Alex Philliou ’18 is “on track” to create a new rail trail along an unused CSX train line on the Northern Branch Line. The proposed rail trail would create a walking and cycling path from the northern border of Tenafly through Cresskill, Demarest, Closter, Norwood, and Northvale until it meets the Joseph B. Clark Rail Trail. Alex took a research course at Columbia University to help him prepare a strong online petition that he could post on the change. org website, one that included statistics on the health, economic, and other benefits to creating rail trails, links to his letters to the editors of local media outlets, and key testimonials of support from key, invested local business owners and community representatives such as Tenafly Bicycle Workshop and the Tenafly Chamber of Commerce. Next steps for Alex are to present his petition to the Bergen County Parks Commission and the mayors of Demarest, Cresskill, Tenafly, and Closter, and persuading CSX to lease the land.
Alex reports: “I was struck by the idea to convert these unused railroad tracks into a pedestrian and cyclist path after discovering this awful news about an elementary student being struck and killed by a car on his way to school. I realized that something had to be done to help prevent more accidents like these. Ever since then, I have been researching, studying and writing about the feasibility of “this” making this happen. After a summer of research, at the beginning of November I published the petition on change.org to find people supportive of my idea and make this idea a real conversation. In just one month, I have received over 1,200 signatures and over 1,000 comments (all supportive). I believe I have started something really great that can only lead to positive changes in our community.”
To sign Alex’s petition, click here.