Residents often welcome plans for new bike paths and scenic vistas along riverfronts. But due to increased traffic residents of Neptune, many living in the Shark River Hills section along the river, are concerned about the dangers to pedestrians and the risk to the ecology.
In January, Neptune announced plans to build a bike path along South Riverside Drive adjacent to the Shark River and put vistas, which are boardwalk-like extensions out into the river. The vista would be near the area of the Cracker Barrel just over the East End Avenue bridge. Funding for the project would come from a Department of Transportation grant to increase biking and other alternate modes of transportation.
Township Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta said that the plans had recently been revised and submitted to residents of the Shark River Hills neighborhood for feedback. Judging by recent comments they have concerns.
Residents say that a bike path might make things more dangerous for both bikers and pedestrians. And with a changing neighborhood and recent tragedy there, where a child was struck and killed by a vehicle, they aren’t sure it’s a good idea to encourage more cyclists in a dangerous roadway.
Residents say that a bike path might make things more dangerous for both bikers and pedestrians. And with a changing neighborhood they aren’t sure it’s a good idea to encourage more cyclists in a dangerous roadway.
Resident Kira Lang said she’s interested in improving the neighborhood.
“But I have high concerns about the traffic,” she said.
Lang often takes kayaks down to the river, and says that she needs to put up traffic cones for safety as cars have trouble noticing her on the twisty road. She also said she sees cars swerving into the other lane to avoid pedestrians. Adding a bike lane will narrow the space for cars, causing more problems for pedestrians on the other side of the street. Or the bikers will have to deal with pedestrians and dog walkers in their own lane.
Resident Cindy Nelson worried about the vista, and the potential environmental impact of the building material.
“Let’s not violate and destroy a very fragile ecosystem,” she said. Nelson also thought that with a vista, you’d get more pollution, as people come for the view or to fish and leave behind their bottles, bags that held bait, and other debris.
In addition, there are already places to view the river from, she said, including a “multi-million dollar marina” that is underutilized.
Other residents were worried about if such a vista would survive a flood surge like Superstorm Sandy in 2012. That storm left major debris in the river and flooded streets and homes in the area.
Residents also said that the neighborhood had changed in the last few years, with more families moving in. They worried about children’s safety, both by the water and on the road.
Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley said that the dais was listening and taking note of residents’ concerns.