned Left onto Warren St, then some other street which took me into view of the bright golden dome of the New Jersey state capital. Had some ice cream in downtown Trenton, then skated to the train station.

Overall I liked the high percentage of nice pavement, variety of sights along the way, mostly straightforward navigation, lack of significant hills.

Highlights: Radcliffe St and the park in Bristol, skating between the two lakes east of Tullytown, and of course Philadelphia Center City skating tourism.

Maps: Rand McNally Philadelphia and Vicinity, and Hagstrom Mercer county NJ for the streets of Trenton.  Would have been nice to have also a map of Lower Bucks county PA and detailed streets of Philadelphia, but I felt I knew those areas well enough from other trips.

KenR, June 2006: Linden to New Brunswick to Rahway to Linden

I skated southwest to New Brunswick trying a more direct route, hoped to find ways to avoid some of the most difficult traffic problems, but didn't succeed this time. Then I explored south of New Brunswick around the the Cook and Douglas campuses. Then started back to Linden . . .

From the New Bruswick train station I tried going northwest on George St -- mostly good pavement, but required crossing some entrance-exit ramps for Rt 18, then a narrow-width section getting to the traffic light for the Landing Lane bridge. Then took the Landing Lane bridge north across the Raritan River, then left onto the trail or road in Johnson Park. (Likely next time I'll cross the Rt 27 bridge instead, then take River Rd northwest, and get onto the road or paved path through Johnson Park further southeast.)

After exiting Johnson Park, I skated north up Hoes Lane, Right on Frelinghuysen into a Rutgers University campus, using some roads like Bartholomew to get to Davidson,

bulleteast on Davidson straight across Mettlars Lane, becomes Avenue E.
bulletLeft - Road 3
bulletLeft - Suttons Lane (northwest)
bulletRight - Ethel Rd to its end (started somewhat coarse-stone, got nicer)
bulletLeft - Talmadge Rd, starts north, bridge over Rt 287, curves east, some coarse pavement near Park Av
bulletLeft - Park Av
bulletRight - Stephenville Pkwy
usually at this point I would take . . .
bulletLeft - Harding Av to its end
bulletRight - Oak Tree Rd
but I knew there was construction on Oak Tree, so instead this time I took Plainfield Rd to New Dover
bulletLeft - New Dover Rd goes a long ways east, bridge across Garden State Parkway. Before reaching Rt 27 . . .
bulletLeft - Colonia Blvd to its end . . .
tricky intersection with Rt 27 and Rt 35 and under a railroad bridge
bulletRight onto highway south, then quick sharp Left onto New Brunswick Av
bulletbear Left into Main St (of Rahway) -- one block later,
bulletintersection with traffic light with Milton St

Rahway train station is a block northwest from the intersection of Main St with Milton St.

I've tried several ways to skate between Rahway and Linden. Each has its pros + cons. The smoothest pavement is on Elizabeth Av, but that usually has the most vehicle traffic and significant parked cars. A way to avoid it is to use some streets like continue straight on Main St, then get on Whittier St going roughly northeast, perhaps later becomes Blancke St when it enters Linden. Along the way I found some smoother pavement with less traffic on Price St, which runs parallel between Whittier and Elizabeth, from Scott St to Lexington Av.

Once Whittier St or Elizabeth Av gets near Stiles St, the traffic and parked cars get more tricky, and there's different options for avoiding it (or not). Fortunately from there it's only a few short blocks to the Linden train station, and I've used various routes.

Maps: Hagstrom Middlesex county + Union county

KenR, May 2006 Linden - Elizabeth - Newark

I've skated several different routes between Linden and Newark in different directions.

The simplest (though not always the smoothest or most pleasant) uses roads like:

from the Linden train station, street alongside the southeast side of the tracks for a block or two, then Right a block, then Left onto Linden Av going northeast for a good ways, becomes Lidgerwood Av (which I'm remembering might later become one-way south-bound, in which case might want to avoid that section). then north on Washington to its end, Right on Pearl St (one-way east-bound), Left on Broad St into downtown Elizabeth.

Elizabeth train stration is further north on Broad St -- but I usually turn Right onto Elizabeth Av (multiple tricky ridges on this intersection which could take a skater down), then Left on Jefferson Av to its end. Right half a block on North Av, Left on Madison Av, becomes Floral Av, to its end. Left on McClellan St, Right on Frelinghuysen Av, goes a long ways, lots of new pavement, enters the city of Newark.

From around the northeast end of Frelinghuysen Av, there are several routes into downtown Newark and Newark Penn rail station. Of course in a city this big, encounters with tricky and heavy vehicle traffic is nearly unavoidable. A street with less traffic and mostly OK pavement is Orchard St (parallel between Broad St and McCarter Highway).

Maps: Hagstrom Union county + Essex county

see also

bulletmore New Jersey Stories + Photos
bulletmore Skate Hudson Valley stories + photos

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