Connected communities better for emergency response times

July 14, 2023

The growth of Sussex County over the last few decades has resulted in thousands of new homes spread across rural southern Delaware. Most of the major subdivisions with 100 homes or more are built with one entrance/exit.

As the space between these communities begins to fill in, interconnectivity becomes an increasingly important issue.

Recently, Sussex County officials have heard from residents of two Lewes communities who want to install a gate between their community and another. Both communities view interconnection as a safety issue for residents; they say a connection would encourage more drivers to cut through their development as a shortcut to avoid traffic on the main roads.

When Lewes officials considered the site plan for what is now known as Olde Town at Lewes, residents from two adjacent communities spoke against interconnectivity for similar reasons.

Each situation is unique. What might create a safety issue in one case may not in the other. It is important that Sussex County officials carefully analyze these cases, and others that may come before them in the future. But what’s most important is that Sussex officials encourage and require interconnectivity, whether it is open and free-flowing or available only to bicyclists, pedestrians and emergency responders.

At a Coastal Corridors meeting earlier this year, Glenn Marshall of Sussex County Emergency Medical Services said response times for him and his colleagues are often faster if they do not have to travel on Route 9. He said interconnected communities could further improve response times.

If public safety is truly the issue at hand, communities should not be against interconnectivity. Gates should be examined on a case-by-case basis, but vehicular access should be required in all possible situations. People’s lives could depend on it. 


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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