Thursday, February 26, 2015

Diverging Diamond Interchange coming to SR 72 bridge over Route 1


On Wednesday, February 25, 1st State BIKES advocates attended DelDOT's public workshop for a "Diverging Diamond Interchange" on SR 72 (Wrangle Hill Road) where it crosses over Route 1. According to DelDOT, the goal of the workshop was to present improvements that address immediate automobile congestion and safety concerns.

The SR72/Route 1 interchange as it appears today, via satellite
There is no question that this innovative interchange design will provide improved traffic flow, congestion relief, and safety - for motorists. A most notable innovation is the channeling of all non-motorized traffic to a shared use pathway in the center median. How this channeling is achieved was the main focus of our comments. The design shown above and in the video below uses shared use pathways throughout the entire interchange, and that is what they were showcasing at the workshop. That, however, is unacceptable for most intermediate and advanced folks on bikes. Similar pathways that exist now in Delaware relegate bicyclists to pedestrians at intersections, side streets and driveways, with narrowing and acute zigzagging through channelizing islands. It is critical that those lobbying for active transportation at the State level, and those working for us as DOT planners and engineers realize that bicycles are vehicles. They require equal level of service when it comes to ease and continuity in the public right of way. Progress is being made, but getting Complete Streets implemented to its fullest and safest can still be an uphill battle.

It was not clear how many other bicyclists showed up at the workshop. When we arrived at 6:30 pm, it appeared that attendance was light. No other bicyclists were there with us at that time. Hopefully our presence and comments were enough to sway the project engineers to consider a design that also involves the use of bike lanes that lead up to the median pathway facility before feeding into it (and then away from it again). The engineers were very receptive and showed a true willingness to include our suggestions, and for that we are grateful.

If you would like to comment on this project, email DelDOT Public Relations. You can also CC the project engineer at: nbergeron@rkk.com.

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