Neighbors dispute over student walkway

March 28, 2008 3:43:12 PM PDT
At the center of a neighbor dispute are home owners in the Grande at Kings Woods subdivision, school children who walk through their property and the sidewalk that's supposed to be the students' new route to school. One group of residents is upset that their children must walk to West Deptford Middle School along Grove Road, a busy thoroughfare close to 295.

There used to be an easement that allowed children to walk between the neighborhood homes right to the school, but it was closed off last fall and homeowner Terence Naphys was glad to see it

"A motorcycle almost hit my daughter and her friends when they were outside playing," Naphys said.

"A few mornings when it was raining they would be dropping their children off at the easement and we couldn't get out of our driveways, so to me it looked like an easement of convenience," Darlene Capasso said.

Other neighbors with school aged children say closing the easement has created a dangerous situation.

"It was put here, originally, for this purpose, to get the kids to school safely, and then they dug it up, and now they want them to walk on a major road," Kelly Ann Fisher said.

"Sending my kids to walk on a road that's 50 miles an hour is just intolerable," Beth Tachdjian said.

The township closed the easement last fall for safety reasons saying it was a narrow cattle shoot with high fences, it was not handicap accessible, and it was used at all hours. A petition to reopen it, though, is being circulated and the issue appears headed for court

There are plans to lower the speed limit on the road to 45 mph and 30 mph through the school zone along with yellow flashers, but right now the town is still waiting for the green light from the county and state.