The First Bike Lanes in Jersey City

Posted on 09/24/2013

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These are Jersey City's first bike lanes - but where? Read below for the answers.

These are Jersey City’s first bike lanes – but where? Read below for the answers.

Bikas is fairly new to Jersey City. I spent a lot of time here in 2012, then moved here on January 1st 2013, so sometimes I get my Jersey City facts wrong. I thought that the bike lanes on Grove Street were Jersey City’s first and only bike lanes. The Grove Street lanes opened in April 2012 to some press accolades. They were re-painted and declared permanent in May 2013. They’re due to connect with an additional Manila Avenue / Grove Street (from 6th Street to Columbus Drive) bike lane due to accompany repaving sometime in 2013. In earlier posts here and here, I wrote that “as far as I know, [Grove Street] are the only bike lanes in Jersey City.” I was wrong.

It turns out that the Grove Street lanes came after Jersey City’s other less-heralded bike lanes, located on the street called “Lincoln Park,” in, you guessed it, Lincoln Park

As far as I can tell, mostly from riding there and from asking BikeJC’s Carly Berwick (who already wrote about the Lincoln Park lanes here), here are the basics of the story behind Jersey City’s first bike lanes. It turns out that the roads inside Lincoln Park (and the park itself) are Hudson County jurisdiction. Nearly 10 years ago, the county re-built the bridge over Lincoln Highway, and added bike lanes at the time.

There is a plaque on the bridge:

Plaque on the John S. Meager Memorial Bridge in Lincoln Park, Jersey City.

Plaque on the John S. Meager Memorial Bridge in Lincoln Park, Jersey City.

According to the plaque, Hudson County’s John S. Meager Bridge dates to December 2005, so that’s when Jersey City apparently got our first bike lane. Google can’t tell me who John S. Meager was… does anyone out there know?

Unfortunately these Lincoln Park lanes aren’t all that great. I am certainly not against them. Bike lanes in a park are good, but they tend to be a recreation facility more than a transportation one. Putting bike lanes only in parks tends to mean that a city/county/etc. doesn’t really take bicycle transportation seriously. It can indicate that bikes are seen as being just for recreation. Recreation/transportation usage is not that cut-and-dried though. Sometimes car drivers like to drive on scenic drives… perhaps for recreation? Sometimes drivers drive cars to the gym or the park. Is that driving transportation or recreation? Hard to say. I biked the Lincoln Park lanes to get to the restored wetlands area along the Hackensack River.

The Lincoln Park lanes don’t really connect to any other bike facilities, yet. Though they should connect to other planned Lincoln Park bike lanes (see the Jersey City bike plan here – map on the last page.)

And, worst of all, the lanes aren’t respected:

Multiple cars parked in the Lincoln Park bike lanes earlier this month.

Multiple cars parked in the Lincoln Park bike lanes earlier this month.

Drivers park in the lane. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to anything to prevent this… as it’s very common to see cars parked there almost any day of the week.

The good news is that there are plenty more bike lanes on the way.  Per this announcement, this month September 2013, Jersey City is beginning to implement new bike lanes and sharrowed bike routes. Bikas is looking forward to the new lanes!

Posted in: bike lane