Delaware ranked No. 4 among Bicycle Friendly States

Bike Month brings latest ranking from League of American Bicyclists

Dover – Kicking off National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest ranking of Bicycle Friendly States. In the seventh annual assessment, Delaware ranked No. 4 nationally, while placing No. 1 in the East and receiving 55.7 points out of 100.

Delaware ranked No. 5 in the League’s 2013 ranking, but ranked No. 31 as recently as 2008. The only states that rank above Delaware in 2014 are Washington, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

“Making Delaware a more bike-friendly state is a central piece of our efforts to ensure Delaware continues to be an attractive place to live, raise a family, and retire,” said Markell. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the seriousness with which leaders across our state, from the administration to the General Assembly to community advocates, have taken our work to extend the reach of existing trails and pathways, while constructing new trails where the opportunities are greatest.”

The Bicycle Friendly States (BFS) ranking is based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; education and encourage programs that promote cycling; and passage and enforcement of bicycle-friendly laws that make it safe and comfortable for people of all ages to ride.

The League gave Delaware high marks for its bicycle-friendly policies and programs as well as its education and encouragement of biking among the public. Its annual report card noted new commitments by the state involving bicycle education for police and an emphasis on bicycle safety in strategic highway planning. The League also recognized the potential of a number of projects underway, including city-suburb bikeway connections on the Wilmington-New Castle Greenway, as well as development of the Georgetown-Lewes Trail and Wilmington-Newark bikeway.

“Delaware’s move up nationally from fifth to fourth place is yet another major step on the move towards making Delaware the most bicycle friendly state in America,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “We’ve made major strides in the last two years, under the Governor’s leadership and with our partners, building and connecting trails throughout Delaware. With 74 percent of Delawareans walking or running, this effort is critical to our state’s health, our environment and our economy.  We’re on the right track and on the move toward number-one.”

“Receiving national recognition for the hard work of all involved in our efforts to create a more walkable/bikeable Delaware is truly gratifying,” said DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt.  “The trails and pathways that  have been completed or are under construction across our state, as well as those now in the planning stages, deliver on our commitment to provide a transportation system that serves all of our citizens, while building more inter-connected and safer communities.  All Delawareans can be justifiably proud of the ranking our state has achieved.”

The BFS program is more than an annual assessment. Throughout the year, League staff will work actively with state officials and advocacy leaders to help Delaware identify and implement the programs, policies and campaigns that will improve conditions for bicyclists.

“We are excited and encouraged to see real progress in states like California, Minnesota and Utah,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “Overall, we still see a lot of opportunity to realize the huge potential of bicycling to promote health, economic development, and quality of life.”

Learn more about the BFS program at

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program

The Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business and Bicycle Friendly University programs are generously supported by program partner Trek Bicycle. Learn more about the Bicycle Friendly America program at

About the League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful unified voice for change. For more information or to support the League, visit


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Delaware Office of Highway Safety and Department of Transportation Launch Pedestrian Safety Education Campaign

Realistic Walk Smart pedestrian crash demonstration shows life-or-death necessity of slowing down

(WILMINGTON, REHOBOTH BEACH) DE – Delaware’s pedestrian safety education campaign kicked off this week with demonstrations of the effects of speed on pedestrian safetyin New Castle County and Sussex County. The “Walk Smart” campaign, a collaborative effort between the Office of Highway Safety (OHS), the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), and state and local law enforcement with other partners, is meant to educate the public about safe walking and crossing practices to improve safety on the road. The campaign comes at a significant time as May has trended as highest for pedestrian crashes in Delaware.

“Speed is one factor that is almost always the difference between life and death when it comes to pedestrian crashes,” said Jana Simpler, Director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, which is coordinating the Walk Smart campaign with DelDOT.

“Even one pedestrian crash on our roadways is too many, and we are working hard to create strategies to eliminate these crashes,” Simpler said at the kick-off events. “Although quite simple, this message is vitally important.”

To drive home this point, the events included a demonstration of vehicle stopping time and distance, featuring a wire-frame model of a child crossing the street. At 25 mph, the vehicle stops in time. At 35 mph, the car slams into the model with devastating force.

“The lesson here is clear,” said Adam Weiser, DelDOT Safety Programs Manager. “If a pedestrian is struck by a car going 25 mph or slower, the odds of survival are good. At speeds above 35 mph, the impact is likely to be fatal.”

Every eight minutes a pedestrian or cyclist is injured on our nation’s roadways. From 2012-2013, 754 reportable pedestrian crashes occurred on Delaware’s roadways; 75 percent occurred in New Castle County with most in the Wilmington area. Sussex County has also experienced an increase in pedestrian crashes. There were 20 pedestrian-related crashes along Route 1 from Lewes to Fenwick Island from 2011-2013.

“The vast majority of these crashes can be prevented if drivers reduce their speed and pedestrians use care along roadways. Educating the public about pedestrian fatalities and how to prevent them will certainly help save lives and make our roads safer,” said Lewis D. Schiliro, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

In an effort to combat these statistics, the Walk Smart campaign involves a combination of law enforcement stopping violators and educating them about safe walking and crossing practices and public awareness activities. OHS and DelDOT along with state and local police departments will conduct pedestrian safety patrols along roadways with high pedestrian crashes. The agencies will distribute pedestrian safety informational materials that highlight safe pedestrian practices along with reflective items with the “Walk Smart” message.

“Troopers will continue to emphasize and bring awareness that pedestrian crashes often result in deadly consequences,” said Sergeant Paul G. Shavack, Director of Public Information for the Delaware State Police. “The key to stopping these predictable and preventable incidents from occurring is through education and targeted enforcement for the safety of both pedestrians and motorists. Troopers will focus enforcement efforts on pedestrians who are crossing at areas other than designated crosswalks, walking along a roadway when a sidewalk is available, as well as motorists who fail to obey laws designed to ensure pedestrian safety.” 

In an effort to further enhance the Walk Smart campaign, Christiana Care and Beebe Healthcare have joined forces to provide education about the devastating effects of pedestrian crashes.

“At Christiana Care, we all too often are called upon to provide emergency care for our neighbors who are injured while they are walking,” said Glen Tinkoff, M.D., associate vice chair of surgery for emergency surgical services at Christiana Care Health System, which includes Delaware’s only level one adult trauma center, at Christiana Hospital. “We welcome this opportunity to partner with our state leaders to educate the public about pedestrian safety through Walk Smart.”

Pictures and video of the demonstration can be found on OHS YouTube and Facebook pages.  To learn more about the campaign, visit



Heels & Wheels: Delaware Walk & Bike Summit

For the first time ever, recreational trail users and active trail transportation commuters are gathering together for the Heels and Wheels Delaware Walk & Bike Summit 2014. The summit, designed to bring walkers, hikers, bicycle and mountain bike riders, and runners together for an educational conference, is being held at the University of Delaware’s Clayton Hall in Newark.

“The evidence is clear that many economic benefits come with trail development,” said Governor Jack Markell. “They improve quality of life, make Delaware a more attractive place to live, and help support businesses. We’ve made progress creating new and better trails and pathways, whether for recreation or commuting, and this summit will help us keep that effort moving forward.”

The summit will bring together some 250 participants, including trail commuters, recreational trail users, trail managers, businesses and planners.

“Today’s conference is a great opportunity to further integrate our goals of providing  viable transportation alternatives for connecting people with their jobs, schools  and other destinations, while concurrently offering wonderful recreational opportunities to our citizens and visitors that can contribute to healthier lifestyles,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “With Governor Markell’s leadership and working with our many partners in local and state government, the private sector and non-profit organizations, we have made huge strides in making these goals real. I am extremely grateful to all of today’s participants and their many and varied contributions to this effort, and look forward to our future successes together.”

“At DelDOT, we are committed to the idea that bicycling and walking are important pieces of the transportation network, and an important investment for our state’s future,” said DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt. “We are not just about building roads. We are about providing other alternatives, creating and sustaining walkable, bikeable communities where multiple modes of transportation safely work together as the ideal transportation system.”

The summit’s keynote speaker is Dan Burden, a leading national expert on planning sustainable communities for walking and bicycling. Burden, Executive Director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, has spent more than 35 years getting the world “back on its feet,” by helping 3,500 communities become more livable and walkable.

“Delaware’s transportation for the future will create greater discovery, pleasure and exchange,” said Burden. “We’ll see stronger hearts and less stewing and sitting.”

Burden’s efforts have not only earned him the first-ever lifetime achievement award issued by the New Partners for Smart Growth and the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals, but in 2001, he was named by TIME magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.”

The Heels & Wheels Summit is a collaboration of the Delaware Recreation & Parks Society; DNREC’s Division of Parks and Recreation; DelDOT Planning; the Delaware Bicycle Council; the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization;  the Wilmington Area Planning Council; and Nemours Health and Prevention Services.

Construction Underway on Three-Year SR 26 Improvements Project

$57 Million Investment Will Improve Traffic for Businesses, Residents & Beach Visitors

Bethany Beach – A special project briefing to mark the start of construction of the State Route 26, Atlantic Avenue, Clarksville to Assawoman Canal Improvements Project was held today for Governor Jack Markell, Route 26 Construction Advisory Group members, and the media at the South Coastal Library.

Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, the DelDOT Design Team, and Delaware-based George & Lynch Construction detailed the history, scope and schedule of the project, which is designed to address the high frequency of traffic tie-ups, poorly designed intersections, insufficient pedestrian and bicycling facilities, and drainage problems.

“This project addresses significant needs for everyone who travels State Route 26,” said Governor Markell. “It also exemplifies the public safety and economic benefits we can realize by investing to meet Delaware’s transportation infrastructure needs. Better transportation means economic expansion and job growth, whether it’s near our beaches where visitors and locals expect safe and smooth roadways, or anywhere across our state where businesses and families want to build their futures.”

While the State is funding a portion of the project (20%), a significant amount (80%) is provided through federal funding.

“I’m thrilled this project is underway thanks to the federal and state funding that I’ve been working to secure for years, along with the governor and the rest of the Congressional delegation,” said Senator Tom Carper. “Widening State Route 26 will ease congestion for both beachgoers and more importantly for emergency vehicles. As a major road to the hospital and an evacuation route, it’s critical that Route 26 be better equipped to get people and vehicles to and from the beach areas and residential communities, especially in the case of an extreme weather event. The bike lanes included in this project will be another shot in the arm to the tourism industry in Sussex County, allowing for visitors and residents alike to bike safely to the beach from in-land communities. It is my hope that more bikes on the bike paths will also mean fewer vehicles on the road.”

“Improving driver safety and reducing traffic congestion on Delaware roads is imperative to the quality of life standards for those who live in and visit the First State,” said Senator Coons. “The influx of traffic during the summer season on Route 26 has an adverse effect on year-round residents as well as the hundreds of thousands of tourists that drive our state’s economy. The federal government’s significant investment in this project will play an integral role in the continued economic development of the area and will undoubtedly improve traffic flow and improve safety for all users.”

“The state’s economy and Delawareans’ quality of life depend on a safe, modern infrastructure,” said Congressman Carney.  “The investment being made in Rt. 26 by the federal and state governments will make it easier to travel in Sussex County throughout the year, and especially during the summer months when traffic is a major concern.  I’m looking forward to these improvements that will support commerce, address environmental needs, and make it easier for everyone driving through this part of our state.”

Route 26 runs east and west linking Delaware Route 1 – and the state’s famous beach resorts – with US 113, and points further west.  It bisects commercial and residential development, facilitates first-responder traffic and is designated as an emergency evacuation route.

Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt explained, “With Spring approaching, the construction phase of the Route 26 project is getting underway. You’ve probably noticed more workers clearing brush and trees along the roadside, utility crews moving lines and poles and a few more construction vehicles being driven to work sites. So we’re here to explain what you can expect to see in the months ahead. And we’re here to ensure that we maintain a responsive – and responsible – dialogue between residents, business owners, contractors and your state government about the job that lies ahead of us.”

Construction of the four-mile long project will widen the existing two-lane roadway to include two eleven-foot travel lanes with five-foot shoulder/bike lanes and a twelve-foot wide continuous shared center left turn lane. The segment of Route 26 from Clarksville to west of Railway Road will be an “open section of roadway,” meaning there will be no curbing or gutters. The section from west of Railway Road to the Assawoman Canal will be a “closed section of roadway,” having both curbing and gutters with drainage into an underground pipe system. Five-foot wide sidewalks will be provided from Windmill Road to the Assawoman Canal.

Jill Frey, Project Engineer for Century Engineering explained that the project team understands how difficult construction can be for motorists as well as for those who live and work within the project limits. To minimize construction time, DelDOT is allowing work to occur both day and night in multiple areas within the project area at the same time. Traffic delays will be monitored daily.

Chris Baker, Executive Vice President for George & Lynch, outlined the many challenges that will be faced performing this project. He noted that the severe winter weather has posed their first challenge. However, traffic and commuting hours are going to present bigger hurdles for them to complete this project in a timely fashion. Mr. Baker pointed out that George & Lynch have been building roads since 1923, and they feel that there aren’t any obstacles that they can’t overcome, saying, “We are looking forward to making this section of Route 26 a safer and hopefully less congested road for the residents, tourist and businesses in Sussex County.”

In addition to minimizing construction time, work times and lane restrictions were established to reduce disruption. During the peak tourist season (May 16 through September 30) lane closures, shoulder closures and lane shifts will not be permitted from 6 a.m. Friday to 7 p.m. Monday. Lane shifts and shoulder closures will be permitted only between Tuesday, 6 a.m. through Thursday 7 p.m. During this period lane closures will be allowed during the nighttime hours Monday through Thursday.

During the off peak Season (October 1 through May 15) lane closures, shoulder closures and lane shifts will be permitted at all times except between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to facilitate the morning traffic.

Following the formal presentation, elected officials and media were invited to tour the project site with Governor Markell, Secretary Bhatt, and the project team.

Questions or concerns regarding the project can be addressed to the project field office:

Ken Cimino – On-Site Public Outreach Coordinator

Field Mailing Address:   17 Atlantic Ave. Suite 2, Ocean View, DE 19970

Office – (302) 616-2621

 More information is available on the DelDOT Route 26 Project Website:

Governor Markell Proposes Plan for Funding Transportation Investments for Delaware’s Future

$500 Million Increase over five years would improve roads and bridges, create jobs, and implement recommendations of Transportation Trust Fund Task Force

Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell is asking legislators and Delawareans to support an increase in the state motor fuels tax as part of a plan to create a reliable revenue stream for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), significantly boost spending on transportation projects statewide and put thousands of Delawareans to work over the next five years.

 Delaware’s motor fuels tax has not been increased in the last 19 years (since 1995). The rates are .23 cents per gallon for gasoline and .22 cents per gallon for special fuels, including diesel.    A ten-cent-per-gallon increase in motor fuel and special fuel taxes would generate an additional $50M for the trust fund that pays for roads, bridges and other essential transportation elements.  The estimated additional cost to motorists would by $57 per year or $4.78 per month.

Under Governor’s Markell’s plan, increased motor fuels tax revenues would be coupled with a fiscally-responsible borrowing strategy that keeps DelDOT on track to paying down debt.  Fifty million dollars would be borrowed each year for five years by DelDOT to fund already-identified, but delayed construction projects that address safety, congestion and maintenance needs under the State’s Capital Transportation Plan, Paving program and State of Good Repair initiative.  The combination of $50 million in new revenue and $50 million in borrowing would pay for an additional $500 million dollar investment in transportation projects statewide over five years.

Since 1999, the TTF has been dependent on fluctuating monies from state escheat funds.  It has also been financially challenged for many years by a combination of stagnant or flat revenue streams, residual debt, rising operating and construction costs, increased transit expenses, ongoing maintenance requirements, and steadily rising demand for new projects to keep pace with economic expansion and traffic growth.   These challenges have caused the postponement or delay of more than 55 road projects in the current fiscal year.   Deferral of projects leads to higher future costs in system maintenance, construction costs and right-of-way acquisition.

The Governor is acting on recommendations of the Transportation Trust Fund Task Force

The Governor’s proposal comes in response to recommendations made by a bi-partisan Transportation Trust Fund Task Force, established by House Bill 500 (Section 112), composed of 24 members representing the Delaware General Assembly, various state agencies and other stakeholders form the public and private sectors.  In establishing the Task Force, legislators recognized the need for a comprehensive review of transportation demands and funds available to meet to the state’s needs, calling for “predictable and sustainable funding to improve and maintain Delaware’s transportation system.” 

“The TTF has experienced insufficient revenues over a significant period, managed only by the delay of necessary capital projects, in order to size the budget to meet available revenues.”

from the 2011 Transportation Trust Fund Task Force Report


 DelDOT has made considerable effort over the last two years to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency as part of the Governor’s Performance Review process.  These actions included reducing consultant costs, reducing overtime, limiting cell phone usage, renegotiating contracts, eliminating vacant positions, improved technology and service delivery to increase efficiencies and reduce waste.

In addition, in the last two fiscal years the agency did not increase its operating budget and has reduced its debt while introducing performance management principles in every operating division, adopting a data-driven process for developing the state’s Capital Transportation Plan and restructuring its transit operations to achieve financial sustainability.

As significant as these actions are in creating efficiency and controlling costs, they alone are not enough to close the gap necessary to adequately fund the TTF.

Statements from the Governor, Secretary of Transportation and others supporting the plan


Governor Jack Markell said, “When it comes to funding transportation, there are no Democrat bridges or Republican roads.  Citizens and legislators know we have numerous unmet transportation needs in our state, yet we have asked DelDOT to labor under a funding process that has been broken for more than a decade.  The costs of not fixing it are real in terms of projects delayed, jobs not created, safety compromised and economic growth hindered.  Now is the time to repair the situation and spur our state’s economy forward.”

Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt said, “Efficient transportation agencies that are responsive to the people they serve need consistent and reliable funding from year to year, and decade to decade.  Without it, needed projects take longer to plan, become more expensive to build, and can sometimes be delayed for months or years beyond when they should have been built.  Our planners and engineers, as well as our industry partners, need the certainty that a properly-funded transportation trust fund provides.  Motorists need to know the roads they will be driving on now and in the future are as safe and congestion free as we can reasonably make them.”

Paul Morrill, Executive Director of the Committee of 100 and member of the Transportation Trust Fund Task Force said, “It was just obvious to the Task Force when we were meeting as we learned all of the challenges facing the Trust Fund that we were going to have to do something about it. I think that task force report has stood the test of time, so I’m glad to see that we’re moving toward implementing it… It’s not a partisan issue. It’s a competition issue, however. As the Governor often points out, we’re in a global competition in a global economy and without a world class infrastructure, we’re simply not going to be competitive. And that’s what our surrounding states have all recognized. We need to make this investment… It’s unprecedented I think the level of cooperation between the broad based business community and labor around a single issue.”

Ted Williams, President of Landmark Science & Engineering, former chairman of American Council of Engineering Companies of Delaware, and Chair of the Transportation Trust Fund Task Force said, “This is a very minimal impact on the average household in Delaware… but it’s going to be a major impact as an economic driver on the State of Delaware. Also, it’s going to be able to bring projects forward, especially the safety projects that are very instrumental in keeping our citizens safe, [and those that] allow our citizens to move around the state. It will also allow us to attract new businesses to Delaware and also keep the businesses in Delaware that are currently here.”

Sam Lathem, President Delaware State AFL-CIO said,We need jobs and I can stand here and say I think [the Governor has] come up with the best way to do that in the borrowing and the revenue part of it. And so we knew it would cost and I think we all were at the place where we were ready to take that on… We stand united. We stand supporting the Governor and the Administration in trying to create jobs and put working men and women back to work.”

 Transportation Investment Plan Facts


Transportation Trust Fund Task Force Recommendations

 Delaware’s Transportation Trust Fund Task Force recommended several revenue-generating alternatives, including an increase in the state gasoline tax, in order to “correct a structural problem in the TTF.”  The Task Force developed a list of options to address the TTF financial challenge.  The options included (but were not limited to):

  • Transferring DelDOT operating costs from the TTF back to the General Fund, over an extended period of time;
  • Transit fees and greater general fund support for paratransit;
  • Increasing one or more of the traditional trust fund revenues (tolls, gas taxes, DMV fees);
  • Creating new fees payable by the general public and/or the users of the public infrastructure or Department services;
  • Increasing the TTT borrowing, thereby requiring less new revenues;
  • Decreasing the TTF borrowing, thereby requiring more new revenues;
  • Using one or more techniques of innovative transportation financing (e.g. a lease concession on existing/to be built toll roads) with appropriate oversight of any proposed transaction by Executive and Legislative leaders


The Task Force left the selection of revenue alternatives for consideration of implementation to the Governor and the General Assembly.

The Task Force studied the entire transportation program for the period Fiscal Year 2012-2023 and concluded that total spending for transportation expenses over the period could reasonably be estimated to total $12.4 billion and that current revenue streams will support only 70% of those needs.  The result of that imbalance, if not corrected, says the report, will be either the elimination of all new capital projects by 2017 or severe reductions in the Department’s Core Program resulting in an accelerated deterioration of Delaware’s transportation infrastructure.

The national recession of 2007-2009 caused TTF revenue decreases.  The Task Force expressed concern about the potential negative impact such deterioration would have on the state’s economic competitiveness and ability to attract jobs.

The Transportation Trust Fund Task Force report also said that due to ongoing pressure on the General Fund and the inconsistent nature of the Escheat transfer to the Department, the Task Force decided that in order to represent a more accurate needs scenario, all future receipts of escheat funds should be removed from the financial projections and needs analysis.


Current and Proposed State Motor Fuel Taxes


The last increase in the Delaware motor fuel tax occurred in 1995.  From 1995 through 2013, motor fuel tax revenues have grown by 25%, while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 51%.

Over the next 7 years (FY 2014-FY 2020), motor fuel tax revenues are forecasted to decrease by 0.8% annually while the CPI has been increasing at an annual average rate of 2.4%.

The current Delaware Motor Fuel Tax rates are $.23 per gallon of gasoline and $.22 per gallon of special fuels.

The proposed rates would be $.33 per gallon of gasoline and $.32 per gallon of special fuels, with indexing to CPI.

Impact on Average Consumer

The average motorist drives 13,476 miles annually, averaging 23.5 miles-per-gallon, purchasing  573 gallons of gas a year.  573 gallons X $.10 = $57 additional cost annually, which equates to $4.78 additional per month.

Comparison with Other States in the Region


  • PA  full tax plan to be phased in by 2018. From current $0.418 + $0.19 to $0.608 per gallon.


  • MD estimate based on anticipated CPI and Sales Tax by 2016.  From current $0.270 + $0.165 to $0.43 per gallon.


  • NJ is $0.145 per gallon.


  • NY is $0.499 per gallon.


  • CT is $0.493 per gallon.


Risks and Returns on Transportation Investments for Delaware’s Future


What is the risk of doing nothing?

  • Escalated infrastructure deterioration, where pavement conditions worsen; pavement reconstruction costs are 5X more than preservation
  • Bridge conditions decline
  • Delayed safety and capacity improvements
  • Increased congestion on roadways
  • DMV wait times increase
  • Risk of losing federal funding
  • Employment impacts on the contracting community
  • Potential adverse impact to credit rating

 What is the return on investment?

  • Maintain a safe and reliable transportation system
  • Put thousands of people back to work
  • Fix a shortfall in revenues in the Transportation Trust Fund
  • Create a sustain stream of revenue
  • Maintain long term financial viability for DelDOT and transportation projects