Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A shared goal for the Delaware Bicycle Council, Bike Delaware?

By Amy Wilburn, Chair, Delaware Bicycle Council

The Delaware Bicycle Council and Bike Delaware have agreed to join forces to support efforts to establish a bike and pedestrian connection to the Christiana Mall and the DART park ‘n ride, and to ensure that the connection is established within the next year. This connection will also provide a way to cross I95.

Among the casualties of new construction at the Mall and along I95 was an informal "goat path" connector between the Cavalier Country Club Apartment complex adjacent to the Mall and the DART park-n-ride, which has since been relocated. This dirt path had been the only safe way to access the Mall by bike or by foot, and the only viable way at all to access it from the north.

Christiana Mall from the air, accessible only by car or bus.
The goat path, marked at top with a red arrow, is now closed,
blocking the way for dozens of bike/ped commuters.

Most of us who walk or bike by choice can either avoid the Mall or drive to it, unfortunate as it is in the 21st century to be forced into either option. But a segment of our population does not have the luxury of either driving to the Mall or avoiding it altogether. These people include Mall employees and park-n-ride transit users who reside in the area.  In addition, the Mall is a flagship destination in northern Delaware.  It is unacceptable that in a state ranked by the LAB as the fifth most bike friendly in the nation, we cannot get cyclists and pedestrians safely to such an important destination.

It is hoped that by joining forces, Bike Delaware and the Delaware Bicycle Council can change this unfortunate situation and help our wonderful state to continue to make progress towards becoming truly bike friendly.

Poster's note: The two organizations have had few such opportunities, given differing views on bicycle advocacy. Bike Delaware's prime focus has been on segregated bicycle facilities, while the Delaware Bicycle Council takes the holistic, all-inclusive approach as seen in the League of American Bicyclists 5 Es.

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