Dover/Kent County MPO seeking to establish multi-use path to The Green

DOVER — It is quite symbolic that bicycle routes around the city of Dover follow a wheel and spoke format, meaning that there is a large trail surrounding the city with several inroads from which to travel to reach downtown destinations.

The latest such inroad the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization (Dover/Kent MPO) is hoping to see get developed is a short trail that will help bicyclists travel from West Street to Bank Lane and on to The Green.

The Dover/Kent MPO held a public meeting at the James L. Hutchison assembly room in the Dover Police Department last Thursday night to receive input into the possible new trail.

“We’re just in concept now, just trying to get feedback as to what would the community most like to see?,” said Sonia Marichio-Goudy, from Century Engineering. “And then it still has to go through the process to get funding and go through design, and that’s when all the details will be hammered out.

“Right now, it’s just about getting feedback on ‘Do you want a path?’, ‘Do you want a cycle track?,’ what are the thoughts on this and what are the thoughts on losing parking (spots) for that option?”

The public was shown three options for the Bank Lane to Governors Avenue portion of the pathway by the engineers at Century Engineering last Thursday.

The first alternative was a “multi-use trail with roadway modifications.” This option would maintain existing parking on both sides of Bank Lane, formalize 10-foot-wide lane widths and feature a multi-use trail which would combine bicycles with pedestrians outside of the travel lanes.

The second alternative was a “cycle track with roadway modification.”

This plan would remove the eastbound parking lane, maintain the westbound parking lane, formalize 10-foot-wide lane widths and separate bicycles and pedestrians.

The third option that was presented was a “multi-use trail with no roadway modifications.”

It would maintain existing parking on both sides of Bank Lane, require no modifications to the roadway and would add a multi-use trail that would combine bicycles and pedestrians outside of the travel lanes.

Mrs. Marichio-Goudy said that alternative No. 1 appeared to be the early favorite during the public meeting.

All the proposed alternatives would require permanent easements for the construction.

There was only one plan offered for extending the Bank Lane trail from South Governors Avenue over one block to The Green.

It would maintain existing parking and parking lot entrances, maintain the direction of heavier traffic volume movement (towards the Green) and repurpose the westbound travel lane from travel lane to multi-use trail.

Jim Galvin, principal planner for the Dover/Kent MPO, said taking these small steps will help lead to broader connections for cyclists down the road.

“I think it’s great,” Mr. Galvin said. “The idea of actually having a loop going through the city with connections all through it.

“So, if people have a bike now, they have options for getting around the city and then that connects with other facilities that run outside the city.”

He said the addition of a 1,700-foot trail that will take cyclists from Bank Lane to The Green makes perfect sense, especially in the broader scheme of things.

“This is a way for bicyclists to get through the center of the city,” said Mr. Galvin. “They just (installed) all of the (new) sidewalks on North Street, but they’re not really good for bicycles and North Street’s so thin.

“This is a way to get bicycles from one side of West Street over to The Green. The final step will be to get from The Green to the Capital City Trail and then we’ll have a great connection.”

Mr. Galvin said anybody who missed last Thursday’s public meeting is invited to express their views in writing, giving reasons for, or in opposition to, the proposed bike trail project on Bank Lane.

Comments can be mailed to Mr. Galvin at Dover/Kent MPO, P.O. Box 383 Dover, DE 19903 or emailed to James.Galvin@doverkentmpo.org

Mrs. Marichio-Goudy said one just needs to look around the city of Dover to understand where the future is headed.

“(Bicycles) are the way to go anywhere now,” she said. “I think it’s a state initiative to really just become a number one bicycling state and we’re high up in the ranking nationwide.

“I think that’s just the trend. Everything’s going towards the bikes.”

With this project, it appears that everything is going towards The Green — the historic hub of Dover.

 

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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