In June, we reported on the amazing trail network in Lower Salford Township, Montgomery County.
On Tuesday, we had the opportunity to get a tour of the emerging trail and open space network in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County. We continue to be impressed at efforts to bring better transportation options being undertaken in our far out suburbs.
For those that may not be familiar, Woolwich (see map below) is located at Exit 2 on the New Jersey Turnpike, and forms an irregular donut shape around Swedesboro. Woolwich is under immense development pressure: It is projected to see a population growth of 126 percent by 2040, making it the fastest growing municipality in the DVRPC region, according to the Township’s Director of Community Development, Matt Blake.
Township officials decided to take measurable steps to make sure that this growth won’t ruin the quality of life that Woolwich is known for, notably in its creation of protected open spaces, and a series of multi-use trails that will connect them to the community.
The Township also has plans to add significant acreage to its protected open spaces. Parcels in dark green (map below) will be protected via a development tool known as transfer of development rights (TDR). This tool allows private landowners to sell the development rights for their properties to landowners or developers in other areas of the municipality where higher density is desired.
In this case, the parcels are slated to be protected by adding denser commercial and residential development in the area outlined in red (top right of map), which is along the Rt 322 corridor and the New Jersey Turnpike.
Thus, considerable open space is preserved, and denser, more walkable communities are created at the same time. It’s a win-win.