On Friday, the first sunny and warm day of an otherwise damp and foggy week, I took a long walk into what I still refer to as Greystone but is officially known as the Central Park of Morris County.
As I came up the hill toward Central Ave., I was saddened by what I saw.
Patch readers learned in this recent article that Morris County had taken down all the trees on the north side of Central between Evans Rd. and the old, abandoned administration building for the building of athletic fields.
Now, walking along the street, I could see nothing but dirt leveled into terraces. Lord knows how many fields will be fit into this space. In the trees still standing along Central Ave., a flock of bluebirds were hawking insects in the heat. Once in a while one landed on the dirt but quickly flew back to the tree. I used to see these bluebirds flying all over this area when there were trees and grass. Nothing to eat in the dirt.
There is only one good thing about seeing this moonscape: knowing I don’t live along Central Ave.
In this article, Patch readers learned Morris Plains closed off the dogleg of Glenbrook Road between Watnong/Styles and Central Ave. Too many of the people on this street were complaining about the traffic.
Traffic? Why yes, because the people going to those athletic fields the county has already put in were using this curved part of Glenbrook as a shortcut rather than driving a block south to Central Ave. and heading up the road.
So here we have the law of unintended consequences coming into play again.
The county felt the need to put in a cross-country track, a volleyball court, a rink and, soon, an “All Children’s Playground” and - gasp - that drew people. People means traffic. Traffic means concerned neighbors.
It’s similar to what happened when Parsippany approved the building of houses and townhouses farther up Old Dover Rd. When people leave that development they can go one way to get to Route 10, or they can come the other way, down Old Dover to where it becomes Grannis Ave. in Morris Plains and then into our little downtown, further increasing the traffic.
I know from experience you can wait a very long time in the morning for the traffic to ease on Grannis to cross the street to where there’s a sidewalk.
So here we have the county cutting down yet more trees for yet more fields that will draw yet more people and their cars and create yet more traffic.
Do county officials think about the traffic? They say they do but I am not so sure.
The thinking of Morris Plains traffic officials is Central Ave. was built to be a major thoroughfare. That will come as news to those who live on Central Ave., a straight run that is not much wider than the Glenbrook Rd. dogleg, who have had to put up with the traffic of people going to and from the old Greystone mental hospital when it was just up the road.
As far as I can tell, this part of Central Ave. is just as populated as Glenbrook until you get past Sunset Rd., the last street in Morris Plains.
So now part of Glenbrook - a two-way, mapped street - is closed off to become a one-way street. (And, by the way, no one has said whether residents have complained about people LEAVING the park and using their street to go through the part NOT blocked off.) Morris Plains is wondering whether use the blockade only on “game days.”
Whether that blockade is made permanent or temporary will make no difference.
When those new fields are built, the barricade will do nothing to block the noise wafting over from the competitions that will take place, or the light that will be needed for night games. And unless the county is prepared to send police patrols through on a regular basis, the Glenbrook Rd. barricade won’t stop any of the kids or adults who will use the facilities to hang out (as they may already doing at the dog park on Collins Rd., if the yelling I hear from that area long after dark is any indication).
By the way, I am still waiting for hiking trails to be put in, as promised. About the only good hiking now is on the part of Greystone that is still state land, and that is only because New Jersey's inaction allowed the birds I seek to stay in the remaining trees along the old, still-paved hospital roads.
Of course, it is the state land that has the “no trespassing” signs. I do hope the birds don’t get into trouble for being there.