April 24 marked the 1 year anniversary of Governor Markell’s signing of Executive Order 6, bringing us a statewide Complete Streets policy. Cyclists throughout Delaware have been writing us, wondering when we will start seeing the first green shoots of this historic milestone. First and foremost, it is important to note the executive order, signed on April 24th 2009, called for a Complete Streets policy to be drafted, then go to comment from multiple agencies and the active transportation community. This has already taken place. The Governor has since signed off, giving DelDOT the green light to proceed with implementation guidelines, due this June. So, this is where we stand on Complete Streets in this relatively short time.
That said, what has happened in the last year that advocates can point to as progress, signs that Delaware has already begun the transformation, and that DelDOT will indeed redefine “transportation” to encompass all modes? We believe the following provides answers:
* The above mentioned Complete Streets Policy was signed by Governor Markell at Delaware’s first ever Bike Summit, and is expected in place by June 2010.
* Received a design guidance memorandum from DelDOT, promising to buffer all pork chops, pedestrian refuge, and triangular channelizing islands with at least 5′ for bicycle safety and potential bike lane installation.
* Achieved buffered shoulders on the St. Georges Bridge, giving cyclists a centrally located, safe crossing of the C&D Canal (NOTE: this is currently under construction in the northbound lane and is not recommended for usage at this time).
* Members reporting that bike lanes are indeed being installed in some locations, on DelDOT’s own accord and with the help of adjacent land developers. One example on Rt.273 (Nottingham Road at Casho Mill) saw them actually remove right-turn only lanes in favor of bicycle safety.
* Multiple townships and cities in Delaware adopting their own Complete Streets policies, with goals of a BFC ranking.
* Meetings with Anthony Aglio, our best friend and ally as Bicycle Coordinator in DelDOT, to review pave and rehab projects covered under the current budget. Advocates advised the installation of bicycle facilities and made safety recommendations for those with high usage and/or serving as vital links. One such example included Limestone Road, Rt.7 between Paper Mill and Valley Roads.
With this level of progress in such a short time, not even accounting for those advocates who have fought tirelessly on the Active Communities Transportation Act, trail and bridge construction, and linking numerous greenways and off-road networks, we will keep our top-10 in the LAB Bicycle Friendly States ranking. Our goal is to edge higher and higher as we turn our focus toward education and legislation.
None of this would have happened, or been possible without the non-stop, tireless efforts of advocates from multiple constituents to Bike Delaware. In just 1 year, the above is coming to fruition, even in these economically troubled times. And we thank those at DelDOT, working along side us in these achievements.