Stories and Reports

George Washington Bridge to Jersey Shore:
reports in 2005

Skating inline near the Hudson Valley

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bulletMay-05: GWB west down hill, then over Rt 46 bridge to Wallington + Newark
bulletMay-05: Newark to Linden
bulletMay-05: Linden to Perth Amboy to Long Branch

KenR, May 2005: from GWB west down hill, then over Rt 46 bridge to Wallington + Newark

Overview

On a midweek afternoon with nice weather, I started by skating west from Manhattan across the GWB, down the hill to Broad Av, then south thru Leonia into Palisades Park. Took the Rt 46 bridges across Overpeck Creek and Hackensack River, past Teterboro airport to Wallingford, then south along the east side of the Passaic River to Newark.

I liked doing the route down the hill again, and the Rt 46 bridges worked out OK, though in a way that I didn't expect (though perhaps next time I would try the next bridge south for Overpeck Creek). But I didn't like the early-rush-hour traffic from Wallington down to Newark and into and thru Newark.

Distance from west end of GWB skating to Newark Penn station is around 24 miles. Distance from west end of GWB skating to NJ Transit station in Linden is round 35 miles. Distance from Fort Washington Av in Manhattan skating across George Washington Bridge to its west end at Hudson Terrace in Fort Lee NJ is around 1.5 miles.

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 scary.

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

bulletMain St going West.

Just after William St there is a downhill into a traffic light with parking spaces on both sides and not very wide traffic lanes.

Variation: This section of Main St could be avoided as follows: Left on William St, then 2nd Right onto Catherine St. (down, then short steep up), then Right on John St for two blocks, then Left on Main St to rejoin main route.

Main St later becomes Fort Lee Rd - Bergen county Rt 12.

Then about a block before going underneath Rt 46 highway, and before the traffic light for Maple Ave . . .

bulletRight on Jones Rd. This later goes under Rt 46), ends with a sharp curve Left into Grandview Place.
bulletRight on Ridgeland Terrace to its end.
bulletRight on Edgewood Rd (cross above I-95 highway).

(For expert downhill skaters looking for a steep road with little traffic and wide smooth pavement that does not end at an intersection, there's one around here -- but the point of this route is to avoid that).

bulletLeft on Ridgeland Terrace to its end.
bulletLeft on Jones Rd a short ways.

Then just after crossing above Rt 4 highway . . .

bulletLeft on Walton St, at the end of downhill it curves Right (where I got surprised by dirt and gravel on the road from the recent hurricane), and meets
bulletBroad Av

Broad Av now is below the steep-hill problem, and can be taken north or south to get to various faraway places in New Jersey (such as north and then west to Rochelle Park and the Ridgewood Duck Pond).

Distance from West end of GWB to intersection of Broad Av and Walton St is around 3 miles.

Broad Av across Rt 46 to Wallington

Distance from Broad Av and Walton St skating to Wallington is around 11-12 miles.

I found Broad Av to be mostly "broad" -- wide -- which made it pleasant skating for me. Going thru Leonia there were some blocks with angle parking, which I feel like I have to extra-careful with in my skating, because a car might back out in front of me.

When I turned onto Rt 46 West-bound, there was no shoulder at first, so at first I skated in the entrance ramp lane for a ways, then found a shoulder I could move into. I think better next time would be to turn west before reaching Rt 46, then taking Grand Av south to turn onto Rt 46, because there I would have had a shoulder.

The Rt 46 bridge over Overpeck Creek had a sidewalk which had rough and dirty sections, but I made it thru OK. I was concerned about how I would get across the New Jersey Turnpike, but then I saw a right turn into an Overpeck business center, which put me onto Challenger Rd, and then I followed signs for Rt 46, which put me going west on Emerson Rd, which ended at Teaneck Rd. I turned Right on Teaneck, then Left on Christine(?), then Left again on Main St (going South), and followed signs for Rt 46 West-bound.

The Rt 46 bridge over the Hackensack River had a sidewalk which was rough and dirty in places, but I made it thru OK. Then there's a big roundabout or traffic circle, and I used the pedestrian cross-walks to get onto some streets which took me into Little Ferry, which has some food stop possibilities. South a little, then turn Right onto Red Neck Av, past the Teterboro Airport to its end, Right on Moonachie (West-bound).

The traffic-light intersection and crossing of Moonachie over Rt 17 got complicated because for a short ways there were multiple traffic lanes but no sidewalk, and then there was a sidewalk, and it was all uphill or rough pavement or both. I think next time I would walk on the dirt or grass where there is no sidewalk, then skate the sidewalk on the bridge over Rt 17.

After crossing over Rt 17, turned Left on Jefferson St, Right on Anderson (up steep hill), Left on Columbia which worked well for me. Right on Hoboken Rd / Patterson Plank Rd up a long steep hill -- which I took mostly on the sidewalk that time. After the hill, encountered a brief section of very slippery pavement (from oil or water?) at a car-wash just east from the Dunkin Donuts at the intersection with Willow Av, coming into Wallingford.

Wallington to Newark

Distance from Wallington skating to Newark Penn station around 10 miles.

Instead of going all the way west into Wallingford, I turned Left onto Herrick Rd, which curved right and ended in a mod-steep downhill into a stop-sign at Carlton Av. I turned Left to go South on that, which later became Rt 507. Though it runs parallel to the Passaic River, I didn't get to see much of the river. The pavement was somewhat coarse in places, and there was a headwind, and rush hour traffic was starting, so it wasn't much fun that time. Then the pavement got nice further close by Newark.

I took the Bridge St bridge west across the Passaic River into Newark, which had an OK sidewalk. McCarter Highway had lots of traffic, so I went south on the new brick sidewalk on its east side next to the river -- which was mostly OK, but got tricky in several places because it was still under construction. There was also something like a shoulder of the road on the east side, but that was also obstructed by construction -- so maybe this section will get better in the future. Then I turned left on some major street (Raymond Blvd?) and that took me to Newark Penn station (NJ Transit train).

Maps: Hagstrom Essex county + Bergen county

KenR, May 2005: Newark to Linden

Distance Newark Penn station skating to the NJ Transit train in Linden is around 10-11 miles.

I started at Newark Penn Station (NJ Transit railroad) on a weekday afternoon and skated east into the "Ironbound" section.

A simpler faster way which I tried a few days later on skates is to go south from downtown Newark on Broad St, almost to its end, Right on Wright St, Left on Freylinghuysen. (R on Emmet St also works with more traffic, or when going in this direction going all the way on Broad and R on Poinier St also works. (Seemed to me that the southeast half of Pennsylvania Av around here have better pavment then further northeast).

A way I tried another time on skates -- not quite as good as above -- is to go south from downtown Newark on Broad St, past Clinton Av and a park, then Right on some street to Sherman Av to Freylinghuysen. (because the northeast half of Pennsylvania Av is mostly coarse-stone and rough pavement).

I went on various streets going south and a bit west thru Ironbound, then took South St west underneath the railroad tracks, and across McCarter Highway - Rt 21. Continued further south and a bit west on various to get on Frelinghuysen Av - Rt 27 and took that underneath Interstate 78.

On Freylinghuysen Av further southeast, I found that for some sections the sidewalk was much smoother than much of the street. Especially for doing underneath Interstate 78.

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, then bear Left to go on the road (mostly smooth, some rough) along the east side of the lake, which was pretty, then curve left toward southeast around an open field.

Exited from Weeqahic Park by turning Right onto Dayton St (rough). After a ways, I made a half-Left onto Ludlow St, quick Left on Wharton St to its end.

Or from Dayton take the full Left onto Evergreen, first Right on Hanford St (smoothly paved), Left on Wharton St to Freylinghuysen. (Van Vechten was very rough when I tried it). Or from Dayton after a school building (but a little before Evergreen), turn into a paved school playground, then exit Right on to Hanford St (smoothly paved), Left on Wharton St to its end at Freylinghuysen. 

Another way from Dayton is to take the full Left onto Evergreen, first Right on Hanford St, Left on Wharton St to Freylinghuysen. (Van Vechten was very rough when I tried it).

Another way I tried a few days earlier was after a little ways on Dayton, turned Left into a well-paved drive thru an apartment complex and came out at Freylinghuysen Av.

On an earlier day, I tried continuing further on Dayton St (later became one-way against me), and turned Left on Cross Av, then Left (east) on North Av -- lots of traffic for two or three blocks, which I avoided by going onto the sidewalk, and the sidewalk got narrow at times, then skated on the street underneath railroad tracks, then turned Right onto Madison Av.

Turned Right onto Freylinghuysen Av and went to traffic light for McClellan St (possible drink-food stop at McDonalds on corner), turned Left onto McClellan which took me under the railroad tracks. Turned Right (south) onto Floral Av, which becomes Madison Av, and went a long ways on this to its end (later gets more coarse-stone and sometimes rough.

Continued south onto Bridge St, turned Right (west) onto Pearl St. I crossed Broad St onto parking lot and sidewalk of Pearl St (because Pearl St here is one-way east-bound), then turn Left onto Washington Av.

Another way I tried to avoid some of the coarse + rough sections on Madison, and see more of downtown Elizabeth -- was to turn Right off Madison Av before its end, onto Magnolia. Then half-Left onto East Broad St (Jefferson Av is another way to reach this intersection, but it has more rough pavement).  East Broad goes to a tricky interesection with North Broad St underneath two railroad lines, which does not permit a Left turn. (This route works better in opposite direction. A way to avoid it in this direction would be to use Grand Av or Elizabeth Av instead of East Broad).  Anyway I carefully found a way to go Left anyway onto Broad St going southwest into downtown Elizabeth. Straight across intersection with Elizabeth Av with some nasty ridges and grooves. Then Right on sidewalk alongside Pearl, Left (south) on Washington Av.

South on Washington Av, bear Right onto Lidgerwood Av, with unexpected stop sign at Garden St where uncoming left-turn traffic does not yield or stop. Lidgerwood Av continues south across Bayway Av - Rt 439, and when it crosses Park Av it changes name to Linden Av, where I found mostly 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

KenR, May 2005: 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 on a weekday in dry weather and dry road surface. I was mostly having a good time until I got to Leonardsville Rd and the Locust Av / Grand Av detour -- and then a stiff headwind all on Rt 36 all the way from Sea Bright into Long Branch. Next time if I know the Locust Av bridge is not complete, I think I either would not do this tour at all, or else I'd figure out some way to finish thru Atlantic Highlands to Sandy Hook (instead of finishing at Long Branch) -- unless I had a pretty good tailwind from the north to help me down Rt 36 to Long Branch.

In Linden I 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, I turned Right onto Blair Rd and went south a long ways to its end.  I got onto Port Reading Av to go East over the NJ Turnpike, then immediately turned off Right onto Old Rd, south a ways to join West Av, which becomes State St and continued south into Perth Amboy.  I took Smith St going west thru the business district of Perth Amboy -- plenty of traffic, but I 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, then 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.  I exited the traffic circle southeast onto Main St of South Amboy. 

I soon turned Right onto Scott Av (perhaps Laurel might have worked as well), then Left on Ridgeway Av, which went thru a dark tunnel underneath railroad tracks, with a narrow lane, on north side of tunnel was sidewalk with some rather rough pavement at its ends. The street then changed name to become Stevens Av. I turned Right on Bordentown, Left on South Pine Av and went southeast a ways. Just before road splits and one-way sign, Left on Gabriel, which became Morris to its end, then Right on Midland Ave to its end at Rt 35, then a short ways east on the north-side sidewalk to the traffic-light intersection of Tyler St with Rt 35, and there crossed over to the Rt 35 South-bound lanes.

Just after a bridge over the Cheesequake River, near the Old Bridge Beach Park and police station, I got onto a road parallel to Rt 35 along its north side, then onto sidewalk and walked up a flight of concrete stairs, continued a short ways east on sidewalk. Turned Left on the first street (? Shore Circle ?), which soon curved right to go east above Morgan Beach with some great views over the water of Raritan Bay, until reached a parking lot at the end of Laurence Parkway. Stopped here for a snack.

Then continued East on Rt 35 a ways (skating on the north-side shoulder, some rough spots and pebbles -- next time I'd prefer the east-bound shoulder on the south side). At traffic light for Birchwood and Raritan, turned Left on Raritan to its end, Left on Ocean Blvd which crosses creek and becomes Lakesure Dr (coarse-stone pavement), Left on Greenwood Av (coarse-stone pavement) which becomes West Concourse, then joins Cliffwood (going south). I turned Left on Sweetbriar, then Right and Left to go east on Amboy Av.

Next time perhaps turn off Cliffwood earlier, like maybe Beverly to Prospect to Amboy.

Amboy Av becomes Front St into the village of Keyport, with lots of shops.

Could get more seaside views (and coarser-stone pavement) by turning Left onto American Legion Drive, then Left again onto First Ave.

I went thru Keyport on Front St, then Left on Broad St (county Rt 4) down to the water, Right on First St (county Rt 6), which becomes Broadway into village of Union Beach. Then bear left onto Florence Av down toward water. I turned left on Dock St to its end, Right on Front St for some water views.

Actually I think next time skipping Dock St and continuing on Florence to its end would yield enough views.

Bear Right it becomes Union Av. Then I turned Left onto the Rail Trail.

Last year 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).

Rail Trail crossed a street (? Rose Lane ?). Then I continued east on the Rail Trail, north of a lake, then across another street, Central Av, and I turned Right onto Laurel Av.

Perhaps next time I'd just continue on the Rail Trail to Main St and Port Monmouth Rd, to avoid the coarser-stone pavement.

Left on Tenth St (coarser-stone pavement) which became Church St (coarser-stone pavement), Right on Main St, and I stopped for a snack at a bakery.  Then Left on Port Monmouth Rd (county Rt 7 East) (smooth at first, then coarser-stone pavement, then a bike lane on its south side).

Right on Church St, bear Left becomes Broadway to its end, Right on Main St, Left on East Rd, across Rt 36, then Left on Leonardville Rd to its end (mostly 2-3 foot shoulder, but coarser-stone pavement and more traffic than I expected).

Next time I think I'd try either the Rt 36 shoulder or the Rail Trail east to its end at Avenue D -- instead of Leonardville Rd.

I got on Rt 36 going east a ways, then saw something about the Locust Av bridge being closed, and so found myself going south on Grand Av (rough pavement and at least one hill and more car and truck traffic than I would have liked -- pretty bad on skates), to Locust Point Rd.

I crossed the Navesink River on Rt 8A (Oceanic Bridge?) was rather pretty.  In Rumson I soon turned Left onto East River Rd, Left on Meadowbrook for a block to a little river view, Right on Avenue of Two Rivers, Left onto Black Point Rd, Right on Navesink Av, Left onto Hartshorne Lane (some rough pavement in its east-most block), 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 on Rt 36 a few miles to Long Branch, then Right onto South Broadway, some other streets to Third Street to the New Jersey Transit train station of Long Branch and went home on the NJ Transit train.

 

see also

bulletmore Adventures from the GWB -- Stories + Photos
bulletNew Jersey stories + photos -- Jersey Shore
bulletmore Skate Hudson Valley stories + photos

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