They have it backwards

Dear Editor:

Imagine you wake up one day to find that Weehawken Mayor Richard F. Turner and his Planning Board have decided to reduce Boulevard East to one lane going south from Pershing Road. They’ve also banned parking along both sides of the road, eliminating over 100 spaces. And they’ve shrunk the 10-to20-foot wide sidewalks to just 4 feet.

You had planned to take your family up for a stroll along the Palisades promenade to take in the magnificent views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, but now it just seems too difficult.

In this imagined world you live in old Weehawken at the river’s edge. You can no longer drive up and park along the Boulevard, because the town only allowed a 10-space lot that is always full. They erased all of the side streets as well, including Liberty, Eldorado, Hudson, Duer and others, so you can’t park there either.

The Mayor rejected NJ Transit’s suggestion to build an elevator or other mechanical vertical access for pedestrians to scale the dozen-story Palisades. The grandparents can’t manage the climb as a result, nor can you possibly carry the kids, strollers, etc., up the endless stairs. Besides, it no longer seem safe, as cars zip by the narrow sidewalk within a few feet of your children. Gone are the cross roads, car doors and on-coming vehicles that used to slow the traffic.

Guess what? If you simply reverse this imaginary scenario, it is all true. That’s exactly what Mayor Turner and his Planning Board approved in December and memorialized in January for the proposed road along Weehawken’s future waterfront walkway park.

The developer Roseland Properties, Mayor Turner, his Planning Board and patrons all think it is appropriate for the new waterfront road to have no on-street parking, a four-foot sidewalk, several blocks without cross streets and a dangerous, narrow, one-way lane that only allows south-bound vehicles, compounding traffic problems during the primarily northern-bound evening rush. These and even larger problems are repeated throughout the massive proposal to build millions of square feet of new homes and businesses across the currently undeveloped 100 acres of Weehawken waterfront.

I think not.

Friends of the Weehawken waterfront (FWW), and the hundreds of Weehawken families that support it will fight such inadequate plans with all necessary resources for as long as it takes to get responsible development on our waterfront.

The new waterfront road doesn’t have to be another Boulevard East, but it at least has to have the characteristics of a public street, like all the rest of the streets in this town. Until the Mayor and developer agree to a waterfront community that is in keeping with the rest of Weehawken, that does not block our cherished views or cause a traffic and parking nightmare, FWW will continue its dedicated volunteer effort to preserve the public’s interest.

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to FWW, P.O. Box 5167, Weehawken, NJ 07087. Call 201-223-1378 to get involved.

Benjamin A. Goldman, Ph.D.


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