Friday, February 17, 2017

Important: DelDOT Bicycle-Friendly Public Workshops

Don't forget to mark your calendar, and attend a DelDOT public workshop for bicycle-friendliness and safety in the First State!
  • 4–7 pm, Feb. 22, Sussex County Council Chambers (2 The Circle, Georgetown)
  • 4–7 pm, Feb. 27, Middletown HS Commons (120 Silver Lake Rd, Middletown)
  • 4:30–7:30 pm, Feb. 28, Dover Public Library (35 East Loockerman St, Dover)
  • 4–7 pm, March 1, Wilmington Public Library (10 East 10th St, Wilmington)
Balanced advocacy includes supporting on and off the road bicycle-specific infrastructure, as long as they are designed to best practices. Though we are seeing better quality as time goes by, it would be a serious mistake for advocates to assume equal level of service with vehicle drivers. Many are still being designed to relegate bicyclists to little more than wheeled pedestrians. Equal road rights and access cannot be ignored, because bicyclists will always depend on them for virtually every trip we make.

In any comments you make at these workshops, it is important to stress this fact. For example, a nearby bike path should never trump safety considerations on the roads they parallel. Failure here will lead to increased bullying from motorists, who see it as confirmation of "their" road given the nearby facility. In a worst case - as seen in some States now - the road itself may even go off limits to bicycling with mandatory use laws. Visit the workshop page HERE, and stand up for bicyclists as legitimate road users, facilities or no facilities. See you there!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DelDOT May Revise Elkton Road Reconstruction Plan

In light of recent comments, DelDOT may scale back the Elkton Road reconstruction/expansion project by nearly 2/3 to reflect actual needs. This number is derived from a reduction in added lanes between Otts Chapel Road and Route 4/896 (Christina Parkway).

Courtesy of Heather Dunigan, Wilmapco
The revision would ensure that only one additional lane will be added on the NE-bound side, to serve as an extended right turn-only lane. The SW-bound direction would maintain two through lanes similar to the existing design as we see it.

Excerpts from the Project Manager:
Based on the analysis, the alternative that could provide an effective alternative to the recommendations from the Planning study is the third option, which maintains two westbound lanes and adds a third eastbound lane from Otts Chapel Road that would end at the Route 4 intersection. With this option, the widening would be reduced in scope, but most importantly not sacrifice the needed safety improvement from Otts Chapel Road to Route 4.

We also recognize the comments that these improvements may facilitate toll evasion. Please note any roadway improvements in this part of Newark could be viewed as facilitating toll evasion; however, we feel limiting any capacity improvements to east of the Otts Chapel Road intersection should further minimize this potential issue

We will post again on this project after a review of the updated drawings. We have also asked DelDOT to provide us the estimated cost savings over the original proposal. In the meantime, a tip of the helmet goes to Mark Tudor of DelDOT, for responding quickly and bringing our comments and concerns before the project team. Thanks so much, Mark!

Friday, February 10, 2017

DPM: Delaware wants to lead the peloton of bike friendly states

Anthony Aglio
Delaware is currently the nation’s third most bike friendly state, according to the League of American Bicyclists. But state officials aren’t satisfied with that ranking. So Delaware’s Department of Transportation is hosting a series of public meetings in late February to find out how it can make the state even more bike friendly.   

The workshops will be opening listening sessions, according to Anthony Aglio, a bicycle planning manager for DelDOT. “We’re trying to pull people in to ask them why they aren’t bicycling, what do they like about bicycling, how can we make it better for them?” he said.

The state has also created an online survey to learn about people’s cycling priorities. “Is it safety, is it convenience, is it access to schools?” Aglio said.

DelDOT will use the input from the meetings and surveys to determine if they should be building more bike lanes, trails or safe routes to schools.

DelDOT will present a draft plan in another round of public meetings this fall. And then will use that input to craft a final plan to be released in early 2018. [Full article, including meeting details . . . ]

A lovely Sunday morning for Anthony Aglio, as he rides Route 9 en-route to Wilmington for the 2010 Delaware Bike Summit.  The Industrial Track Rail Trail, if completed, will (mostly) eliminate the need for non-motorized commuters to travel this normally congested, high speed corridor.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Proposed Lidl in Ogletown eyed for active transportation accommodations
The Route 4 corridor through Ogletown has seen lots of changes over the last few decades. More recently, it was among the first chosen to receive retrofitted bike lanes/shared right turn-only lanes, helping increase safety for commuters.

In terms of land use, it was announced in September that Lidl, a German grocery chain, will be replacing Vince's Sports Center at the corner of Gender Road. The company appears committed to saving as much as 70% of the property (currently a 3-hole golf course) as open space, signing into agreement with neighboring residents. That would be an amazing goodwill gesture on the part of Lidl, given the pressure they now face with the proposed development of the Orphanage Property. In essence, it can be viewed as a re-development project that replaces an existing facility and preserves its green space.

Our Vince's-Lidl site survey has been on line for a few months, drawing 67 participants so far. The above 70% open space could be reduced to 50±% if residents get their wish for a coffee shop and/or outdoor cafe. Place-making is sorely needed in Ogletown, and many residents - even those that only drive - favor bike lane and pathway connections to nearby communities. Ange Connolly, co-admin of Save the Orphanage Property (STOP), serves on the Lidl Working Group, and presented the results in a meeting on Feb 1. In addition to place-making, she will be advocating for APBP-Standard bike parking and safe bike/ped pathway connections to Route 4 and its active transportation facilities.

As an aside, if we are to slowly but surely transform the built environment into something more bicycle and pedestrian friendly, we must have a voice in these projects early in the planning phase. And not just with new projects; advocates need to focus their energy and resources on retrofitting the suburbs. For active transportation commuters today, the construction of modern, transit-oriented developments (TODs) as an answer is way past its time. The built environment is already built, and most of our remaining open space - especially in New Castle County - is either environmentally critical or otherwise being hotly contested for parks and preservation needs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Green Transportation Safety at the Glasgow Business Community

In the coming weeks, Mark Luszcz (Chief P.E, DelDOT), along with a DART Transit representative will be meeting with the Siemens Facilities Group and Dept of Environmental Health and Safety. The focus will be on bike/ped/transit improvements at the Route 896/GBC Drive intersection. Presentation below.

The area has not been upgraded since highway construction in the mid-'90s. It was poorly designed, and left in a dangerous and undesirable condition for non-driving visitors to the Glasgow Business Community. Pedestrians are sometimes seen running across Route 896 on the north side of GBC Drive, because the existing crosswalk is on the non-building side and presents unnecessary challenges. Additionally, there are no pathway connections to and from the bus stop on the northbound side.

Further progress TBA.