• Walkable, Bikeable Delaware

    Why is a walkable and bikeable Delaware so important?

    Many of the most challenging public policy questions in Delaware require – or appear to require – difficult and unavoidable tradeoffs.  It is unusual to find a public policy solution that presents a “win-win” opportunity.  Walking and bicycling, however, are sui generis.  They are “win-win-win-win-win“:

    Win#1: Cost-Effective Transportation for Families and for Government

    Win#2Public Health

    Win#3Tourism and Economic Development

    Win#4Quality of Life

    Win#5Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality


    While decades of pedestrian- and bicyclist-unfriendly development in Delaware has made it frequently unsafe, inconvenient and/or unpleasant to be either a pedestrian or bicyclist here, 2011 has seen an unprecedented commitment by state and local government to make the necessary investments to build a truly walkable and bikeable Delaware.  Bike Delaware and its allies (including Delaware Greenways, the Delaware Bicycle Council and, especially, Nemours Health and Prevention Services) have worked hard to encourage these new commitments:

    In April, Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order #26, which identified “link[ing] cities and towns by a network of off-alignment multi-use paths that can be used by commuters in addition to recreational pedestrians and bicyclists” as one of the state’s top transportation spending priorities.

    In May, the Delaware General Assembly passed Walkable, Bikeable Delaware, which called for strategic investments in walking and bicycling, including “multi-use paths for pedestrian and bicycle user travel within and between cities and towns in Delaware on independent right-of-way outside of the right-of-way of existing roadways.”

    In June, the Delaware General Assembly voted an unprecedented $5,000,000 for state bike routes.

    In July, DelDOT protected both bicycling-“dedicated” and bicycling-“eligible” federal transportation program funds from rescission.

    In August, DelDOT requested that WILMAPCO program $480,000 of federal “CMAQ” (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) program funds for the final phase of the Wilmington/New Castle Industrial Track, a 6 mile greenway connecting the cities of Wilmington and New Castle. (This is the first ever use of federal CMAQ money for a bicycling project in Delaware.)

    In September, the WILMAPCO Council and the Sussex County Council both endorsed major “off-alignment” bikeways.  The WILMAPCO Council voted to add $600,000 for the final phase of the Wilmington/New Castle Industrial Track, while the Sussex County Council included a 17 mile “rail with trail” between the cities of Lewes and Georgetown in its list of recommended transportation priorities to DelDOT.


    To learn more about Walkable, Bikeable Delaware – or to get involved – email wbd@bikede.org.


    To support our work, please join Bike Delaware now!

    3 Responses to Walkable, Bikeable Delaware

    1. January 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Why are any roads (with the exception of Interstate roadways) even built anymore without sidewalks??? It seems to me that it is an easy solution to 1) getting people out walking more, 2) keeping pedestrians from being hit by cars, 3) avoiding having our children from playing in the street and even 4) creating more neighborly neighborhoods!!

      Obviously there is an expense but the obesity epidemic is very costly, the lack of neighbors meeting each other due to the “must get into the car syndrome” rather than take a walk in the evening is a possible expense to society in the subsequent loss of safety within neighborhoods is costly and anyone who has ever been hit by a car is an avoidable tragedy.

      Everyone should be out walking but our neighborhood designs and the roadways that are built discourage this. When will we recognize this and put the money into sensible healthy directions?? My goal for 2012 is to campaign for sidewalks on all roadways!

      If you agree with this please comment! If you do not please comment as well although how could anyone not agree?

    2. Maureen Thomas
      January 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      I am with you on sidewalks for Walkable Del. I live in Ocean View. The citizens openly protest the towns plans for side walks. I do not know why. I walk to the senior center olong a very busy road. I hardly ever see anyone else walking so I guess it isn’t their lifestyle so they don’t see the need. I dunno. . .

    3. Lorraine Powel
      June 1, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      My husband and I love to ride our bikes, but not on the side of the road. Many states we have visited have dedicated bike trails. By that I mean they are off the road and safe for all to use. Children as well as parents walking with them. It is safe for skateboarding as well as just walking. Is anything like this being planned for Delaware.

      Are Rails-to-Trails being planned using old train tracks?

      Would love an answer. Thank you.

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