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Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy

Walk the Walkway

June 23, 2019

North Bergen/Guttenberg/West New York

On a Top 10 bright sunny day, 12 walkers including 4 HRWC Board members gathered at the Edgewater Harbor Parking lot to Walk the Walkway along the Hudson River Walkway in North Bergen, Guttenberg and West New York.  Edgewater Harbor is the previous site of the Unilever Research facility.  It is located adjacent to the Quantas Superfund Site which has begun a multi-year remediation program. Some of the Unilever research buildings have been converted to high-end condominiums.

The Walkway designated parking spaces at Edgewater Harbor were being used by cars from the Oyster rental apartments.  At the suggestion of a Board member, the Conservancy will ask the property management to add signage indicating that these spaces are reserved fo Walkway users. After collecting all the walkers who got lost due to difficulties with the meeting directions and 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 9:45.

The Walkway through Edgewater Harbor is recently built and has been open for only a few weeks.  It is built in full compliance with the Walkway Design Guidelines including a landscape buffer to separate the Walkway traffic from the residential and commercial facilities. It was quite attractive. One controversial item at Edgewater Harbor is a pier that is gated and locked and available 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 eight final “gaps” in the Walkway between the Bayonne border 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 condominiums where 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. The Walkway here is now compliant pavers even though it was originally built with a non-compliant macadam surface.

Passing the Watermark, the group stopped to discuss the unfortunate Walkway history at Roc Harbor.  This condominium complex is one of the oldest along the Hudson River.  The shoreline at the site had sunk over the years and the Walkway and part of the garage driveway were being flooded at high tide.  Storms caused even more significant flooding including some of the Roc Harbor garages.  Fortunately, the Walkway has now been rebuilt and was in good condition and the shoreline has been raised to withstand future storms.  Funding for these types of major rebuilding projects remains an open issue for the Conservancy

Next on the tour was a confusing section of the Walkway adjacent to a PSE & G substation.  This section is macadam and was covered with Canadian geese and their droppings. The shoreline is unprotected here and open to flooding as well as the geese. The HRWC will contact PSE&G to request some shoreline protection be installed here.

From PSE& G, the Walkway seems to disappear for a short section as it passes behind 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 adjacent 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 but sections of the shoreline remain unprotected from tidal and storm surges.

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.  However, due to construction at Hudson Pointe the parking spaces were closed.

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 are not aware of the facilities.

Next the group entered the North Bergen/Guttenberg waterfront park.  It is a tribute to these two towns for working together to build a pretty park that crosses the border of the two communities providing an outstanding recreation facility for their residents.

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.

The guided walk ended in West New York.The HRWC Board thanked the walkers for joining on this beautiful day and reminded the Walkers that there is no walk in August and the next Walk the Walkway will be Sunday September 8th when we will gather in the parking lot of the Sheraton Hotel in Weehawken to Walk the Walkway in Weehawken.

Enjoy the Summer.


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