Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Atta'state Delaware! Delaware Allocates $13 Million for Bikes and Pedestrians

Hooray for Delaware!
Hours after Congress diluted dedicated bicycle and pedestrian funds, the Delaware Legislature approved $13.25 million dollars for the planning and construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities. This money, for the 2013 fiscal year, represents a 90% increase in state funding.

The political lift to accomplish this task was not a light one, but a supportive governor, a forward-thinking DOT secretary, key legislators, a state bicycle advisory committee, and an advocacy group that kept on message all made this bold leap forward possible. This May the League of American Bicyclists ranked Delaware as the 10th most bike friendly state and this timely injection of funding could help propel the state to the top of the Bike Friendly State rankings in 2013.

This burst of funding comes on top of other infrastructure gains in Delaware: currently there are four major trail projects under construction including the long awaited cross state C&D Canal Trail. Bike lanes have been added to two major bridges and a new website tracks the status of trails projects throughout the state.

Delaware, with a population of just over 900,000, is just 1/6th of the total size of the bi-state DVRPC region. An equivalent per capita investment in our region would amount to $80 million per year. That sum would create more than 100 miles of bike lanes, sidewalks and paths annually. $80 million would account for about 8% of the total regional transportation budget. Considering that bicyclists and pedestrians make up about 7% of total work trips and account for 25% of the traffic deaths, $80 million dollars does not sound like an unreasonable number.

Delaware's Trails and Pathways Map