Examples of CSS in Delaware

Case Study: Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway

Context-Sensitive Solutions have been utilized extensively throughout The Brandywine Valley Byway in New Castle County, Delaware. The 12-mile byway emphasizes the impact of the DuPont family and industrialism on New Castle County as it leads visitors through picturesque northern New Castle County, from Rodney Square in Wilmington to the Delaware-Pennsylvania State Line via traveling on State routes 52 and 100. DelDOT and partner agencies have helped preserve the aesthetic value of this roadway.

On State Route 100 of the Brandywine Valley Byway, various measures were taken to preserve roadside vegetation and mature trees when adding an entrance to a residential development.  These included moving utility poles further from the road with the help of Delmarva Power and lessening the width of the road. Considerations such as these are sensitive to both the environmental and aesthetic resources of the area.

Smith’s Bridge, which is also located on the Brandywine Valley Byway, is a one-lane covered bridge originally built in 1839. The bridge had been updated several times throughout its history, but required more work to meet safety standards. DelDOT officials worked with community members to find design solutions that would not disrupt the landmark covered bridge’s visual qualities, but would improve the safety of its users. Today, Smith’s Bridge remains a one-lane covered bridge, but its sight distances have been improved with a slight realignment of the bridge. A speed limit reduction was also put in place due to safety considerations.

Case Study: Dover, Delaware

Citizens, stakeholders, transportation officials, and government office-holders are getting to work “creating a downtown worthy of the First State.” A variety of measures are being undertaken to revitalize the heart of Dover in Kent County, Delaware.  A Context-Sensitive Solution design process is being used throughout various projects to facilitate community participation.

The Dover Transit Center, built in 2010 with American Reinvestment and Recovery funds, is intended to be a catalyst for growth in downtown Dover. Therefore, the need to plan for the future development of its surrounding neighborhood was recognized. The Dover/ Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization demonstrated its commitment to public participation by inviting citizens to participate in a five-day, intensive workshop whose purpose was to develop content for a neighborhood plan and design book. The public design “charrette” process engaged state and local officials, business owners, community leaders, citizens, and other stakeholders. The design team received direct citizen input by way of roundtable discussion and focus group meetings. Their work culminated in a public presentation of the Dover Transit Center Neighborhood Plan and Design Guidelines, which will be used to guide revitalization of the downtown Dover and leverage transit center assets.

The Downtown Dover Partnership has played a significant role in revitalizing downtown Dover. The Partnership is the result of a merger among the Downtown Dover Development Corporation, Main Street Dover, and the Dover Parking Authority. Its focus is improving and developing the city’s resources. One of the Partnership’s recently completed projects is the development of Loockerman Way Plaza. The Plaza, located in the heart of Dover’s historic retail area, will connect two thoroughfares for pedestrian activity between North and Loockerman Streets. In addition to pedestrian improvements, the project will incorporate mixed-use development, off-street parking, and a landscaped plaza to enhance opportunities for placemaking and public space activities, such as farmer’s markets and Christmas tree lightings.

This project was made possible by cooperation between the Downtown Dover Partnership and the City of Dover. Of the three lots used to create the space for Loockerman Way, two were purchased by the Partnership with a grant from the State of Delaware and one was donated by the city. The State of Delaware also provided additional funding for general improvements to North Street. Then-governor Jack Markell best summed up the spirit of this project at its official opening where he said “This is a project that was formulated by people in the community, people within government, people outside of government, the business community, community organizations who said, ‘We have a vision, and we’d like to have your help.’”

Efforts to improve Dover are have been bolstered by inclusive planning practices. The success of Loockerman Way Plaza and the neighborhood plan and design book illustrate the benefits of community visioning and involvement in the planning process.

Case Study: Bethany Beach Garfield Parkway

Bethany Beach’s Garfield Parkway, located in coastal Sussex County, Delaware, has a variety of contexts. It is a business district, lined with shops and restaurants.  The center of the parkway provides parking lot for shoppers and beach goers. Motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists all share the parkway. Recognizing that these competing contexts were compromising safety, DelDOT began a streetscape project in cooperation with the Town of Bethany Beach to provide better, safer access to all Garfield Parkway users.

The renovation of Garfield Parkway, which will be complete May 2015, upgrades the level of service experienced by all parkway users. The project will include sidewalk widening, additional pedestrian crossings, upgraded curb ramps, new lighting fixtures, landscaping, and improved signage for bicycle lanes. Complete Street principles have been integrated within the streetscape plans to ensure that Garfield Parkway safely accommodates travelers of all ages and abilities—motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists—including children, nondrivers, older adults, and persons with disabilities.

The improvements being made to Garfield Parkway are Context-Sensitive Solutions. Garfield Parkway’s renovation exemplifies a core tenet of CSS—to create multi-modal transportation systems that will enhance the safety and needs of motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists exemplify.  Improved walkability can help revitalize a downtown, increase private investment, lead to higher property values, promote tourism, support the development of a good business climate, and contribute to placemaking.

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