The Morris County Park Commission just wanted to know which box to check on a planned grant application.
Hoping to install a paved bike path along backyards and a railroad line in Madison to extend the Traction Line Recreation Trail to Elm Street, the commission was looking to answer on a state grant application whether the host community supports the project—Yes or No.
The answer given at Monday's Borough Council meeting was a resounding "No."
"I think the message is loud and clear," Council President Jeannie Tsukamoto said.
The proposal to install a paved, 10-foot-wide, six-tenths-of-a-mile long bike path upset residents who cited concerns about the environment, privacy, security. More than a dozen residents attended the meeting to protest the plan and some of them said they value their privacy and would move if the bike path was built.
Arthur J. Vitale, assistant director of engineering services for the Morris County Park Commission, said it would involve cutting down trees and shrubs, and would affect drainage in the area.
Residents also expressed concern with what they said was a lack of communication about the project. They said they only knew to attend the meeting from neighbors.
Council members unanimously defeated a resolution supporting the grant and then went the extra step of unanimously approving a resolution opposing the plan, with the intention of sending it to county and state officials.
Vitale said engineering and construction for the project is expected to cost more than $500,000. He said it would be up to the Park Commission to decide what it will do in light of Madison's response.
The plan wasn't entirely without Madison supporters. Mayor Bob Conley, John Morris and Chris Kellogg said they supported the project. It would connect Madison and Morristown, and could bring more bicyclists to Madison's downtown, they said.