Dover – May 1, 2013 – At the Walkable Bikeable Delaware 2013 Summit in Dover this morning, DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara announced Delaware’s new Bicycle Friendly State ranking. In the sixth annual assessment by the League of American Bicyclists, Delaware achieved a #5 ranking nationally, while placing #1 among all states east of the Mississippi River.
You read that right: We are officially the most bicycle-friendly state east of the Mississippi River.
Delaware was ranked #18 in 2011 and #10 in 2012. It has advanced ahead faster than any other state in America by making progress due to a supportive state government administration and legislature. A combination of state and federal funds have been used to invest $20 million over the last two years in projects such as the Castle Trail at the C&D Canal, the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway (final phase in design) and the Georgetown-Lewes Trail (also under design). Concept planning for a bikeway connecting Wilmington and Newark is also underway.
In 2010, Governor Jack Markell became the first governor in the United States to address a National Bike Summit in Washington DC. Three years later, he is still the only sitting governor to have done so. In his last State of the State speech, he declared that
“in the years to come, Delawareans will be able to walk and bike to work because of the investments we are making today… Our First State Trails and Pathways Initiative is connecting neighborhoods, parks, and downtowns throughout our state. The Pomeroy Trail connects Newark to White Clay Creek State Park. We’re linking Lewes, Rehoboth and eventually Georgetown with a series of interconnected trails. We’re enhancing and expanding recreational access to the Nanticoke River and Broad Creek.”
“We’re connecting Delaware City to Chesapeake City and extending the Milford Riverwalk. In Dover, we are expanding the Capitol City Trail along the St. Jones River. The Delaware Bayshore Initiative is protecting the Thousand Acre Marsh and expanding the Ted Harvey Wildlife Area. Projects like these improve our quality of life and make our state a magnet for talented workers.”
Having breached the top 5 among all states in the United States, Delaware will now face stiff competition to advance further against Minnesota (#4), Oregon (#3), Colorado (#2) and Washington (#1).
To even keep our new #5 ranking – not to mention improving it – we will now have to step up our game. Check out the feedback about how to do that in Delaware’s Report Card from the League of American Bicyclists, which outlines a strategy for how we can keep our momentum and keep moving forward.