Union county claims to work with cyclists for trail access, then reposts "no bike" signs
8-14-16: When the no bike signs came down in Winter of 2015, it was a relief. The extralegal "ban" on mt biking in Watchung Reservation, enacted in a backroom deal by unelected gov't employees in 1995, seemed over.
Shortly, riders began riding there more frequently -- including yours truly.
I rode there just last week.
Then, today, driving on the road thru the Res I see new "no bike" signs.
It was a surprise, to say the least, but also does not reflect well on the county government. At the February meeting with riders, JORBA, and consultant CME Associates, riders were assured Union county intended to open the park to mountainbiking. There was precious little communication since; but after my Dec. 2015 OPRA request about the ban, the signs did come down.
Why are they back? Was the county lying all along? Or is this some last ditch stalling attempt to keep riders out even while a new trail plan including cycling is drawn up? What happened to the 43,000 dollars paid to CME for said trail plan? Why was it never presented, the vote mysteriously cancelled? Why is the county, which promised to work with riders and in particular the Jersey Offroad Bicycling Association, not returning communications?
Under what "law" are these signs posted? The signs quote at the bottom a county ordinance, part of the public safety code regulating bicycle riding on roads and sidewalks. This never had anything to do with mountainbiking or offroad trails, which is why it took an OPRA request in the beginning to find out if and why mt. biking was "banned" -- there is no law or ordinance on the books because as the gov't admitted in its OPRA response, "The freeholders did not act to exclude mountain biking". So what is going on?
Hopefully citizens will protest this. I encourage all local riders to write the freeholders and demand fair park access and that the county cease trying to pretend an ordinance that says one thing means another. I have filed another OPRA request – we’ll see what happens.