Bike path considered between Newark and Wilmington
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 13:10
The Delaware Department of Transportation held a workshop last Tuesday in order to discuss a proposed bike trail that would run from the Wilmington area to Newark. DelDOT is currently conducting a study in order to identify the best areas to utilize as bike paths, and the workshop was used to communicate with the public while the trail study goes on, DelDOT project coordinator Marco Boyce stated in an email message.
Boyce stated the aim of the study is to find convenient pathways that can facilitate both bicycle and pedestrian routes. A second connection, called the Glasgow Pathway, which will link Newark to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal is also being examined, Boyce said. That connection would also pass through Glasgow Park and Lums Pond State Park on the way to the canal, he said.
Pat Correale, sophomore at the university and the chairman of the board for the Newark Bike Project, said he thinks the proposed bike paths would be useful for many people, and the path is a definite step in the right direction. Correale said the path would be a good addition to the area, not only because of the new convenience for bike riders but also as a way to provide more practical alternatives to automobile transportation.
Correale said he thinks the cost of the trail––which is still undetermined according to Boyce––will only be worth it if the trail that is picked for actual construction is a direct path from Newark to Wilmington. He said he knows a lot of people stopped at the workshop, and he thinks the path would be very popular among bike riders in the area.
“I think it would open up a lot of opportunities for people who commute,” Correale said. “I, for one, have biked from Wilmington to Newark just for random occasions, and I would certainly consider doing it more often if there was an actual viable pathway to use.”
Correale said the Newark Bike Project would consider using the paths for organized bike rides, though that would ultimately depend on what type of path the developers choose to build. He said the Bike Project has never officially asked for an improved route from Wilmington to Newark, but when the group heard about the proposal, they were excited and supported it.
Boyce said DelDOT has been looking into building bike routes for many years, but this renewed effort was a result of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative, which was created at the request of Governor Jack Markell in 2012. He said the initiative is a change in how bike routes are analyzed, as the focus has shifted to “shared-use pathways.”
These pathways are considered trails where the bulk of the population is most comfortable walking or bicycling. Boyce said Boulder, Colo. and Davis, Calif. are both cities that are criss-crossed by dozens of the paths. Boyce said there has been substantial support for the path proposal so far, due in part to changes in everyday life.
“With the total cost to own and operate a motor vehicle rising, in concert with the automobile-dominated system of land use implemented post-WWII, the time is ripe to offer the public expanded alternative means of transportation,” Boyce said. “Shared-use pathways can fill the niche of a relatively inexpensive alternative.”