ROXBURY, NJ – A paved path being proposed in Roxbury would connect the West Morris Greenway near Horseshoe Lake Park with Ledgewood Park near Mountain Road and Canal Street in Ledgewood.
Preliminary plans for the proposed “Righter Road Greenway Trail” were presented Wednesday to the Roxbury Mayor and Council by Roxbury Open Space Advisory Committee Chairman Andrew Tybus. He was joined by Bob Canace of Conservation Advising Services, a paid advisor to the township.
“(The) Open Space (Committee) looks at properties, looks at trying to create connections between schools, parks, recreation facilities and business,” Tybus said. “And this seems to be the perfect example of how to do it.”
The walking and bicycling path would follow Righter Road for much of its route of about 2.8 miles, passing close to Roxbury High School, Succasunna Field, Roxbury Mall, the forthcoming Shops at Ledgewood Commons, the Woods Edge development, Lakeside Village, Renaissance Village, the Drakesville Historic District and Morris Canal Park.
Tybus said the pathway would be a “perfect backbone” linking two undeveloped “greenway” areas while passing near shopping centers, medical offices, restaurants, theaters, housing, and schools. “It’s got everything,” he said.
Curved, Narrow and Dangerous
Currently, he noted, there is no safe way for pedestrians or bicyclists to travel along the route between Hillside Avenue and Mary Louise Ave. Much of Righter Road is too narrow and curved to be safe.
“The main reason we come before you today is just to plant the seeds in your minds,” Tybus told the council. He noted that some property acquisition might be necessary, adding that one of the landowners “is interested in selling it because it really doesn’t have commercial prospects.”
There are some wetlands involved, but Canace said these could be handled with wooden platforms or bridges.
“We don’t have a complete plan,” Tybus stressed. “We’re going to have to work out all the details. But we wanted to at least put this in front of you to see if it’s agreeable to you and then start to work together to make this a reality.”
“I’m high on the concept,” Roxbury Councilman Jim Rilee said. “We’ve talked about it for years actually … I think part of it’s going to have to be going onto properties, like the malls.”
Tybus said the open space committee believes the project “lends itself” to many types of county, state or federal grants because it’s not just about preserving open space, it’s also about providing safe access to schools and other public facilities.
“It’s a great plan,” said Roxbury Councilman Fred Hall. “I ride my bike through there all the time and you kind of pause going around that turn on Mary Louise.”
Roxbury Mayor Mark Crowley said it would be “terrific to start to tie all these things together, the schools, Horseshoe Lake, the malls and then over to Nalron (Field) ... because there’s no way right now to go do that. A child can’t take their bike and go to a field to play ball.”