Monday, October 13, 2014

It's time to take back the streets in Wilmington

Better Block Wilmington brings new life to Union Street

Cross-posted from Bike Delaware -- For three days last month, the 600 block of Union Street in West Side Wilmington looked a bit different than usual. For these three days (August 11-13), one lane of traffic was closed to vehicles and converted into a lively, vibrant public space where residents could sit, eat, relax, listen to music, and enjoy the re-purposing of an otherwise abrasive environment. This temporary transformation was the doing of Better Block Wilmington, Delaware’s first incarnation of the Better Block Project.

The Better Block Project is a nationally-recognized demonstration tool in which residents temporarily modify the looks and functionality of a small part of their neighborhood. Better Block Projects aim to identify and offer solutions to community concerns of pedestrian safety, livability, and aesthetics. Exhibited over a short period of time and organized with a minimal budget, these projects show how small changes can yield large impacts for businesses, individuals and the community as a whole. [Full article ...]


In other news, it appears that Wilmington's Transportation Enhancements Grant has finally been approved. With it, Bike Wilmington (WBAC) will successfully attain $200,000 to implement bike infrastructure improvements within the City. The effort will address four (4) primary corridors that will serve to connect the City’s neighborhoods to the downtown commercial district. Additionally, the Committee will be working with its consultant McCormick Taylor, DART, Wilmington Initiatives and the Challenge Program to develop a cutting edge, multi-modal bus shelter prototype that will serve the needs of transit riders and bicyclists.


The above improvements were criticized by Bike Delaware, and slow to gain traction within City government. However, Wilmapco Council voted on May 8th to give these improvements the highest priority in the TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan).

The use of sharrows and signage isn’t perfect, but the City will get miles of visible routes on a very small budget, providing for an excellent start. It is important to note that the project was developed and supported by the community itself. You can also visit Wilmington's Bicycle Plan, developed in conjunction with Wilmapco.

The City of Wilmington has an awful lot going for it, including a spectacular Grand Prix every May. Don't miss it in 2015! Visit the event website for details.

In addition, Bike Wilmington has been coordinating and assisting the Department of Public Works to determine logical and safe locations for bike parking (racks) throughout the City. Phase I of a City-wide rack install effort is complete; phase II is under research and development; and a final phase is set to occur next Spring. Sharrows have already been installed on Market Street with the above mentioned sharrows to follow in the near future. If you are aware of a location that is in need of bike parking, please contact Leah Kacanda at lvkacanda@WilmingtonDE.gov.

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