The Hudson River Waterfront Walkway is a publicly used space that stretches from Fort Lee through to Edgewater and continues in Hudson County. It is meant to be a scenic attraction where many can view the Hudson River as well as the New York City skyline.
Yet, the condition of the walkway has slowly been deteriorating to a point where the local residents have started to call for renovation and maintenance. In December of 2009, the residents of Edgewater, New Jersey, met with the Bergen County Department of Planning and Economic Development (DPED) to discuss the reshaping of the walkway. Included in the meeting were two consulting teams: T&M Associates, and Neglia Engineering Associates.
According to an online article published by NorthJersey.com:
while the county hopes the meetings will help transform the waterfront’s history of contamination into a cohesive, linear urban park that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors, the Borough fully supports the effort.
The article further suggested that there would be no rejection of the project itself, and it seems as though there has been positive reception of the strategy plan, as well as efforts to ameliorate the condition of the walkway.
An implementation and strategy plan, which was established December 8, 2010, outlines the efforts that this plan and what this plan means to do. Within this plan lists the multiple benefits that this project would provide upon its full completion, which is estimated to be around 2030. These benefits include providing a public wellness that would improve public health, which is an important aspect of planning itself.
Some of these benefits are related to the goals of comprehensive planning, as stated by John M. Levy in his book Contemporary Urban Planning. It is in Chapter 8 where he notes eight general goals of planning, one of which is health. Some other goals that he mentions that are also included in the plan are: circulation, provision of services and facilities, public safety, economic goals, and environmental protection.
Something that is puzzling is that within the plan, there is a list of numerous gap or orphan sites that do not comply with the guidelines of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). A few of these gaps are planned to meet guidelines of the Walkway segment.
Despite the fact that there will be reachable guidelines for some gaps such as Veteran’s Field, which had been scheduled for construction in 2010, there are other gaps that may cause serious complications. The two that could cause the greatest complications are related to health concerns.
One of the gap areas is Quantas Resources, which apparently formely housed a storing facility for waste oil. According to the plan though:
Due to on-site contamination, the site will not be redeveloped until remediation is complete.
In addition to the Quantas Resources lot, the Hess Oil and Chemical Corp also causes a potential blocking in the plans for the walkway.
Due to Homeland Security reasons, as well as potential hazards to public safety and welfare, the site is completely fenced and is not accessible by the public.
These two sites seem to cause the greatest problems in my opinion as they can create obvious constructional complications, but there is also the concern that these areas can have a negative impact on public health.
It begs to question what that planning board will decide to do about these contaminated areas, and how much more it will cost them in addition to the funds for rebuilding the walkway. How much longer will it take to make rebuild the envisioned Walkway that will create a scenery that everyone can enjoy.
When will there be forward progress for the public image?