• Is it an “off-alignment multi-use path” or is it a “trail”?

    by  • November 4, 2011 • Transportation Trails, Walkable Bikeable Delaware • 0 Comments

    At the Delaware Bike Summit, DelDOT Secretary Bhatt dramatically signed a Memorandum of Agreement with his colleague DNREC Secretary O’Mara to develop and execute Governor Markell’s First State Trails and Pathways Plan and build an “integrated non-motorized pathway and recreational trail network to provide opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely and efficiently and to expand outdoor recreation opportunities.

    Getting these powerful and potentially creative state agencies pointing in the same direction is itself a critical achievement for which Governor Markell, Secretary Bhatt and Secretary O’Mara all deserve praise already.  But there is probably always going to be a (we hope, productive) tension in this partnership. The Department of Transportation is about transportation.  No self-respecting traffic engineer wants to build trails, but an off-alignment multi-use path for non-motorized transportation?  That sounds serious.  The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, on the other hand, has recreation in its DNA and probably thinks off-alignment multi-use path is something only someone who has put their manhood in a blind trust held by AASHTO could come up with when a perfectly simple straightforward word like “trails” is available.

    So which is right?

    off-alignment multi-use path” (DelDOT)   -or-   “trail” (DNREC)?

    The answer is ….”yes”.

    By the way, the most ambitious four parts of the Governor’s plan are the paths/trails connecting Delaware’s largest cities:


    These are all also goals that Bike Delaware will be voting on on Tuesday


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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