Burlington County officials want to know the public’s views on revitalizing the Route 130 corridor, a 17-mile swath along the Delaware River. But beware: The survey the freeholders recently posted online is no easy pop quiz. Its 13 questions require a profound assessment of life in the burbs and much soul-searching, or at least more patience than I suspect many residents will be able to muster.
In the end, you find out whether you should marry the River Route. That’s the new name marketers gave the corridor while it went through a much-needed makeover.
Actually, the survey is designed to give freeholders input on the county’s 15-year-old strategic plan to stimulate business in the region. It can be found on the Burlington County website  under “Announcements.”
According to the county Department of Economic Development, more than 200 major businesses “invested more than $2 billion in new projects” as the plan was implemented in the River Route’s dozen municipalities. A commuter rail link was created and towns were spruced up.
New Jersey’s Office of Smart Growth gave the revitalization project accolades for “guiding” development in the region.
Now, the freeholders want to assess the status of the project and decide what to do next.
Thus, the survey, created by SurveyMonkey, was launched. After taking the test I tend to think the name of the company may have something to do with mental acrobatics it required.
After choosing which of the 12 towns you spend the most time in, you are asked to rate the “overall economic health” of that community. Very healthy? Stable? Declining?
If you get past that one, a trick question is buried below: “Which three reasons most influence your decisions about where to live?” Thirteen possible responses await your pick. Neighborhood safety? Cultural amenities? “I grew up there.” It’s worse than having to choose from 20 gelato flavors.
Here’s the question that will separate those who do their homework from those who fudge their answers:
“Please give us your impressions of the following aspects regarding the LIFESTYLE of your River Route Region town.” Respondents must decide whether the “neighborhood settings” are excellent, good, average, fair, or poor. And what’s a neighborhood setting anyway?
Next, you must rate whether the “automobile traffic flow” has improved, or is the same or worse than it has been over the past 10 years. You also will need to rank the fire services, the parks and trails, the schools, the cultural and arts amenities, pedestrian safety etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Fortunately, a handful of questions offer an escape route — “Don’t Know.”