FAQ on the Lawrence Hopewell Trail
January 24, 2011
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is on the move and over 60% complete and accessible now. Our goal is to have the main trail loop linking Lawrence and Hopewell Townships completed by 2012, our 10th anniversary. The trail offers safe, off-road access for kids, families, bicyclists, joggers, hikers and commuters who want to enjoy the great outdoors. The family-oriented trail belongs to all of us and is designed to promote recreation, healthier lifestyles, better mobility and commuting, and a cleaner environment. Hundreds of your neighbors support the trail and we hope you will too. The trail is a community asset; we want you and your family to use and enjoy it!
COMMON QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR THE LHT.
Who is the LHT?
The LHT is made up of your neighbors, community leaders and two major area employers. It started in 2001 when a group of community leaders met at Bristol-Myers Squibb to address concerns about diminishing opportunities for safe, off-road biking and walking. State, county and local government representatives and several private organizations including ETS, joined the group, and an independent nonprofit organization was formed to investigate the possibility of constructing a biking and walking trail. This unique collaboration of government, business, the non-profit sector, and residents developed a strategic plan to construct and maintain the LHT.
What are the main features of the trail?
- Safe, family-friendly, and handicapped accessible.
- A connection to local businesses, communities and neighborhoods that were previously isolated by heavily trafficked roads.
- Access to taxpayer funded open space that was previously inaccessible.
- A much-needed passive, health and recreation opportunity for children, families, walkers, cyclists, commuters and naturalists.
- A community amenity that will benefit the entire region for decades to come.
- A linchpin for other existing area trails, such as the D & R Canal, the East Coast Greenway as well as shorter local paths, links and connectors.
- A safe, off-road connection to schools and playing fields for children, students and parents.
Where does the trail go?
It’s one big loop of approximately 22 miles that ties much of Lawrence and Hopewell townships together. The trail also allows users a pathway to connect to other more extensive trail networks, such as the D&R Canal towpath, that run throughout Mercer County and beyond. Our trail map gives you a good idea of the general route.
Is the trail finished yet?
No, but over half of it is now open and walkable and rideable. Below is a list of trail segments that you can use now. They are often beautiful scenic areas through parks and preserved areas. Our goal is to have the main trail loop complete by 2012.
Which parts are open?
- Brearley House Connector
- Brandywine – office complex on Princeton Pike anda connection to the D&R Towpath
- Lewisville Road – to Lawrenceville School – on road at present
- The Lawrenceville School – through campus to Re 206 crossing
- Craven Lane, Lawrenceville
- Lawrence Village Park – Paved trail from Yeger Drive to the corner of Gordon Lane and Main Street (Route 206).
- Keefe Road Segment – Paved segment links Village Park with the County’s Northwest and Rosedale Parks.
- Educational Testing Service – Paved trail through the park-like campus off of Rosedale Road.
- Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed, Wargo Road
- Pennington-Rocky Hill Road, Rosedale, Mercer Park NW – Hopewell – Paved trail on the Bristol-Myers Squibb campus runs between Old Mill Road & Titus Mill Road. Then Old Mill Road leads to Rosedale Park, which connects to Mercer Park Northwest. This section is not paved but is mowed and signed and easily walkable and bikeable. There are many existing roads through the park that are accessible now and Mercer County expects to finish work on the park and trails by the end of this year.
Who can use the trail?
Everybody. It is free to use. The LHT is a nonprofit, community-based organization charged with overseeing the development of the trail, and it is open to all bicyclists, skateboarders, joggers and other pedestrians.
Why should I support the trail?
In a community of older, narrow or heavily trafficked roads, it is a badly needed community asset. Three main reasons are below.
RECREATION and OPEN SPACE ACCESS The Trail will provide an opportunity for recreation, health and fitness as well as access to preserved Open Space lands that we have a all paid to protect but have previously been inaccessible.
LINKS TO NEIGHBORHOODS FOR KIDS AND PARENTS- Neighborhoods are cut off by busy or narrow roads that are unsafe for children and parents to bike or walk. The LHT will not only provide recreation opportunities, it also offers a safe, off-road way to travel or commute. Along the route are major area employers, Princeton Pike/Brandywine office complex and the D&R Canal towpath, which can take you to Market Fair or Quaker Bridge Mall, all without going on Route 1.
LINKS TO COMMUNITIES FEATURES AND EMPLOYERS — Also planned are links with Hopewell Borough, Pennington Borough and Twin Pines Recreation fields.
In addition, trails are also known to raise property values since they are considered a desirable public amenity and can reduce traffic congestion. We know from other communities that have built similar trails that they contribute to an increase in property values.
Are motorcycles, golf carts or horses allowed on the trail?
No. Except for emergency vehicles, the off-road parts of the trail are not designed to safely accommodate motorized traffic. But it is handicapped accessible.
What about pets?
Absolutely! All we ask is that you respect others and keep your animal leashed and curbed. Please clean up any waste.
It seems it is taking a long time to build the trail. Why is that so?
The trail will run more than 22 miles, which is a lot of ground to cover, so it really hasn’t taken long when you consider that the trail goes through property owned by the state, Mercer County, Hopewell and Lawrence Townships, and private property. Much is already done and we are aiming to cover a lot more ground this year. We also want to make sure we have the best route possible and that we are working cooperatively with those who are neighbors to the trail. We also make every effort to minimize the impact of the trail on the plants and animals that live near it. We want to move quickly but we also want it done right.
Who actually pays to build the trail?
We are fortunate that two local companies in our area, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Educational Testing Service (ETS), have generously donated time and money to the project. Financial support also comes from Mercer County and Lawrence and Hopewell Townships. Grant moneys have been secured from the State of New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection and Transportation. Many of your neighbors have made personal, tax-deductable financial contributions to help the trail. There are also other trail partners who donate services and staff resources such as: D&R Greenway Land Trust, Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville Main Street, St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center and the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.
The request before the Hopewell Township Committee is to use the funding available through the Open Space Levy to finance construction of three sections of trail for which no other funding is available. This request will not directly impact your tax bill as it amount to approximately $40,000 per year for about 20 years according to our estimates. The Open Space Levy that was passed two years ago specifically included language to help with trail design and construction.
How much will it cost to finish the trail?
Depending on environmental requirements and the final routing, it could cost anywhere between $7 million to $/9 million, which is not out of the ordinary for a trail of this length. We are continuously seeking financial help and welcome any size contribution.
How can I support the trail?
- Promote LHT – Talk us up with family and friends
- Plan LHT – Contact us with ideas
- Support LHT – Donate money or services
- Advocate LHT – Tell elected officials you support LHT
- Enjoy LHT – Use the Trail and encourage others to do so
How do I contact the trail?