More on the problem of funding for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in Delaware from Carol Ireland:
“A couple of years ago I submitted some comments to WILMAPCO regarding their Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). Those comments are still valid today. At that time I was pleased with the projects geared to promoting safe bicycling and walking, but was very disappointed at the small number of these and the very limited funding aimed at bicycling and pedestrian improvements. I asked that the priorities be reviewed and reassessed to put more funding towards alternatives to vehicular transportation. At a time when the newspapers are filled with articles about excessive air pollution, over-dependence on oil and gasoline, life-threatening obesity and horrendous accidents resulting in death or permanent injury to cyclists and pedestrians, surely there should be more than 0.5% of the total TIP funding on bicycle-pedestrian projects! At that time, we were pushing for a recommended minimum funding level of 2% but our current goal is 3%. (Hey, if 2% is unrealistic, then 3% will be no more difficult!) This is still a very small number but at least enough to start having an impact on Delaware residents seeking to improve their life styles by leaving their cars at home.
“I have had the opportunity to cycle in several communities across the US, including Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Palo Alto, California. The bike-friendliness of these two cities is immediately evident and most enjoyable, especially compared with conditions I normally encounter in New Castle County. Wisconsin has been spending significant funds on bicycle projects for at least the last 15 years. According to one Wisconsin DOT report, 75% of the the 2-lane state highways have 3-5 foot wide shoulders, for improved cycling (and pedestrian) safety. Delaware has a long ways to go!
“Over my 32 year career working for DuPont, I rode my bike to work as much as possible, despite less than ideal cycling conditions on the roadways. Many others will do the same if there are more shoulders, easier ways to cross busy roads, and better routes to get from one place to another without having to go on major highways (e.g. if there were more cut-throughs that connect neighborhoods to adjoining neighborhoods). I now try to use my bicycle as much as possible for transportation, as well as for recreation. Increased funding to improve Delaware’s roads for bicyclists would be welcomed by both current and future cyclists in the state!”
Vice President, White Clay Bicycle Club
Secretary, Bike Delaware