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Should Washington Twp. Have More Sidewalks?

Everyone has opinions. Patch is the place to share them.

Washington Township residents know all about the beauty, serenity, and scenery available in their town.

The roadways, often shoulder-less, windy and hilly, can often be treacherous to traverse because of the area's terrain. But many residents still like to take their daily walks (some with their dogs), bike rides, and jogs along these roads, despite their lack of designated walkways.

So, Long Valley Patch wants to know if you think there should be more sidewalks installed in Washington Township?

Are you one of the many walkers, runners, or bikers in the area that has trouble doing your daily activities because of the lack of walkways?

Be sure to vote in our poll below, and leave your thoughts in the comments section. As always, thanks for participating.

L. Mc January 02, 2012 at 11:51 AM
As a walker on Kings Hwy.: Yes! There is no shoulder and often nowhere to jump when cars come speeding around the many curves & dips. This leaves pedestrians forced to cringe on the side of a lane praying the driver is paying attention!
Bill C January 02, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Our roads are an embarassment. Let's make sure our priorities are on straight. We put paver sidewalks in on W Mill and I never see people walking on them. They are like the bridge to nowhere. Fix the roads first!!!
Hookerman January 02, 2012 at 03:37 PM
"Are you one of the many walkers, runners, or bikers in the area that has trouble doing your daily activities because of the lack of walkways?" Bikers should not be on sidewalks... it's dangerous and illegal. There's a reason they call them 'walkways'.
Denobin January 02, 2012 at 05:04 PM
A reason for a lack of sidewalks may be that few people want to be liable for a "slip and fall" injury lawsuit after a snow or ice storm.
ValleyGirl January 02, 2012 at 06:19 PM
The township does nothing to see the sidewalks are maintained. It is a shame, Washington township received funding for the sidewalks in the valley. The sidewalks remain incomplete, and the sidewalks that have been already installed are not maintained. Leaves, snow, trash cans, a broken wall etc. These are the things you will see on the existing sidewalks. People ( including school children) are forced to walk in the street because the sidewalk are never shoveled during the winter storms. This topic has come up before. Tracy Tobin suggested residents to come a township meeting. I don't think we need a township meeting to point out the obvious. It would be a waste of money to install additional sideways, when the township lacks the willingness/ ability to enforce or maintain the existing sidewalks
Sue Underwood January 02, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Bill C: I don't know when you drive by but I live in the center of town and I have seen many people using the walks whether in the center of town or up near the shopping centers. Just because no one is walking as you drive by doesn't mean they are not used. I would like to see the walks extended from the Ballentine building to the municipal building north bound and from the municipal building south bound to the Zion Church. That grade is so uneven and I walk it regularly that it is ofter better to walk in the street especially during snow season. As for maintainance of the walkways I assume residents/business would be expected to shovel the walkways in front of their properties - not the town. That is the normal responsibility elsewhere. I don't think sidewalks are needed on most roadways outside of developments - I would think most people could exercise within the confines of the development without needing to run/walk on the country roads where it is much more dangerous for both the driver and walker/runner to be seen and avoided. On a different topic would also like to suggest that the police advise bicyclists who ride at night (i.e. East Mill) that they must have lights not just reflectors on their bikes. I have seen adults riding (against the traffic) without bike lights and wearing black/dark clothing. They must have a death wish or are uneducated/ignorant about bike safety issues and the difficulty of drivers to see them such conditions.
kathleen bush January 03, 2012 at 02:50 AM
The township should invest in sidewalks adjacent to every school in town. There actually are students that are able and willing to walk to school. If sidewalks were availale for students closest to the schools we could save on "courtesy busing" have healthier children, with less transporataion cost and less pollution from buses in the envirnoment. Sounds like a great investment to me.
BK January 03, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I agree completely, Kathleen...more sidewalks adjacent to the schools would be great...for the other areas, perhaps it would be less costly to create bike lanes instead of sidewalks...I don't think bikers would be too annoyed by the occasional walker or jogger (I live by Flocktown school and would love to be able to SAFELY WALK to the General Store!)
RGJ January 03, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Sidewalking Kings Highway is an intriguing thought.
Brian January 03, 2012 at 10:59 PM
I agree with Kathleen completely. Living in Nestlingwood, it would have been great to walk to school as a kid. The township wasted money on busing kids in our neighborhood when hundreds of kids were less than 2 miles away. Think of What can be saved by having adequate sidewalks and kids walking from the nestlingwood neighborhood, the cherry neighborhood etc. And how about the old farmers neighborhood in the valley? People wonder why childhood obesity is a problem? -nobody walks anywhere... As for maintaining sidewalks- that's the responsibility of home and business owners in every other town. The school could plow a sidewalk for the short stretch on flocktown and old farmers. Think of how much you pay in property taxes and ask yourself what has really been improved in the last 10 years... Come on. Take pride in bettering our town!
willbur January 04, 2012 at 10:49 AM
No, I live on Ann Rd, we have nice sidewalks, nobody uses them? Why I don't know, they walk two and three aside in the road. But when I walk I use them, I don't get it.
Mr X January 04, 2012 at 01:22 PM
There should be more sidewalks or larger shoulders on roadways - those roads outside developments. cars are not always "speeding" around some of the windy roads, but there is a problems of the worst-case scenario: you come around a blind turn, there's someone walking their dog, and of course here comes another car. So what do you do? Too short of a notice to hit the brakes, won't stop you in time. If you keep going, you'll likely hit the pedestrian and of course as a motorist, you're going to be at fault. If you swerve, you're more than likely to hit the oncoming car or at least run them off the road - to which you're liable for the damages because you failed to stay to your side of the road. The big problem these days are that most roads are built for motor vehicles, not pedestrian / bicycle use. That was fine in the old days when the population was much lower. I live over on Califon Road. That road growing up was so desolate, on average, maybe 5-7 cars passed an hour peak, now with the opening of the Ascot entrance to Gentry Estates there's an increase of traffic plus everyone is figuring out it's a shortcut to Califon/High Bridge etc without having to go into town and out Mill Road past the middle school. Sometimes, especially in the summer, it's hard to cross the road let alone go jogging down the street. I don't begrudge people for walking, jogging, bike riding etc, just wish there was a better (and safer) place for people to do it than the town's main roads.
Brian January 04, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Being from the Nestlingwood neighborhood for many years now, I have been on every street and have always seen people walking. People are always walking their dogs if they're not jogging. Kids are biking around... I bet many other residents of this neighborhood will vouch that people DO use the sidewalks here. Also, if the "sidewalks to nowhere" as I call them (ones that end abruptly) such as the ones on Flocktown actually were continued to a destination, such as the school, and kids walked to school, I GARAUNTEE, you'd see a lot more people getting around on the sidewalks. Spending a little money for sidewalks, and cutting out unnesscary busing (and every expense associated with them) will save a tremendous amount of money in the long run. Tell me what improvements to the infrastructure of the town have been done with taxpayers dollars in the past 10 years besides regular maintenance...
Jon January 06, 2012 at 02:45 AM
I agree! A sidewalk from the General Store to Flocktown School would be fantastic. I would bike with my kids to school if that existed. I suspect many others might too.
Joanne January 06, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I think you would need a specific "bike Lane" if you were to ride bikes to various locations and not use a sidewalk....on some streets the houses are to close to the road now, you can't add a sidewalk , that would open up another problem. Some of these kids leave so early for school, you wouldn't want them walking to and fro in the dark either
cecile marie January 07, 2012 at 05:31 PM
There are not enough people (density) to warrant the cost of installing and maintaining sidewalks, much as I would love to have them. If sidewalks are only installed near shops or certain sections, then parking lots are also needed - another cost. If someone can come up with a no cost, no maintenance plan they would get almost everyone's yes vote, but for now I say no. Also, if someone came up with a plan to build sidewalks connecting the empty senior housing on Fairview with the shops on Schooley's Mountain and on 513, I bet Toll Brother's might chip in for the cost. That way, they could sell those townhouses. The township would gain more ratables without more school children to drive up the education costs. What is well utilized are the Colombia and Gillette trails maintained by the county park system, voted best hiking trail in New Jersey last year. Just recently, they finished the missing section through the steel company property completing the trail from end to end. We share that trail with other walkers, joggers, bikers, fisherman, and horses - a nice community of friendly people.
Brian January 07, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Washington Township as a whole, is not dense enough to have sidewalks connecting the whole area. However, some areas of the town are considerably less rural than other parts. Does having 1,500 people per square mile warrant extending a sidewalk a few thousand feet? Or do the interests and desires of the people matter more regardless of density? I think the latter question is a better one. As for sidewalks connecting areas to shops, if anything, less parking lots would be needed as a result of more people walking to the shops versus driving. However, I'd argue that the relationship between the installation of sidewalks and parking lots is so minimal, that's it's negligible. They should focus on continuing the terminating sidewalks until they meet a destination (a school in this case) or meet another sidewalk. I really don't think it is too much to ask of the township to spend a few chips that'll better the area and save them money in the long run (Less bussing expenses). How much do you honestly think it'd cost to maintain sidewalks? As far as the integregity of the sidewalks, the sidewalks in my neighborhood were installed in the mid to late 70s and they are holding up just fine. It's not like a roadway with thousands of two ton cars going on it everyday. A total installation of 3-4 thousand feet of sidewalk throughout all 45 square miles of Washington township which has a population of approx. 18,000 people- a large majority paying taxes, is NOT much to ask.
Brian January 07, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Another short side note about busing and kids walking to school. There is no busing for any student in Hackettstown. Our town is adjacent. If a couple buses could be eliminated by having 3-4 thousand feet of sidewalk installed for kids to walk to school, thus saving tens of thousands of dollars in the long run, who wouldn't be for it? For those interested in kids walking to school and busing. Here's a link to the legislation. http://www.state.nj.us/education/finance/transportation/faq.htm
Claire January 08, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Brian, are you prepared to walk or drive your kids all year (snow, rainl floods)? Its not just a nice weather sign up.
Runner January 08, 2012 at 02:23 AM
They should add bigger shoulders or bike lanes. I'm a student at WMC and I run 6 times a week. Personally I don't like running on sidewalks, I like the shoulder of the road more even though its dangerous. Usually the side walks in LV either have trees hanging over them or people leave objects on them so you have to go in the road anyway. When I go for bike rides i like having the freedom of the road and not being restricted to the sidewalk but at the same time when i see a car I'll move closer to the side of the road and slow down. I really don't see the need of sidewalks, except by the schools.
jmwk January 08, 2012 at 05:07 AM
They don't need to have sidewalks to take away busing. They have no sidewalks for the the high school and they took away busing last year. Hardly anyone from LV complained to the board about it.
Jenn January 09, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I don't see the needs of sidewalks, just a place where families could run/bike etc. Why isnt there a jogging/bike path around the parimeter of rockspring park? It seems like a logical solution?
Brian January 09, 2012 at 07:13 PM
You could exercise on a treadmill in a basement... That's not the point. Majority of people in this area drive EVERYWHERE! Even if it's a "few blocks" away... Wouldn't it be great if people utilized their bodies to travel to a destination? It's like killing 2 birds with one stone. You get where you need to go, while you get exercise. It seems to make perfect sense to me.
RGJ January 09, 2012 at 08:20 PM
@Jenn. There is a nice path all the way around Harrington right near Rock Spring. @all: It used to be money could be had when parcel was developed to sidewalk a stretch. That is happening anymore with the Highlands. Sidewalks around the schools and downtown are something to consider/pursue, but the town will never be interconnected so in reality the idea is limited. Plus you just don't pour concrete you have drainage and easements and crossing signage and land that doesn't belong to you to purchase and engineers and architects and pedestrian safety etc. Downtown would be great, and maybe grants could be had. If you want to see what is going on with downtown, the Downtown Revitalization Committee is active.
Hookerman January 10, 2012 at 01:11 AM
The path around Harrington is nice for a stroll, but if you want to run or bike, use Columbia Trail. It starts at the bottom of Schooley's Moutnain Drive, and runs all the way to High Bridge... about 10 miles.
Brian January 10, 2012 at 03:54 AM
For those who may be civil engineers, or have experience with building, and would like to entertain this idea, let's start off somewhere: I find it crazy that the sidewalk couldn't be continued in front of Flocktown Road School. What would be your rough estimate of what it would cost to install a sidewalk that's to code, with proper drainage etc. from the termination point of a current sidewalk on Flocktown by Quail to the termination point of another on Flocktown by Nestlingwood? The distance is roughly 2,112 feet. (google maps)
La Quin January 11, 2012 at 08:17 PM
okay so i was raised in NY (on Long Island) and it was the responsibility of the homeowner to clean/maintain the sidewalk in front of their house... also to pay for it when it was installed.. is that not the case in NJ? .. if not, i am sorry for all the 'owners' in the valley of whom i have THOUGHT 'what pigs can't they even maintain their sidewalk' ... and humbly apologize and will dutifully wip myself with a wet noodle now. :)
La Quin January 11, 2012 at 08:19 PM
wehrli rd... please.. it's dangerous to walk on it.. again.. isn't it the homeowner who is assessed and pays for the sidewalk? like sewers...

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