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Walk The Walkway

Edgewater North - June 3, 2012

On a gorgeous sunny morning, 27 walkers including 5 members of the Board of the Hudson River Waterfront Conservancy (HRWC) met at 9:30 AM at the Whole Foods parking lot on River Road in Edgewater. Walkers came from as far away as Mendham in Morris County and some had joined us in Bayonne in April.

Don Stitzenberg welcomed the group, described the route for the day and some of the issues faced by The Conservancy in supporting the development and maintenance of the Walkway.

The Walkers began at 9:45 and proceeded north through the Whole Foods property where the Walkway is one of the oldest sections. Next came the beautiful section of Walkway where the adjacent Condominium, Mariner’s Plaza, has taken excellent care so that the public and the condo residents can enjoy a wonderful vista across the Hudson. The Walkway then leads to the Edgewater marina where the Walkway has been creatively integrated into the marina providing both public access and privacy and security to the marina occupants.

At this point the Walkers proceeded to River Road to bypass two large condominiums; Admiral’s Walk and 1111 River Road that were built before the Walkway legislation was established. As a result, no Walkway will exist along the river in this area unless the condominiums apply for a waterfront development permit for any major additions or modifications to their property. This would then require them to construct their segment of the Walkway along the riverfront in accordance with the Design Guidelines of the NJDEP. Proceeding north, the Walkers entered Edgewater Veterans Field Park which is about to be reconstructed. When completed in 2013, a crumbling asphalt path will be replaced with a paver Walkway along the riverfront. This will complete one of the largest gaps in the Walkway and provide the public and the residents of Edgewater a wonderful facility.

From Edgewater Veterans Field Park the Walkway is fully completed through two condominium complexes, Shelter Bay and Hudson Cove. It was noted that the northern end of this area has overgrown shrubs (Hudson Cove) that totally block the view of the river from the Walkway. This condition was also noted in a previous walk here several years ago.

At this point the group stopped to talk about one of the most difficult and contentious areas on the Walkway. This includes the Le Jardin restaurant, The Moorings condominiums, Von Dohln marina and the Vela Condominiums. This entire area has very steep topography which makes compliance with the Walkway guidelines very complex.

At Le Jardin, the waters edge has been illegally filled in and the owner is in litigation with the DEP. No Walkway will be built until this litigation is settled. The Moorings has built a compliant Walkway but it is unusable as it leads to a dead end at Le Jardin. The Von Dohln marina also has refused to build a compliant Walkway and is the subject of an enforcement action with the DEP. They have painted Walkway lines on the current pavement to denote a temporary Walkway but walkers must be careful as boats owners and other marine equipment use the same unprotected areas. Finally, Vela Homes has built a Walkway that does not conform to the construction Guidelines. The non-conformity was approved by the DEP as a compromise with the developer. While the non-compliant Walkway is complete, Vela has refused to open the gate between their property and the Von Dohln marina because of safety concerns, leaving another dead end for the Walkway.

The Walkers used River Road to bypass most of this area but some adventurous souls walked down the steep stairs at Vela, followed the Walkway past the pool at Vela and observed where the Walkway will continue when the adjacent North Hudson marina is developed. After a brisk climb back up to River Road, the group continued toward the Edgewater Colony.

The Edgewater Colony is a private community within Edgewater. Over the years, the DEP has reached settlements with The Colony over their resistance to construction of a compliant Walkway in their community. Several options are under discussion among the Colony, Edgewater and the DEP to construct a permanent Walkway. The Walkers proceeded along the roads in the Colony that are designated as a temporary Walkway to the end of the road where a foot path drops down to Palisades Interstate Park.

At this point, about 90 minutes from the start, the formal walk ended. Walkers returned to Whole Foods at their own pace and most had completed the walk by 12:00 noon.

Overall, it was an invigorating and informative day with many of the Walkers providing invaluable commentary and insight to some of the issues that were seen in this difficult area of the Waterfront.

The next Walk will be on September 9, 2012 when we will again meet at Whole Foods and tour the southern half of the Edgewater Waterfront. Please plan to join us.


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