No Route 1 solutions without serious planning

October 10, 2013

I read with interest Secretary of Transportation Bhatt's comment "If highway planners were building Route 1 in the Cape Region today ..." how different it would be today. My question is, if a bus trip is done in 2033, will the future secretary of transportation be saying the same thing?

It is a transportation reality that if a region fails to apply the 3C's of planning - comprehensive, continuous, and cooperative - they will more than likely build themselves into a transportation mess. While the bus trip is focusing on pedestrians, the reality is Route 1 is the mess it is now because professional regional planning was never applied. And I dare say, that it is not being applied today, and unlikely it will be in the future without strong leadership.

As long as key state organizations and Sussex County disregard the 3C's, we will continue to have transportation nightmares. What is the secretary doing to assure the we are not building more nightmares right now on Route 24, Route 1 north of Lewes, Plantation Road, Route 26, or Route 54? In Millsboro, Long Neck, or Lewes on Kings Highway? And now, in the Love Creek area?

Over the last three years, I attended at least five workshops where regional planning was the topic. We had DelDOT reps, Office of State Planning reps, officials from Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, heck even Henlopen Acres, all supporting regional planning. We had major land owners and developers. But, Mr Secretary, no Sussex County representation, no Sussex County support.

As long as zoning is done independently of comprehensive, continuous, and cooperative planning, as long as the county is allowed to go without a professional community planner, as long as the state continues to be intimidated by the county, I dare say, Secretary Bhatt, the 2033 bus trip will reach the same conclusion.

So, here is my wish. May the governor looking for legacy, may the speaker looking for legislative solutions, may the secretary looking for the right projects 1) endorse the 3C's; 2) establish a formal planning structure; and 3) require all parties - state, federal, county, city, and private sector - to sit down and work together.

And if any jurisdiction, like Sussex County, refuses to show up, plays passive aggressive or otherwise ideologically disregards the process, spend the capital money elsewhere. I am sure other cities, towns and counties around the state would be more than willing to work together for a new pot of money.

PS: As we speak, the county is approving and considering more zoning changes in eastern Sussex County without any regard for infrastructure. When you hear the county say, "It is our responsibility to zone, it is the DOT's responsibility to provide access, you know darn well they are not working together.

Ted Ferragut

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