Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Analysis: Northern Delaware Greenway, Talley Road Section


When this project is finished, which includes "the construction of a 10-ft wide paved path, and the reconstruction of Talley Road to reduce the travel lane widths from 12-ft to 11-ft and shoulder widths from 8-ft to 5-ft.", it will end up costing nearly 2 million dollars. Below is a streetview of this short section of road, which serves as a connector between 2 off-alignment sections of the Northern Delaware Greenway:


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Clearly, there were other options available at a much lower cost. A resurfacing of the shoulders and the installation of a buffered or raised 2-way cycle track (pictured at bottom) would be highly effective. We just posted an article showing over 20 bikeways projects that Maryland is about to embark on with 3.2 million dollars. Imagine the progress we could make not only here, but across many other, more critical projects with even half that amount.

Construction begins along, not on Tally Rd
Consider that the amount spent on the Talley Road project would reestablish Funding Pools in Delaware, setting aside a percentage of the transportation budget for smaller, albeit critical projects that can have a huge impact on connectivity for both cyclists and pedestrians. In the past, a similar set aside brought us projects like the Paper Mill Road bike lanes. There has been an on-going effort to reestablish these funding pools, most recently by the Delaware Bicycle Council, members of the local metropolitan planning organization, and the state's bicycle coordinator. Unfortunately, this initiative has stalled several times, and lacks support from Bike Delaware.

In a world where money and resources were unlimited, the Talley Road MUP would be entirely justified. But money and resources are tight in Delaware. For more than half of what Maryland is putting aside, we get Talley Road, one project that is of questionable value. We hesitate to single out any one project in Delaware, but it’s surely worth noting that Wilmington will be completing a number of bike routes via sharrows and signage with a $200,000 grant from DelDOT (TA grant). For under $300,000, Wilmington will get 4 cross city routes.

Left: If they are that bent on keeping continuity in a bike path, separated cycle tracks are very popular around the world, and now gaining traction in the US. According to the Green Lane Project, there will be over 200 by the end of this year, up from 102 last year. Such creative thinking could have brought one to Tally Road, possibly saving most of the cost (in millions) for other much needed projects.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed that there are lower-cost options, and better options, and even better AND lower-cost options. But I would definitely say that the Talley Road connection is vital to cyclists. There are a lot of cyclists who pass through Rockford on their way to the Alapocas Woods trail, but that hill is quite dangerous without a big bike lane.

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