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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

May 17, 2015

North Bergen/Guttenberg/West New York

On a warm and hazy day, 25 walkers including 4 HRWC Board members and our unofficial photographer gathered at the Watermark on the North Bergen/Edgewater border for a Walk the Walkway walk along the Hudson River Walkway in North Bergen, Guttenberg and West New York.  Walkers came for Fort Lee, Englewood and the communities along the Walkway.  It was good to see some long time walkers join the group again this year.

After a short discussion of the role of the Conservancy in supporting the development and maintenance of the Walkway, the group headed out at 9:30 beginning with the Walkway that adjoins the Watermark Condominiums. The group was reminded that it is possible to walk uninterrupted on the Walkway from today’s starting point in North Bergen all the way to Goldman Sachs in Jersey City, a distance of over 10 miles with no interruptions.  Developments, that are proposed or under construction to the north of the Watermark, will extend the Walkway into southern Edgewater.

The walkers observed that the Walkway adjoining the Watermark is not in the best condition as the pavers are sliding toward the water leaving gaps in the Walkway.  In the past, the Conservancy was successful in requiring the Watermark to remove a poorly constructed macadam Walkway and replace it with the current paver Walkway.  In spite of this, the shore line support for the Walkway is eroding and the Walkway is deteriorating. This is one more example of poor long term planning by developers who refuse to build bulkheads from sheet piling and instead rely on the shore line with rip rap rock to support the Walkway.

Passing the Watermark, the group stopped to discuss the unfortunate Walkway situation at Roc Harbor.  This condominium complex is one of the oldest along the Hudson River and the Walkway and part of the driveway get flooded at high tide.  Storms cause even more significant flooding including some of the Roc Harbor garages.  Roc harbor has been working for years to raise the funds to repair the waterfront and rebuild the Walkway but, to date, have not developed an acceptable plan.

Next on the tour was a confusing section of the Walkway adjacent to a PSE & G substation.  This section is also macadam but has sufficient support along the shoreline that the walking surface has not deteriorated even during super storm Sandy.  It was good to note that the trash receptacles were being serviced which was not the case the last time we walked this section of the Walkway.

From PSE& G the Walkway seems to disappear for a short section as it passes the Kingston condominiums leading to the Waterside Restaurant.  No Walkway was ever built here and the Conservancy continues to advocate for striping the driveway to indicate where walkers should go to reconnect with the Walkway at the Waterside.  As the group approached the Waterside, it was evident that the permanent barriers that were specified in the liquor license approval for the Waterside to separate the Walkway from the restaurant patio were not built.  The temporary canvas barriers were in place but had deteriorated. Interaction among restaurant patrons and the public’s right to use the Walkway remains an open issue for the Conservancy.

Moving on, the walkers passed the Palisades Memorial Hospital.  The new medical building is almost complete but, unfortunately, the drainage and flooding problems and the old macadam Walkway are not being addressed in the construction project. An excellent opportunity to upgrade the Walkway was passed over by the DEP when they approved the new building.

After the hospital, the remainder of the walk was on Walkway that almost exclusively passes in front of high end condominiums where the public access to the Walkway has been effectively integrated with the privacy and security concerns of condominium residents. The first of these complexes is Hudson Pointe where a fully compliant Walkway, including dedicated parking for the Walkway, is in place.  The developers of Hudson Pointe also built a beautiful park area adjacent to the Walkway that is open to the public.  This little known park area is one of the few places where it possible to see the entire waterfront from the George Washington Bridge to the Verrazano Bridge.

The walkers next passed a very small area of the Walkway where a municipal sewer outflow pipe and a cross country gas transmission line intersect the Walkway.  The Walkway design here effectively hides these utilities and many walkers would not know the facilities were there.

Next the group entered the North Bergen/Guttenberg waterfront park which is brand new.  It is a tribute to these two towns for working together to build a spectacular park that crosses the border of the two communities providing an outstanding recreation facility for their residents.  The Conservancy worked closely with the towns to make sure the park included the proper Walkway features and signage.

Moving through Guttenberg and entering West New York, the group stopped for a short rest and a discussion of the Walkway construction throughout West New York.  There is about a mile of Walkway in West New York that runs beside high end condominiums.  The Walkway is totally completed and fully complies with the Walkway design standards.  The West New York administration at the time the Walkway was built had the vision to require developers to build their fully compliant section of the Walkway before any residential construction could be started. As a result, there are no gaps in the Walkway in West New York even though some of the adjacent waterfront property has yet to be developed. Equally important, is the full sheet pile bulkhead that supports the Walkway. One of the HRWC Board members pointed out the high water marks on the condominium buildings which came from super storm Sandy.  It was clear that the Walkway had been submerged under several feet of water during the storm but, unlike other areas of the Walkway, there was no structural damage to the Walkway from Sandy.

The guided walk ended at the Port Imperial Ferry terminal which is the border between West New York and Weehawken. Walkers returned to the starting point via River Road or headed for restaurants and ice cream that adjoin the Walkway.

The HRWC Board thanked the walkers for joining us and encouraged them to join us again on June 7 in Liberty State Park where the next Walk the Walkway walk will tour the southern section of LSP, Liberty Golf Club, the LSP bird sanctuary and Port Liberte.

Photo Album 1 , Photo Album 2

 

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