There's a plan to have Governor Printz Boulevard go on a road diet. Ken Mammarella photo

Plan promotes rail service, bicycling, walking, EV charging

Ken MammarellaHeadlines, Government

There's a plan to have Governor Printz Boulevard go on a road diet. Ken Mammarella photo

There’s a plan to have Governor Printz Boulevard go on a road diet, from Claymont to Wilmington. Ken Mammarella photo

Railroad passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians and charging stations for electric vehicles are all important parts of the Wilmington Area Planning Council’s $2.8 billion 2025-2028 Transportation Improvement Plan.

Yes, there are also some projects that clearly are for gas-powered motor vehicles, but alternative means of transportation are increasingly being prioritized.

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The council in its latest newsletter cites seven “federally funded and regionally significant projects expected over the next four years”:

  • Diamond State Rail Line study: A study of passenger rail service from Wilmington or Newark to Dover, Harrington and Berlin, or Salisbury, Maryland.
  • Hares Corner grade-separated intersection: Redesign of the intersection of routes 13 and 273 – near New Castle, and Delaware’s busiest – to reduce congestion and provide for safer driving, walking and bicycling.
  • Governor Printz Boulevard road diet: Reducing the space for motor vehicles between Philadelphia Pike in Claymont and East 35th Street in Wilmington, to decrease speed, increase safety and allow for other forms of transportation.
  • Route 40 between Route 13 and the Maryland line multimodal improvements: Shared pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians along the Pulaski Highway.
  • Sears Boulevard extension: Connection to the industrial properties along Crowell Road, west of Newport.
  • Single-lane roundabouts: Work on Bear Road and Reybold Drive, south of New Castle; Bunker Hill and Sandhill roads, Middletown; Bunker Hill Road and Merrimac Avenue, Middletown; and St. Anne’s Church and Summit Bridge roads, in Middletown.
  • National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program in Cecil County.

More on the plan for the road diet

The road diet for Governor Printz is welcome news for Brett Saddler, executive director of the Claymont Renaissance Development Corp.

For one thing, the dedicated lane along Governor Printz is part of a plan to increase access to green space in the Claymont area, he said, citing trails existing or planned that link the Claymont Library, Woods Haven Kruse Park, Knollwood, the Claymont Train Station, Claymont’s commercial center, Bellevue State Park and Fox Point State Park.

“We’re in a competition to attract new residences and businesses who care about recreational and out activities,” he said.

RELATED: Delaware wants to put Foulk Road on a diet

Part of the access should also address the Philadelphia Pike bridge over Interstate 495, he hopes, noting that he would like it to become nicer and safer for pedestrians walking between the train station and other Claymont’s residential center. True, pedestrians could reach the station by heading down Myrtle Avenue, toward the old station, and then follow a new trail.

“The bridge has created a chasm between Claymont and North Claymont,” he said.

For another, it would fill a “missing link” on the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway, which (sort of) goes from Maine to Florida. “Things are coming together to fix this gap,” he said.

The greenway now goes down Route 13 in Pennsylvania and officially continues along Route 13 (now called Philadelphia Pike) in Delaware until it veers off onto Governor Printz for two miles or so until heading west on the Cauffiel Parkway. But that current routing is merely designating a road, shared with motor vehicles. The road diet would dedicate a lane.

More on other plans

The railroad plan is being studied through this summer by the Delaware Transit Corp, a Delaware Department of Transportation unit.

The traffic lights for Hares Corner could be replaced by an overpass and cloverleaf ramps, like what now exists at routes 13 and 141, a mile or so to the north. The project is budgeted at $469 million, with a completion date of 2045, DelawareLIVE has reported.

The roundabouts largely reflect ways to handle the tremendous growth that the Middletown area has had over the last few decades.

Route 40 is almost a century old. The five-mile stretch that the project covers increasingly looks like suburban sprawl, particularly near Bear.

The electric vehicle program is a federal effort that significantly subsidizes the installation and maintenance of charging stations.

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