Poll: Should Traction Line Trail Be Extended?

The Morris County Park Commission envisions continuing the trail from Ford Mansion to Madison, running between the rail line and the backyards of Madison homes.

A plan by the Morris County Park Commission to extend the Traction Line Recreation Trail, which runs from Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown along a New Jersey Transit line and ends at Danforth Road in Madison at Fairleigh Dickinson University, has detractors and supporters.

The Park Commission envisions continuing the 10-foot wide, paved path to Elm Street, running between the rail line and the backyards of Madison homes.

Opponents, including the entire Madison Borough Council, , while supporters, including the mayor, say expanding a trail that connects Morristown and Madison would be good for the borough.

The entire six-member Borough Council not only unanimously voted against a resolution that would have registered their support for the project so the Park Commission could say the host community supports the project when applying for a grant, it also took an extra step to have a new resolution crafted to oppose the project and unanimously approved that.

The Park Commission said trees and brush would have to be removed and drainage issues would have to be addressed. Opponents said the project would affect homeowners' privacy, and could lead to security problems, and GOP Council candidates Don Links and John Hoover .

Mayor Bob Conley, though, said he supports the project. It's a trail he often uses, and bringing the trail farther into Madison would be a good thing. If he hadn't voiced his support for the project at the meeting, even after most residents and council members blasted the idea, he wouldn't have been able to sleep that night, he said.

John Morris and Chris Kellogg voiced their support for the project at Monday's Council meeting, and others expressed their support in comments on Madison Patch.

I'm very disappointed in the Borough Council's response. As a frequent user of the trail (much of which runs alongside back yards of homes on it's other end!), I was excited to hear of the planned extension.

Yardley said in an email the trail is away from car and truck traffic and delightful in how it changes with the seasons. Wildlife use it, too, and he's encountered several deer on the path, he said. Families, people on their way to and from work and school from the Convent Station rail stop, and numerous people exercising, including walkers, joggers, bikers and in-line skaters, all use the trail, he said.

"The traction line trail is much more than a bike path," he wrote. "In fact, that's a misnomer. If you spend enough time on it, you'll probably find bikers in the minority. It is a multi-town treasure. Ideally, it would connect from Morristown to Chatham."

This is so disappointing! The Traction Line is great, but right now ends just dumping pedestrians and bike riders at Danforth. Having a path like this that would go all the way into Madison from Morristown would be awesome.

. The path would promote public health, he said, and he resents the implication that most or all residents in their neighborhood are opposed to the path.

Others said that, even with the extension, the trail wouldn't take bikers to downtown Madison.

I have to say this is one of the stupidist ideas I've heard in recent history. To think this will bring bikers into downtown Madison makes no sense at all. They will be getting off at Elm street. Even if some do make it into town...what are they going to buy? Gatorade? When's the last time you saw a biker with baskets on a bicycle?

Rían July 12, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Yes. Extend it. I don't know why this hasn't come up before. I don't think the residents along the trail in Morristown or Convent Station have safety concerns.
John S. July 12, 2012 at 08:19 PM
It would be nice if it ran from Chatham (or further) to Morris Plains (or further). It would make commuting by bike through the towns in the middle a lot safer. Park Ave is a death trap for cyclists and Madison & Morristown have a lot of intersections and street side parking that are always dangerous.
Andrew July 13, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Extending is a great idea - every time I ride on the path I ask myself how we can get it to go not only to Madison, but Chatham or Summit (it seems that was the original intent). It is so much easier for a family ride on the line, and yes I have made purchases In Madison as a result of the path. I'm a little surprised at the strong objections - isn't the train already going through there?
Kendra Arnold July 13, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Yes, the path would run right next to the train line. Some concerns seem to be it would be too close to the train line, too close to some resident's houses, would invite crime, and a few comments suggesting bike riders should just ride in the road and quit being so lazy. I am sort of surprised Madison doesn't want this; they have so many colleges that could use this, it would attract a active crowd who want to bike or walk and shop. This summer, NYC is dropping 10,000 bikes into midtown Manhattan for people to use for free and Madison doesn't want a half mile bike path, I really don't get it. You can read Madison Patch comments on their site here: http://madison.patch.com/articles/poll-should-park-commission-extend-traction-line-trail
Sally Beck July 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM
I could understand the resident's safety concerns, but it seems quite simple to research. Have there been many incidents of robbery, vandalism, etc in Morris Township? Considering the 2 towns are very similar and the same people would most likely be using the trail, it is a very fair and accurate comparison. Is Madison afraid of the people in their town using the trail?


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