DelDOT needs to include Old Landing Road in TID

November 29, 2019

The following letter has been sent to Sussex County Councilman Douglas B. Hudson, with copies sent to Sen. Ernie Lopez, Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf and the Cape Gazette.

The Delaware Department of Transportation’s Henlopen Transportation Improvement District presentation to the Sussex County Council Nov. 19 contains several significant omissions that should call into question elements of DelDOT’s ambitious plan.

For example, Chart 3 - titled “What We Modeled – 2045 Build-out” - shows a golf course at the southern end of Old Landing Road rather than the more than 300 housing units currently under construction there as the Osprey Point development. DelDOT’s map also fails to show the more than 220 units under construction at Sawgrass North, also on Old Landing Road.

DelDOT may argue that such details are unnecessary because Old Landing Road is just outside of the proposed TID – literally by several hundred yards.

But the omissions are important for several reasons.

First, if traffic generated by the Osprey Point and Sawgrass North developments was taken into account, it might warrant inclusion of Old Landing Road in the TID. The 1.5-mile stretch of Old Landing Road from Warrington Road to the Rehoboth Bay is the sole means of access for thousands of people who reside in more than a dozen communities. It’s also the sole access for emergency vehicles and the only way out of the area should an evacuation become necessary.

Second, if DelDOT had to consider Old Landing Road as part of the proposed TID, it might plan something other than a single-lane roundabout at the intersection of Old Landing and Warrington roads, as reported by the Cape Gazette Nov. 22.

Warrington and Plantation roads have become a popular alternative to Coastal Highway, especially during the summer months. Particularly on weekends, it’s common for traffic to back up from the existing four-way stop at Old Landing Road, across John J. Williams Highway and continuing a mile or more along Plantation Road. When this southbound procession of cars is temporarily halted by an existing traffic signal on John J. Williams Highway, places are taken by eastbound and westbound vehicles turning from the highway onto Warrington Road. Replacing the four-way stop at Warrington and Old Landing roads with a roundabout - at which vehicles must yield to traffic already in the circle - could create a situation in which continuous traffic from Warrington Road would make it difficult, if not impossible, for residents of Old Landing Road communities to leave or return to their homes.

While inconvenient for residents, gridlock at a roundabout also would cost precious minutes for police, fire or ambulances responding to calls in Old Landing Road communities south of the Warrington Road intersection.
I request that you enlist your colleagues on the Sussex County Council to encourage DelDOT to include Old Landing Road within the Henlopen TID, to reconsider plans for a single-lane roundabout at the Old Landing-Warrington intersection, and to explore options for creating an additional means of access to and egress from the southern portion of Old Landing Road before further development makes such an important public safety initiative impossible.

Thank you for your consideration.

Pete Harrigan
Rehoboth Beach


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