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Walk the Walkway

July 2, 2017

North Bergen/Guttenberg/West New York

On a hot and sunny day, 29 walkers including 3 HRWC Board members gathered at the new Edgewater Harbor Parking lot to Walk the Walkway along the Hudson River Walkway in North Bergen, Guttenberg and West New York.  Walkers came for Trenton, Hunterdon County, New York and communities along the Walkway.

Edgewater Harbor is the previous site of the Unilever Research facility.  It is located adjacent to the Quantas Superfund Site which has finally begun remediation. Some of the Unilever research buildings have been converted to high-end condominiums. After a short discussion of the role of the Conservancy in supporting the development and maintenance of the Walkway, the group gathered water and sunblock and headed south at 9:30.

Edgewater Harbor is controversial as they have developed a pier for private use only by residents.  The Conservancy believes this is a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine where the public has a right to unimpeded access the Waterfront.  Leaving Edgewater Harbor, the walkers moved to River Road to pass the undeveloped Riverview site.  This land is one of the final “gaps” in the Walkway between Bayonne and Fort Lee.  It has been in litigation for many years to resolve parking, traffic and FEMA concerns after Super Storm Sandy.  It also is being litigated by the condos on the hillside who do not want to lose their view of the Hudson.

The Walkway was rejoined at the Watermark where the group was reminded that it is possible to walk uninterrupted on the Walkway from the Watermark all the way to Goldman Sachs in Jersey City, a distance of over 10 miles with no interruptions.

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.  The site has sunk over the years and the Walkway and part of the driveway were being flooded at high tide.  Storms cause even more significant flooding including some of the Roc Harbor garages.  It was good to see that the Walkway and shoreline are now under construction and being raised to prevent future flooding.

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.

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 although the driveway has been striped to indicate where walkers should go to reconnect with the Walkway at the Waterside restaurant.  As the group approached the Waterside, the conflicts between the public access and private business operations were evident.  A wedding was being arranged in an area where the Walkway is built. 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 drainage and flooding problems and the old macadam Walkway are not being addressed and the Walkway is deteriorating. Previous storm debris on the Walkway had been cleaned.

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.  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.

After a brief pit stop in the park, the Walkers moved through Guttenberg. One of the Walkers noted that Guttenberg is the most densely populated community in the country.  This is due to the huge Galaxy condominium complex that towers over the waterfront. Entering West New York, there is about a mile of Walkway that runs beside high end condominiums.  The Walkway is totally completed and fully complies with the Walkway design standards.  The West New York town 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. As a result, there was no structural damage to the Walkway from Super Storm Sandy.

The guided walk ended in West New York.The HRWC Board thanked the walkers for joining on this very hot day and reminded the Walkers that there is no walk in August and the next Walk the Walkway will be Sunday September 3rd where we will again gather at Edgewater Harbor and walk north along the Walkway in Southern Edgewater.

Photo Album of walk.


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