From 1906-10, the Erie Railroad Company drove 5,000 feet through Palisades rock, from Palisade Avenue on the east, to Tonnele Avenue on the west, in order to bring passenger service to the Jersey City waterfront. The “Erie Cut,” as much as 85-feet deep, was punctuated by the Bergen Arches, a series of concrete bridges that supported cross streets overhead. Today the site has returned to nature, with moss and vines covering the bridges and cliff face. It is a serene, pastoral world apart from the busy avenues that cross it.
The Bergen Arches and Erie Cut are threatened by various proposals to alter the historic cut and create a highway for automobile traffic, a proposal that has been met with overwhelming community opposition. Preservation New Jersey has recognized the threats to this landmark by listing it in 2001 as one of New Jersey’s ten most endangered landmarks.
The Conservancy supports adaptive reuse of the Bergen Arches and Erie Cut as open space, connecting with the Sixth Street Embankment as a connector for the East Coast Greenway. The Conservancy is also willing to consider use of the landmark as a corridor for light rail, so long as appropriate care is taken not to damage the historic arches and cut and space is set aside for a pedestrian and bicycle trail.