900 Public Safety Boulevard
Dover, Delaware 19901
July 14, 2011
Dear Chairman Kingsberry,In the wake of the vote of the Delaware General Assembly on June 30 for new state funds for bike routes, we request that the WILMAPCO Council program $480,000 of congestion mitigation/air quality (CMAQ) federal funds in FY2012 for the final phase of the New Castle Industrial Track. The Council voted last year on July 15, 2010 to rank this project as the Council’s #1 priority in the TIP Bike/Ped category. As the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is willing to provide the required local match, we request that the Council include this project in the program going out for public comment and consider advancing it to design and engineering by programming FY2012 CMAQ funds for it.As you know, after years of planning, effort and investment, this six-mile long off-road route and greenway between Wilmington and New Castle is nearly complete. Only a one-mile gap remains to be funded. By closing this small remaining gap, Delaware would complete a safe, direct, paved non-motorized travel route between the Wilmington Riverfront (and the Wilmington train station) and New Castle. Completing the route would dramatically increase opportunities to replace car trips with non-polluting bicycling trips and reduce congestion on two high speed, high volume arterial roads, Rt. 9 (4 travel lanes) and Rt. 13 (8 travel lanes). This non-motorized “bicycle highway” would increase opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle commuting to the many business located along the route, serving several thousand employees. The completed trail would provide rail passengers with non-motorized access to the Wilmington Amtrak station, potentially replacing long distance car trips with bike-to-rail trips. The trail would also increase safety. Between 2000 and 2008, these roadways had 98 pedestrian crashes, including 8 fatality crashes and 69 injury crashes.
On top of the substantial congestion and air quality benefits, the project is also attractive from economic development, recreation and tourism points of view. When complete the project will… [Cont. (pdf)]