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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

September 27, 2015

Southern Edgewater

On a cool, breezy autumn day, 21 walkers including 3 HRWC Board members and many long time walkers gathered at the Whole Foods parking lot in Edgewater to Walk the Walkway at the southern half of Edgewater. The Walkway in this area is under development and redevelopment with Walkway “gaps” being closed each year and several dangerous and crumbling portions.

Walkers came from Fairview, New York City and the communities along the Hudson River. It was good to see many previous walkers in the group, some who have walked with the HRWC for several years, and to welcome some new walkers to the group.

As the group was gathering, a large tow truck arrived to tell the group that he was there to tow any cars that were not shopping at Whole Foods.  After a brief discussion about the lack of assigned parking for Walkway walkers as required by the Waterfront Development Permit, the group agreed to relocate to the parking area near the Binghamton Ferry. The HRWC will contact the owners of the property, and the DEP if necessary, to discuss their Walkway obligations as property owners, including the lack of assigned parking for Walkway walkers.  The HRWC will also ask for approval to conduct future walks from the Whole Foods parking lot.

After the group relocated to the parking area near the Binghamton Ferry, discussed the role of the HRWC in the development and maintenance of the Walkway,  and the planned redevelopment of the Binghamton site, the group started walking at around 10:00 AM.

The Binghamton Ferry restaurant has been abandoned for several years,  As a result, the Walkway in front of the Binghamton is decayed and crumbling.  It is very dangerous for walkers and should be roped off and closed to protect the public. There is a project being discussed to demolish the Binghamton and replace it with new floating restaurants.  At that time, the Walkway would be rebuilt.  However, there is no schedule available for completing the project. The HRWC will contact Edgewater officials to report the dangerous Walkway conditions

The walkers proceeded through the Trader Joe’s shopping center where the Walkway is undefined.  There is a ramp leading to an elevated balcony that could be the Walkway.  However it is very narrow and used for outside dining by several restaurants. An alternative is to stripe the parking lot in front of the restaurant so walkers are directed through the parking lot to connect with the adjacent former Hess Oil site. This property is under discussion with the NJ DEP.

The Walkers then stopped to view the rapid environmental clean-up that is underway at the former Hess Oil tank site.  It seemed clear to the group that the environmental clean-up and redevelopment of this high value property is high priority and, when completed in a year or two, will close one more “gap” in the Walkway in Edgewater.

South of Hess Oil, the walkers reentered the Walkway at the Mitsuwa Marketplace.  The Walkway here was constructed many years ago and is in good shape.  There is a new restaurant on the pier behind the shopping center which has the required public access to the end of the pier.  There is a small gate blocking the public access that was not locked and easily opened.  The HRWC will contact the restaurant to remove the gate or keep it open at all times.

Next the group entered the decaying Walkway behind the Edgewater Golf Range.  This area is sinking into the river and needs major reconstruction.  At high tide, half of the Walkway is submerged. Recently, the pavers have been reset and there was a clean-up cart trimming the overgrown shrubs.  The owner of the Golf Range has consistently said that he does not have the funds to build a bulkhead and rebuild the Walkway.

The walk continued through the Edgewater Commons shopping center with the group debating the pros and cons of many feral cats that live near the grocery stores and how to keep the messy Canadian geese away from the Walkway

Next was the high-end condos known as Independence Harbor.  These condos were built on the site of a previous Ford Assembly plant. It is amazing to see the beautiful condos where an old decaying factory once existed. Here the Walkway is maintained in excellent condition.  Landscape buffers are well developed and trimmed to separate privacy needs of the residents from the public Walkway.

A new condominium, the Marquis, has been built next to Independence Harbor including a small section of new Walkway that was, for years, a no-man’s land of shrubs and weeds.  It was good to see more of the “gaps” in the Edgewater Walkway being eliminated.

The Walkway continues through the large City Place property where it is well maintained.  The group stopped to examine the sinking land under the Promenade Condominiums and City Place.  The buildings are not threatened as they sit on piling but the parking areas under the building are giving way to Mother Nature.

The walkers continued and arrived at a dead end where the Walkway stops at the Quantas Superfund Site.  Walkers arriving here must use the dangerous driveways of the City Place shopping center to return to River Road and bypass Quantas.  There are no sidewalks to provide safe pedestrian travel.  The HRWC has asked the DEP to address this issue. It is even more important now as construction of an extension to City Place has begun and the additional vehicle traffic from the new building will use these same driveways.

After bypassing the Quantas site using River Road, the walkers stopped to look back at the work being done by the EPA to clean-up the land and the waterfront around Quantas. Quantas was an old, abandoned chromium and other waste dumping area that supported the Ford factory.   It will be many years before this land is safe and can be developed.

Passing under an old manufacturing building called 115 River road, the group arrived at Edgewater Harbor.  115 River Road is scheduled to be demolished as the land under the building is also contaminated from the Quantas chromium waste site.

Edgewater Harbor is a large site at the southernmost end of Edgewater.  It was the former home of Unilever Research where many of the popular detergents and soaps we use today were originally developed. Unilever sold the property to a developer about 5 years ago and now there are shops, condos and the Edgewater Municipal building on the site.  The development is not complete but the completed areas include a beautiful Walkway that meets all of the design guidelines for new Walkway segments.

Unfortunately, Edgewater Harbor has developed a pier for private use of Edgewater Harbor residents.  This is in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine that guarantees public access to the waterfront.  The HRWC is in discussions with the DEP to resolve this violation.

The guided portion of the walk ended at Edgewater Harbor.  The HRWC thanked the walkers for their participation and insight as many of them walk the Walkway often, some daily, and have valuable insight into the operation and use of the Walkway.

Photo album of walk (I apologize for the poor photo quality - camera was over-exposing!)

The next Walk the Walkway will be on October 18, when the HRWC will lead a walk along the Walkway in Liberty State Park behind the Statue of Liberty.  Please plan to join us.


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