KenR, December 2004: Newark
to GWB over Rt 46 bridge
On a mid-week day I skated from Pennsylvania train station in
Newark on the west side of the Passaic River to Passaic, east across
into Wallington, past Teterboro airport to Little Ferry, to
Ridgefield, then north to Fort Lee.
I liked it overall. I actually liked the views in Branch Brook
Park of Newark and the river road up the west side of the Passaic
River better than the more obvious river road along the east side of
the Passaic River.
Maybe sometime I'll try putting both sides
together into a little loop tour between Newark and Wallington, or
try using the west side as a way go north to Wallington and then
Rochelle Park and the Bergen county Park trailway to the duck
Lots of decently pleasant skating with reasonably streets and
moderate traffic. The climb up onto the Palisades ridge on Shaler
Blvd was nice, though connecting it to Edgewater Av was not so nice
on Broad Av in weekday traffic (? might be nicer early in the
morning on a quieter weekend ?), and I surely did not find the best
connection to Fort Lee.
Bridges: I did not take the Rt 46 bridge over Overpeck
Creek, instead the Edgewater Av - Bergen Turnpike bridge over
Overpeck Creek had little traffic. The south sidewalk on the Rt 46
bridge across the Hackensack River was fairly rough and somewhat
dirty (and missing on part of the west approach), but I could have
walked that section. Crossing the Passaic River was easy.
Maps: I used the Hagstom Essex County and Hagstrom Bergen County
From the NJ Transit train at Newark Penn station, headed roughly
west and a little north, to go west on Central Ave, then angle right
onto Sussex Av and Nesbitt St, over Rt 280 and into the southeast
corner of Branch Brook Park. Tried the off-street paths closer the
creek, but they were not really paved. So instead I skated on the
road thru the park that starts on the west side of the creek, which
I found pleasant with some views of the creek -- maybe I later
crossed the creek.
Turned east on Mill St, which was wide well-paved
gentle-to-moderate descent. Then found my way onto the river road
alongside highway Rt 21 and the west side of the Passaic River. A
bit tricky to find the best start, and the road is one-way
south-bound at first. The good thing is that traffic was pretty
light because most of the vehicles use Rt 21. At first I missed the
right turn after going under highway Rt 3, and found myself at
Delawanna train station, then I backtracked and took the correct
turn to stay on the river road. Or maybe it was the "old" river
road, since it later took me into the north-bound shoulder of Rt 21
-- somewhat rough + coarse in places. I suspect I could have avoided
that by finding a road further west along the other side of Rt 21 --
but I didn't see how to get to it.
I tried the Union Av bridge east into Rutherford, which worked
fine, but I decided to go back and explore further on the west side
of the Passaic River, so I then crossed the Gregory Av / Main Av
bridge into Wallingford.
Then immediately turned right to get onto Patterson Av, which
turned out to have moderate traffic which seemed to come in big
bunches -- so I could enjoy some pleasant skating in between the
bunches. I stopped for a snack along the way, then went straight
onto Hoboken Rd where most of the vehicle traffic angled right onto
Steep downhill east-bound on Hoboken Rd, I think I walked part of
it. I went all the way to the bottom by highway Rt 17 (but next time
I think I would stop partway instead and turn north on 8th St
(opposite Jane St) and use that to connect to Jefferson St. This
time I tried crossing Rt 17 onto Patterson Plank Rd, but neither the
crossing nor the road and its traffic seemed very inviting. So I
went back and found my way up north on some streets to Jefferson St,
took that to its end.
Turned right onto Moonachie, decent bridge over highway Rt 17,
and manageable traffic along the south side of Teterboro airport.
Then north on Red Neck Av to its end (nice skating, stopped to watch
a corporate take off from Teterboro airport), north a block or so,
then east on Main St of Little Ferry (with a snack stop) to almost
its end. North a little to the roundabout for highway Rt 46.
Took Rt 46 bridge east-bound across the Hackensack River. Unpaved
dirt path alongside road, with no paved sidewalk and no shoulder for
a section of the west approach (I could have walked this section on
the dirt path, though actually I skated "narrow" in the far right
side of the roadway). Sidewalk on bridge was rather rough and dirty,
but reasonably wide.
Next I did not want to go thru all the
entrance-exit ramps and complicated traffic of the intersection of
Rt 46 with the NJ Turnpike -- even though from advance inspections
driving my car I remember having seen a sidewalk on the Rt 46
bridge across Overpeck Creek. So instead . . .
Took first right turn off bridge, gentle downhill into unexpected
intersection where I had to make a quick stop to avoid going into
vehicle traffic on another street which was coming from underneath
the Rt 46 bridge. Joined this street (Bergen Turnpike?) southeast,
climb over the NJ Turnpike, moderate down with curve south to narrow
but pleasant bridge across Overpeck Creek. Left on Edgewater Av,
which was interrupted by railroad tracks. (Next time I would try
continuing straight onto Hendricks Causeway).
When I reached Grand Av / Broad Av I didn't like the looks of the
steep hill for going east on Edgewater Av (my avoidance instinct was
confirmed when I later saw that Edgewater Av further east came down
the other side of that steep hill, so it would have been a waste).
So instead I tried turning south on what I guess from the map is
Broad Av / Rt 1 / Rt 9. This road had two lanes in each direction
with no shoulders, and a sizable amount of vehicle traffic. So I
decided to skate in the sidewalk along its east side, which was
rather nice at first, but then turned narrow and rough, with some
Turned sharp left onto Shaler Blvd, and find that rather nice,
smooth pavement and a long gentle-to-moderate climb, not much
traffic. At its north end I found my way thru some streets onto 8th
St (in Palisades Park). The moderate climb continued all the way to
Edsall Blvd (but there was some coarse stone before the end, and
Edsall didn't work out, so I think next time I might try something
different, like maybe turning east onto Palisades Blvd). Edsall Blvd
east across Rt 63 came to an end, so I turned north which I went
down into a low spot, so then I climb steep up Stillwell Av to get
out of the "hole".
Next time of course I'd want to find a way to
avoid this low spot. (? Rt 5 looks like the gentlest east/west
path, but I have no idea what the traffic or lane+shoulder width
is like ?)
Then north on 15th St, and some other streets to Main St to the
south sidewalk of the George Washington Bridge. (East-bound on Main
St runs into a tricky combination of one-way streets and traffic
lights and a steep downhill at its end, so next time I'd like to
find a different and better way to the GWB.)
Skating the GWB sidewalk on a crisp December afternoon with blue
skies, smooth concrete, and almost no bicyclists or pedestrians was
Maps: Hagstrom Essex county + Bergen county
KenR, November 2004: Linden
to Perth Amboy
On a mid-week day I skated from Linden to Rahway to Carteret to
Perth Amboy. The variation from back in June was that I visited
Carteret along the way (instead of Blair Rd). The variation was
mostly OK for skating, but didn't add much interesting.
After passing by Blair Rd, east on Roosevelt was OK, but some of
the quieter streets parallel on the north were better. The key was
to find Pennsylvania Av to get thru to Post Rd.
The bridge east over the NJ Turnpike was OK, but coming down the
other side was problematic with traffic. Then I tried some quieter
streets to the southeast, which got complicated, and then I got onto
Louis and Washington Av to its end. Then Right on Port Reading Av
going southwest. Just after bridge up over railroad tracks, bear
Left onto State St, which was mostly pretty smooth and wide.
But then after going underneath the Outerbridge Crossing Bridge,
there was lots of parked cars. But not so much traffic that there
were a big problem for me. I had a snack at a bakery in Perth Amboy.
Then skated up to the middle of the Rt 35 bridge over Raritan
River (on its sidewalk), then came back down the same way and skated
to the Perth Amboy train station.
KenR, October 2004: Newark -
Harrison to Elizabeth to Linden
I started at Newark Penn Station (NJ Transit railroad) on a
weekday afternoon and skated into the "Ironbound" section on Market
St, then turned north at Jackson and took the bridge over the
Passaic River. West on Central Av to Passaic Av near the river
by the Clay St bridge, so I met my previous route from the GWB from
back in September.
South on Passaic Av to Harrison Av and the Bridge St bridge from
Newark. I skated across the bridge into Newark. Seemed better than
then Clay St - Central Av bridge, but there's still some
construction work being done on McCarter Highway, so not sure what
the bridge will be connecting with, but what was finished looked
promising. I skated back across the bridge east to Harrison.
Then worked south and east on streets like Dey and Railroad to
4th St, and south on 4th St to the bridge across the Passaic south
into the Ironbound section of Newark. The bridge had nice sidewalks,
but 4th St wasn't much fun with traffic and parked cars -- and rough
where it goes underneath railroad tracks.
Did the obvious straight continuation off the bridge onto Jackson
St, which was somewhat rough -- I'd try something else next time.
Found a bakery with toilet on Ferry St -- seems like Ferry St is
where the most interesting food shops are in this area. Then tried
various streets south and a bit west, then took South St west
underneath the railroad tracks, and across McCarter Highway - Rt 21.
Continued further south and a bit west on streets like Austin St
and Pennsylvania Av and Sherman Av. At the end of Sherman Av, turned
East (left) for a block and took Frelinghuysen Av - Rt 27 underneath
But before also going underneath Rt 22, I turned right onto
Empire St, west and then curving south, then across Meeker Av into
Weeqahic Park. Found out that the road on the west side of the lake
does not go all the way around it (the jogging trail does go
all the way around the lake, but skating and bicycling are not
permitted on that). So instead I did the "bear left" to go on the
road along the east side of the lake, which was prettier.
Exited from Weeqahic Park onto Dayton St (significant roughness),
then continued onto Ludlow St which took me to Frelinghuysen Av - Rt
27 which was coarse-stone here with lots of traffic, so I got off it
and went west to Cross Av. Next time I think I would rather skip
Ludlow and instead take Dayton St to Cross Av. (another possibility,
which I did not check at all, would be to try going east on
McClellan St to near the north end of Madison Av).
East (left) on North Av -- lots of traffic for two or three
blocks, which I avoided by going onto the sidewalk, but then the
sidewalk got narrow for a block. Then it was better for another
couple of blocks.
South on Madison Av to Bridge St was a straightforward way to get
thru the northern half of Elizabeth (though sometimes a bit
coarse-stone). Then I tried going left on Pearl St to Clarkson Av,
but that was a mistake, so I explored some alternatives that stayed
all on the west side of Rt 1 - Rt 9. I think next time I would try
going west (right) on Pearl St, then use some combination of Broad
or Liberty or South or Grier or Grove to get to Washington Av.
South on Washington Av, bear Right onto Lidgerwood Av. This
continuous south across Bayway Av - Rt 439, and when it crosses Park
Av it changes name to Linden Av, and I found nice pavement with a
very wide traffic lane and few parked cars. The last few blocks in
the city of Linden to Wood Av got narrow and with more parked cars,
so I got off onto a side streets -- and thus reached the Linden
railroad station (NJ Transit).
Maps: Hagstrom Union county + Essex county
Ken, September 2004: GWB
west down the hill, then to Wallington + Newark
GWB West down the
hill to Broad Av
Skating across the George Washington Bridge is a great way to get
out of Manhattan, but the New Jersey end of the GWB is up on a big
hill. So to get to other places in New Jersey (like to the Duck Pond
skate at Rochelle Park + Ridgewood, or to Newark or south), you must
get down off that hill, and most of the ways are kinda steep and
I found a way that was new for me and seemed more moderate than
the alternatives, and it felt pretty good to me on a weekday
afternoon. I'm not saying that it's the "right" way or even a good
way for every skillful skater. It still requires good downhill
skills and good street-traffic-handling skills and judgment. I hope
it'll provide some ideas for some possible roads to consider using.
I'd like to hear other ideas for how to skate in that area.
Here's what I skated: From the west end of the bridge in Fort Lee
NJ, I started by choosing a way to get onto
The obvious way into the city of Newark is to go to the downtown
area by crossing west over the Passaic River on Clay St (which is
continuation of Central Av). But we did not find that bridge or the
streets into downtown Newark much fun at this time. Perhaps wait for
more development work, or try again when traffic is very light.
Next time I might prefer to continue south thru Kearny and
Harrison, and straight south on the bridge over the Passaic River
into the "Ironbound" section of Newark.
Maps: Hagstrom Essex county + Bergen county
Ken, June 2004: GWB to
Linden to Long Branch
I skated from Manhattan to Long Branch in two parts on
two separate days. Another day I checked out some alternate
roads around South Amboy - Matawan - Keyport by driving my car.
Lots of good pavement on my route, but a few bad parts. Lots
of typical city-skating traffic, but some difficult uncomfortable
Highlights: sea views from Morgan Beach (and optionally
Sandy Hook) and crossing marshes near the shore, colorful shopping
streets in Union City and Jersey City, tree-shaded houses thru
Rumson, the big cranes in the Elizabeth seaport.
Tough parts: Bridge over the Hackensack River on Truck Rt 1-9,
and the sidewalk on the nearby bridge across the Passaic River was
pretty bad too. Traffic on a couple of miles of Rt 36.
Mid-week heavy-truck traffic thru Elizabeth seaport (but possibly
some of that could have been avoided by skating thru there on a
GWB - Union City - Jersey City - Elizabeth - Linden
Distance from the GWB to the NJ Transit train station in Linden
is around 30 miles. I skated it on a mid-week day.
After enjoying yet another pretty and pleasant crossing of the
River on the south sidewalk of the George Washington Bridge, then
headed west a little on Main St. After lunch at a Starbucks I
found in Fort Lee, I headed south on various streets like Anderson
Av and Inwood Terr, and then I liked much of Bergen Blvd. I
tried JFK Blvd as I crossed into Hudson County, but it had too many
parked cars around there, so I shifted east a little onto other
lower-traffic streets and continued
south. Then I found and liked much of
Bergenline Av with all the colorful shops going thru West New York,
and stopped for a snack at a hispanic bakery. Continued skating into
Union City, then shifted west a little onto Central Av, with more
retail shops south into Jersey City, and I made some more
snack stops, and made sure I had enough water for the next section.
I turned west onto Duncan Av, then south thru the park, then east
onto Truck Rt 1 - Rt 9 with lots of vehicle traffic on this mid-week
afternoon. The bridge across the Hackensack River had two
sidewalks and a section of steel-grating roadway in the middle, so I
tried skating in the north-side sidewalk next to the west-bound
traffic. Lots of sand on the sidewalk going up onto the
bridge, so I had to skate very narrow, and even "walk" my skates in
a few places. Fortunately the sidewalk coming down off the
bridge had much less sand.
A week before I had checked out the Rt 7 bridge
across the Hackensack River while driving my car, and the
sidewalks on that one looked to me like they were even worse than
either of the Truck Rt 1 - Rt 9 bridges.
Then the bridge across the Passaic River had two sidewalks but I
think no steel-grating roadway section. But there was so much
vehicle traffic that I decided to use the north-side sidewalk next
to the west-bound traffic. Lots of sand and debris on the
sidewalk going up onto the bridge, so I had to skate very narrow,
and even "walk" my skates in a few places. Fortunately the
sidewalk coming down off the bridge had much less sand and
Immediately after that second bridge I exited onto Doremus Ave
and went south on that into Port Newark, then west on Port St, south
on Corbin St into Port Elizabeth, east on Fleet St, south on
McClester St to its end.
There were sections thru here with significant
truck traffic and no shoulders -- though usually two traffic lanes
in each direction where there was no shoulder. Possibly some of
this traffic volume could have been avoided by skating thru here
on a weekend instead. The truck drivers generally tried to
be helpful to me, and I tried to be polite to them. But a
couple of the car drivers went by me close -- in order to pass on
the right of a truck which had moved over left to help me.
Then west on North Av a short ways and south on Kapkowski Rd past
some shopping malls -- and connected with Trumbull St (even though
my road map did not show that connection).
Skated southwest on 2nd St past a cathedral next to the park,
then southwest on Front St, northwest on Bayway Ave and a bridge
over the New Jersey Turnpike. Navigated thru the Turnpike exit
complexity and south on Brunswick Av a short ways, then northwest on
Park Av, much of which was nicely paved until the traffic light to
cross Rt 1 - Rt 9. Turned southeast onto Linden Ave, much of
which had a wide traffic lane, and that took me to the Linden train
Maps: Hagstrom Essex county + Bergen county
Linden - Perth Amboy - Keyport - Rumson - Long Branch
Distance from the NJ Transit train station in Linden to the shore
at Long Branch is around 40 miles. I skated it together with
Sharon riding on her bicycle on a Saturday, and when we finished at
Max's Famous hot dogs we met Michele and lots of others who had skated
north along the shore up from the NJ Transit train station at Bay
In Linden we got onto Elm St going southwest, left on
high-traffic Stiles St, right on Amon Terrace to its end, right on
Blancke St going southwest, which becomes Whittier and goes into
Rahway. Cross Grand Av onto Irving St going south under the
train tracks to its end next to the Rahway train station. Left
on Milton Av, quick Right onto Main St, Left onto Hazelwood Av,
going east alongside the Rahway River and underneath Rt 1 and cross
Rt 514. Then Right on Hart St to its end, Left on Randolph Av
into Middlesex County.
Instead of going all the way to Carteret, we turned Right onto
Blair Rd and went south a long way to its end. We got onto
Port Reading Av to go East over the NJ Turnpike, then immediately
turned off Right on to Old Rd, south a ways to join West Av, which
becomes State St and continued south into Perth Amboy. We took
Smith St going west thru the business district of Perth Amboy --
plenty of traffic, but we liked seeing all the retail shops,
including a couple of bakeries.
Left on Rt 35 South and across the new bridge over the wide mouth of
the Raritan River. The bridge had both a shoulder and a
sidewalk on the south-bound side. Sizable climb to get up to
the middle, than a sizable downhill to get to the other side.
Rt 35 goes into a big traffic circle under Rt 9, and there was
construction which made the traffic pattern kinda tricky. We
exited the traffic circle southeast onto Main St of South Amboy.
This had coarse-stone pavement, not much fun.
A few days later I checked for alternatives
while driving my car. I think I remember turning Right onto
Laurel St (or Scott St?) being OK and south to its end to turn Left onto Ridgeway
Av, then southeast thru a dark narrow tunnel underneath some train
tracks, and continuing straight on Stevens Av.
We turned onto Stevens Av and at some point shifted to Pine Av
and went southeast all the way to its end, where it merges with the
south-bound lanes of Rt 35. This is a tricky merge, since we
came in from the left and had to cross high-speed traffic lanes to
get over to the right side. Then we went a long ways east and
southeast on Rt 35.
A few days later I found that I could turn Left
off Pine Av before its end onto something like Morris St, then
Right on Midland Ave to its end at Rt 35 where there is a median
barrier that prevents making a left turn. But looked like
could go a short ways east on the sidewalk to the traffic-light
intersection of Tyler St with Rt 35, and there get over to the Rt
35 South-bound lanes.
After crossing the Cheesequake River and a little before reaching
Laurence Parkway we ran into some pretty bad shoulder and pavement
on Rt 35 for a short ways.
A few days later I found that this could be
avoided by turning Right immediately after the gas station east
from the Cheesequake River bridge, then east on quieter streets
(some one-way), then Left on Laurence Parkway to get back to Rt
A more scenic alternative is to walk up a big
set of concrete stairs on the north side of Rt 35 roughly opposite
that gas station east of the Cheesequake River bridge. At
the top of these stairs, walk thru a historic park to a road and
go left on the road (Shore Circle?) to continue east along Morgan
Beach with great views over the water of Raritan Bay until
reaching a parking lot at the end of Laurence Parkway, and could
then rejoin Rt 35.
The boardwalk for Morgan Beach starts near the
Cheesequake River bridge and goes to the same parking lot, but the
boardwalk is closed to bicycling and skating.
Dealing with the high-speed traffic of Rt 35 was not fun, but at
least the traffic lanes are mostly reasonably wide. We finally
got off Rt 35 (at the traffic-light intersection with Cliffwood Av)
onto Amboy Av, which bears Left to go east into Keyport, which was
rather pleasant, and we stopped for a snack at a bakery in Keyport.
It might also be possible to get from Morgan
Beach to the Matawan train station by going south on Laurance
Parkway, across the Garden State Parkway, then east on Aberdeen
We got on the Rail Trail somewhere in Keyport, and went east on
this paved trailway through Union Beach into Keansburg.
A few days later I found that the Rail Trail
can be reached from the Matawan train station, by going northeast
on Main St, then just after going over the Garden State Parkway,
bear Right onto Gerard Ave, and then I found the west end of the
Rail Trail at the intersection with Lloyd Rd, Broadway, Clark St
(just north of GS Parkway exit 17).
We tried the shore road thru Keansburg, but much of it had rather
coarse-stone pavement and not much view of the water. We later
got on Port Monmouth Rd going east, which had a bike lane. But
when we followed the bike lane all the way, it reached a dead end,
so we had to turn around and go back a ways, then turn south onto a
road (Church St? Main St?) which was rather nice for skating and
We found the Rail Trail again and took it east to its end at
Avenue D in Atlantic Highlands. We got on Rt 36 going east a
ways, then saw something about the Locust Av bridge being closed,
and we found ourselves going south on Grand Av to Locust Point Rd,
and found a little food store where we had a snack -- but sections
thru there had rough pavement and more car and truck traffic than I
would have liked (perhaps because the bridge was closed? -- we saw
construction equipment at the Locust Ave Bridge).
Crossing the Navesink River on Rt 8A (Oceanic Bridge?) was rather
pretty. In Rumson we soon turned Left onto East River Rd, Left
on either Maplewood or Meadowbrook for a block to Avenue of Two
Rivers, checked out the water view, then headed southeast.
Left onto Black Point Rd, Right on Navesink Av, and I think we then
turned Left onto Hartshorne Lane and Right on Ward Av, then had to
deal with some vehicle traffic on Rumson Rd - Rt 520 to get to the
sidewalk to the bridge to east across the channel into Sea Bright.
Then south Rt 36 a few miles to Long Branch -- which had some
sections with coarse-stone pavement. And met Michele and the
other skaters at Max's famous hot dogs for a some fun stories and
eating. Finally we skated and biked to the Long Branch train
station and went home on the NJ Transit train.