The wheels were spinning at the Lewes Public Library June 15.
No, it wasn’t Loopin’ for the Library; although, that is taking place throughout the month of June. The Delaware Department of Transportation teamed up with the Lewes Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Whitman, Requardt & Associates; Rossi Group; and Century Engineering for an interactive public workshop regarding bicycling in Lewes and on the Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail.
Resident Vicki Frazier praised the approach by transportation officials, saying she believes more topics should be addressed in a similar manner. Unlike a traditional slideshow presentation, the interactive workshop isolated each slide and dedicated a professional to address concerns from attendees. Instead of an audience sitting and listening to a single presenter discuss topics slide by slide, residents were afforded an in-depth look at each concept, design or plan in an interactive manner.
The Lewes Bike Plan and Lewes-to-Georgetown Trail were the primary topics of conversation throughout the stations. Attendees discussed the two concepts as they pertain to safety, efficiency and future planning. Dover-based Century Engineering explained the goal with the trail is to connect constructed portions with proposed improvements.
Officials are hoping to install 6.1-mile section of a 10- to 12-foot-wide trail along the state-owned railroad corridor between Fisher Road in the Cool Spring area and Airport Road in Georgetown. About 4.6 miles of the trail will include rail, while the remaining 1.5 miles will be converted rail-to-trail. Alignment of the trail, according to the presentation, will vary to reduce impact to existing rail sidings, utility poles and natural resources. Wetlands exist along the proposed trail and a boardwalk facility is proposed to span the wetlands and avoid permanent impacts. Century Engineering said there will be about 1.5 miles of boardwalk structures.
Images were provided to showcase the proposed trail examples. A rail-to-trail features an unmarked path bordered by fencing, while a rail-with-trail has a lined median and a tall wire fence running adjacent to the railroad. The safety feature at crossings is proposed to be rectangular rapid flashing beacons, which can have various forms of lighting or reflective panels.
The latest phase of the trail is in the design phase. When complete, it will connect the trail from the Cape Henlopen State Park to State Road in Georgetown. Final plans are expected fall 2023, with construction beginning as early as summer 2024.
More information about DelDOT’s future plans and outreach to the biking community is available at deldot.gov/programs/bike/biking_in_delaware. Lewes residents and visitors can provide feedback to the City of Lewes regarding the Lewes Bike Plan at publicinput.com/lewesbikeplan.