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Plan In Place To Bring High Line-Style 9-Mile Greenway To N.J.

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Every year, 8 million people visit Manhattan's West Side greenway oasis, known as the High Line. Now there is a plan to bring that same kind of space to New Jersey in a big way.

"This is a project that will transform this region," Debra Kagan, of the NJ Bike & Walk Coalition, told CBS2's John Elliott on Thursday.

"It'll be amazing. It'll be super cool," Jersey City resident Brian Benfield added.

A nine-mile stretch of train track has been abandoned for more than 15 years and it looks like it. The plan is to turn it into a living, thriving greenway that's good for the environment, business and your health.

"There's a million and a half people that live within a mile and a half of this corridor that would have access to this alternate transportation option and recreation," Kagan said.

"The idea of being able to ride from my house in Jersey City all the way out to Montclair on an off-road path and not have to deal with cars and trucks and buses and everything else you have to deal with on regular roads will be amazing," Benfield said.

Essex-Hudson Greenway
(Photo: CBS2)

So, how many Spanish-speaking people would be impacted by this line?

"A lot. Hispanics are underserved, often, and this will give them accessibility to greenspaces that we actually don't have along the corridor," bilingual outreach coordinator Nieves Pimienta said.

"Spanish-speaking populations will actually use this as a way to get to work?" Elliott asked.

"Absolutely," Pimienta said.

"This has been true across the country. When greenways come to a community, they bring all kinds of economic benefits," Kagan said.

Some of the biggest benefits of the project will be underground.

"What about flood mitigation?" Elliott asked.

"The agreement for the rail line includes the subterranean rights. That's the land underneath the rail line, and that will allow us to build storage for combined storm water overflow," Kagan said.

"It's not going to save everybody's basement from flooding, but every piece of environmental infrastructure that we do and make improvements for, it helps," Benfield said.

"So you would call it a win-win?" Elliott asked.

"I would call it a slam dunk," Benfield said.

The first step is buy all the property along the line, and that won't be cheap; about $65 million.

Supporters of the project are sponsoring a bike2trenton ride this weekend. If you'd like more information, please click here and here.

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