Friday, January 20, 2017

DelDOT may spend millions to better accommodate I95 toll evasion

In 2005, the first public comments were gathered, and a DelDOT Working Group was assigned to select among three alternatives for the Elkton Road Reconstruction Project, Phase 2. They ultimately chose Alternative 2, the most invasive of the three, costing an additional $5M (in 2005 dollars). Among other "improvements", it includes double right turn-only lanes at Christina Parkway, and the lengthening of other dedicated turn lanes. Alternative 1, the least costly, came the closest to the original road footprint, maintaining 2 lanes in each direction.

For the record, we do not believe that bike/ped/quality of life advocates were fairly represented in this working group. All three alternatives do include a parallel pathway and bike lanes, and we are grateful for that. But we are unaware of any study data that might suggest how much of Elkton Road's current VMT (vehicle miles traveled) is the result of I95 toll evasion, and if Alternative 2 is justified.

We already know that our State Police officers are assigned to prosecuting commercial vehicles for toll evasion, using large black SUVs. It is a common sight to see, yet it is a foregone conclusion that probably most car and light truck drivers do the same to avoid paying the $4+ toll, especially if driving locally. For example, someone driving from Ogletown and points East will choose to stay on Route 4 to Elkton Road to get on I95, as opposed to using Route 896 and hitting the toll. For long haul or out of state travelers, there are even websites on how to easily circumvent.

Regardless of the toll problem, we simply can't solve congestion problems by turning our roads into a Route 13 and every intersection into a Hares Corner. Yet DelDOT is recommending a plan that will bring Elkton Road that much closer, with many more to come, and this will ultimately condemn us to 99% auto-dependency if they continue on this trajectory. Induced demand is another factor that DelDOT Planners and Engineers seriously need to consider when expanding roads and highways, but it is not clear how often they do. In the current mindset, the goal appears to be solving weight problems by adding more notches to the belt.

With this project, we may be about to spend millions of taxpayer dollars to better accommodate losing millions for our transportation coffers, which is a total travesty.

We will post further updates when we have them. In the interim, please direct your comments to Mark Tudor, Project Manager at

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Siemens Healthcare asks DelDOT to shore up commuter safety

For folks biking in the Ogletown-Glasgow area, Siemens Healthineers supports adding multi-modal safety provisions on key commuter routes. Several of their employees commute by bike, and the company recognizes the importance of reducing auto dependency.

The following letter was sent in March 2016, encouraging DelDOT to support bicycle safety and thus Green transportation alternatives. Siemens has also adopted Route 72 in the area of GBC Drive, performing annual litter patrols and cleanups. A big tip of the helmet goes to Jonathan Kroc and his Environmental Health and Safety Dept, for their wonderful stewardship on our behalf.

Note: Route 4 (Chestnut Hill Rd) has already been retrofitted with bike/shared lane treatments, and all of us hope that Route 72 (S. Chapel/Purgatory Swamp Rd) is scheduled for this year.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Ogletown Orphanage Property Trail Map

The Orphanage Property proposed park and trail system should be of interest to many of our readers. I mapped it by GPS last year when we first learned that it is threatened by an enormous mixed housing development. As many of you know, we are in the fight of our lives to save this beautiful landscape as a regional park for Ogletown - something that is desperately needed.

Residents in the eastern greater Newark area have been vastly underserved when it comes to parkland and open space. None of NCC's regional parks with amenities are within a safe walking or biking distance of their homes, while other surrounding areas including the City itself are continually adding them.

The easiest way to access the trail system is Pearson Drive, through Todd Estates II, south of Route 4. Pearson dead-ends at a major trail head with room for parking. Use caution; there is a small chance that you may encounter ATVs. The trails are mostly hard packed dirt, with occasional erosion and low spots that need restoration.

Please visit our facebook page dedicated to the cause, and consider liking us today!