Hudson-Hughes Highway: Opposition often helps create better plans

July 17, 2018

We are writing to set the record straight with respect to what has come to be known as the Hudson-Hughes Highway.

We want to make the public aware of the history of the idea to use the 66-foot state-owned railroad right-of-way and why we think the idea of installing a road and a trail within the ROW has merit. The ROW formerly served a freight train as recently as last year.

It's no secret that the planning and funding of improvements of our state-owned transportation infrastructure has not kept pace with population growth. The two of us did some brainstorming and came up with the idea in November 2017. The work was performed and funded by the two of us simply because we feel the idea has enough merit for serious consideration by the public, state and local agencies, and stakeholders.

Most of the people we have discussed the idea with believe the idea deserves serious consideration, whether it is ultimately implemented or not. It's only an idea that we're putting forth. We think it should have the opportunity for a proper evaluation so that the public and state officials can decide for themselves if the potential benefits and positive impacts would outweigh the potential negative impacts.

We came up with the idea prior to the formation of the Five Points Transportation Study Working Group, so when we were asked to be part of the group of volunteers we were excited at the opportunity to serve our community. When we were asked for ideas as part of that group, we naturally proposed the idea of the road and trail that we'd been working on. Since any idea needs a catchy name and it was just the two of us working on the concept, we decided to call it the Hudson-Hughes Highway.

We've also been requesting to formally present the idea to the public since December 2017. Unfortunately, our requests have been ignored, and we have not been allowed to present the idea and concepts we developed to the public.

That's despite multiple verbal or in-person submissions, as well as six written submissions to DelDOT officials over the past seven-plus months. While some discussions occurred during official working group meetings, our requests to be placed on the agenda for a formal presentation such that the public could view what we were proposing were never honored. We simply wanted the idea to be on a meeting agenda for a formal presentation and we noted to DelDOT our desire: "to present this option to the Working Group and just as importantly to the public."

We're just private citizens from longtime Sussex County families raising our own families in the Five Points area while trying to plan for future generations. We have nothing against the trail. Each option we have proposed includes a trail. Additionally, our concepts allow for better emergency vehicle access to the trail than what the state proposed. We simply see an opportunity to use a resource more efficiently than what the state has proposed, and we were asking for the chance for the public and state/local agencies to have an opportunity to evaluate that for themselves.

Whether you are for or against it, we are interested in talking to you.

Opposition often helps create better plans. We are not pushing for construction; we are simply asking for the idea to be properly vetted by professionals and amateurs alike as part of a possible solution for the entire Five Points area, and not just immediately killed.

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