• Wilmington-New Castle Greenway: It’s the red route

    by  • January 28, 2013 • Transportation Trails, Walkable Bikeable Delaware • 3 Comments

    indus_track_phase1

    Looking north towards Wilmington from near New Castle on the Wilmington – New Castle Greenway

     

    The Wilmington-New Castle Greenway (also known as the “Industrial Track” because it follows an old railroad right-of-way) will, when complete, be a six-mile long “bicycle highway” connecting the cities of Wilmington and New Castle.  It is already mostly done.  The first phase, running from New Castle to Route 295, was built with American Recovery Act (“stimulus”) funds in 2011.  The second phase, running from Route 295 to the Christina river, was built by New Castle County last year.  The remaining gap (known as “Phase 3″)  is from the Christina river to the Wilmington Riverfront.  By closing this gap Delaware will complete a safe, direct, paved, flat and nearly uninterrupted non-motorized six-mile travel route between the Wilmington Riverfront and New Castle. In six miles, there will be just one – one! – at-grade road crossing.  A really fast cyclist on this highway will be able to travel between Wilmington and New Castle in as little as 15 minutes.  Even an average cyclist (12 mph) will be able to make the trip in less than a half hour.

    Can you imagine what it would be like if the Riverwalk-Market Street area’s vibrant mix of businesses, residences and thriving art scene was connected by a safe, easily navigable six mile trail to New Castle? And you’re part of it: you (and your whole family) can bike safely and comfortably from Wilmington to dine in historic Olde New Castle at a colonial restaurant and tavern quicker than if you took a car. After dinner, you take a leisurely roll along the river front trail in Battery Park before heading home.  Or, the other way, if you live in the New Castle area, you can now take your kids and bike to a Blue Rocks game or a movie at the Riverfront’s new IMAX movie theater.

    What are we waiting for, right?

    Well, one important thing we have been waiting for is a decision about the Phase 3 “alignment”:  the route that the greenway should take to connect Phase 2 and the Riverfront.  After the WILMAPCO Council voted on June 15, 2010 to prioritize Phase 3 of the Wilmington – New Castle Greenway as the most important bike/ped project in all of New Castle County, DelDOT hired an engineering consultant to to analyze the Phase 3 route options.  That study has, finally, been published and a route – the “red” route – recommended:

    The “red route” for Phase 3 of the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway

     

    Though we never anticipated that the route study would take 2 years (!) to complete, we now have a recommended route and an initial cost estimate.  We also, due to some notable leadership from DNREC, DelDOT, Governor Markell, the General Assembly and WILMAPCO (and cyclists!), have a budget to now move Phase 3 to construction.

    Finishing the Wilmington – New Castle Greenway is one of those unusual opportunities in public life that serve multiple public priorities simultaneously.  This project will improve the health of people who use it to walk and bicycle, increase tourism at the Riverfront and New Castle, give a boost to economic development, reduce congestion, lower emissions, provide recreational opportunities and improve quality of life for Delawareans.  So let’s get it done.

     

     

      James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware.

     

     

     

     

    RELATED:

    •  New Castle Industrial Track – Phase3 Feasibility Study (DelDOT)

    Archive of all past Bike Delaware articles on Industrial Track

    • Like Lewis and Clark Reaching the Pacific Ocean

    •  Why are we hiding the Industrial Track Rail Trail?

    1st Ever CMAQ-Funded Bike Project in Delaware History

    Coalition wins key support for rail trail

    Eight civic and business groups call for completion of Industrial Track

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    3 Responses to Wilmington-New Castle Greenway: It’s the red route

    1. Felix Cartagena
      January 28, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      Are there any substantial bike racks at the Riverfront Cinema and Frawley Stadium? I don’t think I would want to attend these venues by bike unless my bike was securely locked and under video surveillance. I would not mind paying a reasonable fee for secure bicycle parking. Emergency call boxes like those on the UofD campus along the whole route would give a sense of security for users. Just some things to think about………

    2. Angela
      January 28, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      This is an absolutely beautiful trail, and I’ve enjoyed riding my bike on it. I am very grateful for trails and MUP’s like this, and I applaud the generous funding that has made it happen, as well as the behind the scenes efforts to secure the funding. Unfortunately for me, to get to most paths like this, I have to ride my bike from Newark to get to wherever they are. For me, to get to this particular path, that means navigating some dangerous road traffic, including Rts 4 and 58, and then, crossing the dreaded Hares Corner. There is just no way for me to bike to this, or just about any other trail, without either racking the bike on my car (which I’d rather not do) or navigating those roads which I feel are not friendly to me as a cyclist. When I leave my neighborhood, I must immediately deal with a major arterial road. So while I love these paths, and am very appreciate of the Advocacy efforts to get them, I hope that we will also continue to focus on making cycling safer, with awareness, sharrows, and bike lanes, on roads everywhere in our State, including on major arterial roads that we cyclists must realistically navigate to get just about anywhere.

    3. Melissa
      January 31, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I love the Industrial Track and I would very much welcome a connector to Wilmington as I currently commute to Wilmington using Route 13 and it can be hairy. However, I am written many people concerning the point that anything on the Manor Park/Leedom Estate/Our Lady of Fatima side of Route 13 must cross Route 13 to get to the track. This could be completely eliminated if they would simply use the open up the trail that runs under the bridge at the current end of the Industrial Trail (near the little league parks). There is a path that is already paved from when the sound walls were put up along 295 to shield the Manor Park neighborhood.

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