Regarding the Oct. 13 story, "Parkway plan irks environmentalists":
At the Oct. 4 public hearing on plans to replace traffic lights on the Garden State Parkway, Bob Considine of the Department of Environmental Protection said the meeting "had nothing to do with CAFRA or the DEP," although he also said the DEP's Division of Parks & Forestry administers the law. In that same meeting, Donald Chappa of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority first informed the public that "pavement and fill put in wetlands for the temporary roads would be removed later." This is not a reforestation issue. It should be a Coastal Area Facility Review Act issue involving wetlands.
Was information about the filling of wetlands smuggled in along with reforestation to evade CAFRA environmental safeguards and to misdirect public comment to the Turnpike Authority? Or have people at these agencies succeeded in confusing themselves as much as they have confused the public?
Twenty-six acres of mature woodland ecosystem is to be demolished, which is more than the public heard about prior to Oct. 4. The need for environmental, ecological and general biological assessment will not be addressed unless there is input to DEP calling for it, and how can an uninformed public be expected to provide relevant input? Other options to the temporary bypass lane surely exist, but how are options to be weighed without equal consideration being given to biological as well as engineering and tourist-economy issues? For example, the mitigation of possible wildlife loss isn't given even lip service.
Documents released to the public in 2011 related only to permanent losses and their mitigations, not to destruction and reconstruction related to subsequently hatched plans for temporary full-speed bypass lanes.
There's a saying, "Why is there never time to do it right, but always time to do it over?" Once ecosystems are destroyed, especially on sensitive wetland-upland interfaces such as those upon which the parkway in Cape May County is perched, "do it over" doesn't work.
At least do the studies right.
Cape May Court House