Ongoing petition for walkway to town


Declan O'Dea

The site for the new walkway from BHS to town center

Ben Costales, Staff Writer

The seniors at Bernards High School have been walking through the neighboring TD Bank’s driveway and parking lot as a shortcut to get to town after school. Due to the bank’s legal concerns about student injuries and legal liabilities on their property, they put up a gate preventing students from going down the driveway to the Bernardsville Center. The owners of the Library also prefer that the seniors do not walk down their parking lot to get to the Bernardsville Center either.   


BHS student Rowan Eckel ‘26 said, “I’ve seen students jump the fence before, I feel that what they’re doing is wrong, but there should be an alternative route to town.” When the fence was first put up, it actually worked and prevented students from passing through, but now the students have found a way to continue using the bank lot by scaling the fence.  


Now, with the help of the students and the townspeople, there is a petition for a new sidewalk that will provide a safer and shorter way for students to get from the school to town. This project is being headed by Declan O’Dea ‘23. As of right now, he has made much headway in the project and is working closely with the town and all parties to be able to complete this project.    


O’Dea has created a powerpoint presentation that displays the new route to town as well as a 3D drawing of what he wants the new sidewalk to look like. In the powerpoint, he describes the trials and errors of his idea of a new sidewalk being added and has provided two proposals of what he wants the sidewalk to look like in the end. In the presentation, O’Dea states, “My main goal is to build a convenient and safe way for students to walk from the high school to downtown and the Bernardsville Centre.” O’Dea has put a lot of effort into making this sidewalk happen to benefit the students, and his dedication to the project is shown by the progression of the sidewalk being designed and buit.


Although the final cost of this project is unknown right now, O’Dea shared that the Board of Education has been saving money to provide a solution and is looking forward to helping with the problem. With the combined funds from the Board of Education, O’Dea, and the other Bernardsville Residents, the total cost should not be an issue.


Although the project is still in the making, many of the Bernardsville residents are trying their hardest to get the new sidewalk done as soon as possible. Declan shares, “we need the cooperation of [the] Bernardsville Centre Management. The support of the students and their families is critical to helping me gain enough support from the community.” Together, the school and the Bernardsville residents involved in this project can convince the Center to work with us, so we can get this project done as quickly as we can.  


Currently, there is no fundraiser for this project, but O’Dea has a petition for the sidewalk that students may fill out.