SUMMIT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There’s a grand design to turn rail to trail along the abandoned Rahway Valley railroad. But some residents in the New Jersey community say the pedestrian trail will create a major privacy concern.
Larry Costigan and his wife say eight years of peaceful living on Henry Street in Summit is in danger of being turned upside down.
“We would probably need to move,” he told CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez.
That’s because he’s opposed to a pedestrian trail called the Summit Park Line, proposed to run along the abandoned Rahway Valley railroad line right behind his home.
“It’s an elevated path that’s sightline looks directly into our bedrooms, our bathrooms. We have children on this block. You can peer right into our back yard,” Costigan said.
“We’re trying to connect neighborhoods that are maybe not so advantaged, and also neighbors,” said Dr. Robert Rubino.
Rubino, a former city council president and now president of the Summit Park Line Foundation says phase one of the privately funding trail is already a huge success, beautifying and unifying the community.
“It’s basically been a great collaboration of all the citizens volunteering their time money and effort to where we’ve gotten a lot of progress without a lot of expense,” Rubino said.
But Costigan and his neighbors say Summit’s version of Manhattan’s High Line is being built at their expense. In protests, they’ve posted yard signs and started a petition on Facebook to stop Summit council members from approving the 1.2 mile trail.
“I have anxiety because now I can’t be sitting in my backyard having my regular coffee or just being relaxed with my dog because I feel like somebody’s just going to be in the backyard looking inside my house,” said Summit resident Ingrid Arosemena.
Rubino says he’s talked to residents about building a fence along the trail.
“A wall’s not going to get it done. People, if they want to peer into your homes, they can look over a six foot wall.”
Residents say they also have environmental concerns and are worried about parking issues.
They’re waiting on the Summit city council to schedule its next public hearing so their voices can be heard.
The Summit Park Line Foundation has raised more than $400,000 in private funding to build the pedestrian trail. The city will pay for its maintenance, since Summit owns the land.