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Freeholders Approve Funding For Rail Trail's Next Phase

Lacey portion of Barnegat Branch Trail set to go to design stage now

Funding to design the next phase of the Barnegat Branch Trail, which runs through Lacey, Barnegat and other area towns, has been approved by the Ocean County Board of Freeholders.

The funding ordinance, for $600,000, draws on funding the county has budgeted for this year, Freeholder John Bartlett said.

That piece, Phase V, covers 2.4 miles from Oyster Creek to Lacey Road. It is expected to be the most complex part of the trail because of multiple road crossings needed and because of the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station.

The trail, expected to be 15.6 miles long and run from South Toms River to Barnegat when all of the phases are completed, has been finished in some areas -- from Waretown to the trail's southern end in Barnegat, and a stretch in Berkeley Township -- but Lacey is the most difficult stretch of the trail, in part because of the battle the rail trail north of Lacey Road.

Some groups have been pushing to turn that section of the trail into a bypass road to ease traffic congestion on Route 9, while others insist it should be used only for the Barnegat Branch Trail. The township has asked the Department of Environmental Protection for a permit to build a road there, state officials have said.

During public comment on the ordinance, just one person spoke, saying he felt safety issues were being ignored, particularly in terms of human predators and animal ones.

"There have been cougar sightings in Manalapan," said Ray Kalanikas, a former Toms River resident and longtime government critic.

Freeholder James Lacey, who has spearheaded the trail effort from its start, said those using the trail are plenty safe, noting that much of the trail passes homes and businesses where someone can get help in an emergency if they don't happen to be carrying a cell phone.

"There are people's homes that are very close to it, and they watch it," Lacey said, adding those designing the trails have spent a great deal of time working on the design and researching other pedestrian and bicycle paths to decide the best options. 

"These trails are very popular and are getting a lot of use, and that use is increasing as the trail gets longer," Lacey said.

The county expects to reveal specifics on the design of Phase V at next week's pre-board meeting, officials said.

proud July 19, 2012 at 11:05 PM
I would disagree with the freeloader that says the most complex part of the trail is the area mentioned. The most complex AND expensive challenges are how to safely cross Lacey Road and what course of action will be taken at the silos near Hickory Lane in Bayville ( we're talking MILLION$). Of course, the Freeloaders already know that. Bring on the light rail and stop wasting and raising tax dollars Mr. Freeloader? As for the threat of cougars, no need to worry, Donna's got your back.
Mary B July 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Anyone are we getting the bypass road? I hope with the way things are we will not be burdened with more taxes for us(lacey township) to ruin the linear park. That would be a double loser...hope the committee realizes that taxpayers are fed up.
proud July 20, 2012 at 12:17 AM
News flash for Mary B. as a taxpayer, you are being burdened for between 14 and 24 million dollars for a bike path. As a taxpayer, I am fed up with that.
Mary B July 20, 2012 at 09:48 AM
Is that county wide burden or just Lacey? No need to get snappy I was asking a simple question after all I thought this should be friendly forum to ask such things. After all I too am a fed up taxpayer.
Resident of Lacey July 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM
I enjoy bike riding but would much rather see a ROAD to ease the traffic burden when crossing the town. I guess I'll be riding my bike more if I want to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. I guess the enviros will be pleased my carbon emissions will be lower and my doc will be happy see me getting a workout.
Lacey Resident July 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I think this is fantastic, and a great addition to the community! I enjoy the Barnegat section now, and it will be nice to see the Lacey portion completed.
proud July 20, 2012 at 02:39 PM
As you should be Mary B . The project is largely funded by state and federal grants as well as by the county. The long and the short is ithat it is entirely taxpayer funded. What is troubling is that none of these government entities can afford not needed projects such as this what with things as they are.
Donna July 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Gee Proud now you are just throwing out numbers without any facts at all..and you had the nerve to try and call me on that. At least I have spent the money and did the research...thought you were better than that. Now I know what you are all about.
proud July 20, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Donna, I am not just throwing out numbers as I have replied to you on the most recent related patch. I have done much research on this subject. Some with you as my guide. Other than tax dollars, I haven't spent anything on this aged dispute, but I don't have a vested interest as you do. I don't think you know what I'm about at all and am indifferent as to your thinking that I'm better or worse than anything. The reality Donna is that though may disagree with me, I adamantly believe that expending any money on the railroad right of way ( be it for road or trail) is foolish given current economic conditions. You take care as well.
Larry July 21, 2012 at 08:02 AM
AGREED....current economic conditions do not allow for any more burdens on the taxpayer.....
antonio movado July 21, 2012 at 06:12 PM
i love these pro road people whining about taxes. gov crisco is letting his developer buddies build strip malls and housing complexes without any kind of sewer system in place first here on the jersey coastline. our great gov will not only have us swimming in sewage but when the new water treatment plants that will be needed are built it will cost nj taxpayers billion. now you can go back to trying to pour asphalt over a 2 mile stretch of trail because to tim o connor i mean "proud' we havent wasted enough millions on t&m engineering and the nepotism of the current republican committee and parker cronyism. every other town loves this trail but even though most of the day lacey road is not a busy road there will always be the whiners in this town who will never be happy.
proud July 21, 2012 at 06:41 PM
What eloquent and informed commentary.
Eric Thomas July 21, 2012 at 07:08 PM
This is absurd. In today's economic times this money could and should have been put to better use.
proud July 21, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Well said Eric.
grace July 21, 2012 at 11:50 PM
governor crisco thats funny... really !! but i also want a road and cannot figure out why we cant have both running adjacent to each other
proud July 25, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Why, with unprecedented foreclosure rates and mass unemployment,is Ocean County allocating tens of millions of dollars to yet another park? The freeloaders should explain that to a family without jobs and about to lose their home, when they try to justify the recent tax hike.
Andrew P September 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM
Can't wait! This is something that will benefit the whole community for years to come.

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