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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.