Reader Submitted: What happened to ‘safety first’?

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where exactly are neighbors supposed to walk?

As a kid, we knew ‘safety first’ – as adults some people forget it. How does that happen? Or should I ask, Why does it happen?

I live near the now-famous disastrous development & shopping center that is missing a sidewalk all along Route 9.

no sidewalk 🙁

What makes matters worse, is Evergreen is also missing a sidewalk on their back road.

They force their workers to park along that back road (Parkview), and therefore, neighbors who want to walk to the “nearby” shopping center don’t even have the option to walk on the shoulder of the road!


No sidewalks on either side of Parkview, and the road is full of cars belonging to the shopping center’s employees.
This is the view from the street into the linear park. The path is missing a depressed curb.

And the worst is yet to come become Sanz Kloisenberg hasn’t even officially moved in yet.

Let me tell you more about this lovely Oak & Vine.

The township requires developers to “set aside 5% of land for active open space” when they get a site plan approval for 25 or more units. The planning board typically translates this “active open space” to mean a shul and a park.

Long story short, since technically there were 50-60 different property owners (or at least, 50-60 different LLC’s), each approval was only for a Max of 20 units at a time, therefore they were officially exempt from building parks.

However, they did need to pave 2 more streets that run north – South inside the development (Nassau Street and Pinehurst). They didn’t want to pave those Streets so they made a deal with the township Committee that the Committee will vacate the roads so they don’t need to pave them, and they will build “linear parks” for public use along those roads.

One of those roads now has the “linear parks” built.

They are worthless bike paths/sidewalks and park benches with not one single swing or slide. Additionally, many of the curbs in front of the parks are not depressed, making it difficult for bikers to properly enjoy the paths.

During Lakewood’s Master Plan process, the Parks & Open Space Committee recommended that the township “consider forming a Recreation Commission to help oversee parks & open space”.

The township committe has not acted on this recommendation.

Technically, even such a commission would be powerless to force developers to put in a park since the ordinance only requires a park for 25+ units.

I hope and request of our township committe to amend the ordinance to increase the active open space requirement to approvals of 15 or more units, and also to increase the current 5% to a little higher so that new development shuls and playgrounds could be a little bigger.

Yitzchak. L.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of GreaterLakewood.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Why am I not surprised? This is a symptom of dysfunctional local leadership. May the powers to be either fix this or resign.
    I no longer vote in local elections, it makes no difference.

  2. Broadway Road runs from Route 9 to Vine by Evergreen.

    It is a new road that could alleviate the traffic on Oak. Unfortunately, it was built as a narrow road…

    Even worse, there are no sidewalks! Hundreds of families who walk from the Oak and Vine area to Route 9 are forced to walk in the street with strollers etc since the Township didn’t require sidewalks.

    Shame on Lakewood for allowing this!

  3. You are so right. I, too, am burning mad about this issue. The people who approve this stuff have BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS.
    And they could give a rat’s —- what you or any citizens have to say about it.
    It’s time for some old school demonstrations like we used to make in Brooklyn in the 70’s. Have 10,000 people chanting in front of the municipal building one afternoon until the mayor comes out and addresses the crowd.

  4. 1- evergreen developer “MIZ”, was supposed to install a traffic light.
    never happened
    2- the entire developments are doing kind of shtik, courtesy of the “management Co” of all of them. His office is in Town hall, you voted him in.

  5. I don’t get it, why do you have to buy a house there?
    Developers wont build what people wont buy. If you bought first and looked later I do feel bad for you. Thank you for warning the rest of us.

  6. The township told me that the Oak st. Core was hammered out between the township and the owners so that evryone will be happy. Who was for the township?

  7. Oak street core was set aside many years ago, as per our FEDERAL government mandate, for AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
    I’m pretty sure the Feds will be here in Lakewood one of these years and want some answers as t to why it was sold to private schools and private developers.

    • they are meeting the requirements of “affordable housing” I got a lot of issues with the Township Committtee, (including the one cited in this article), but affordable housing is not one of them.

  8. If you lower the requirement to 15, they’ll just do 10 a piece. The people that know how to get around this stuff, keep up with knowing how to get around it even when the rules change.

    • It wouldn’t have been an issue if the Township Committee hadn’t changed the zoning in that area in 2013. That land was originally zoned R12, which is single unit homes only, on good sized lots. In 2013 the zoning was changed to increase density and allow for duplexes+.

      To claim that the township committee couldn’t do anything about the situation because it was multiple owners is disingenuous at best. they intentionally down-zoned the area to allow for the monstrosity that is Oak and Vine. There were also variances in the shopping center to allow for less parking. there is another strip of shops going up with virtually no parking.

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