Rehoboth: Build a bridge to the future

November 8, 2016

We said it in this space on Friday, but it bears saying again. Tuesday, Nov. 8, may be the most anticipated Election Day in decades. Hard-fought battles at the top of the ticket have all but drowned out significant local contests that could in the end have as great an impact on our lives as decisions at the top. Don’t let this election pass you by. Your right to vote is precious. Exercise it.

In the midst of election drama, Rehoboth played host to land-use planner Ed McMahon, who told a large crowd at Rehoboth fire hall that no place preserves its appeal by accident.

Rehoboth is special, he said, but it will take careful attention to keep it that way. “You grow by chance or you grow by choice,” he said. Among the choices he sees as paramount: Encouraging homes built on a family scale as opposed to bulky structures designed for the rental market, preserving trees and landscaping and investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

Rehoboth recently passed an ordinance restricting the size of houses relative to lot size. McMahon suggested, in addition, offering incentives to encourage developers to comply with preferred design standards.

Rehoboth has long recognized trees are key to its charm, and planning is now underway to further improve the city’s tree canopy and ensure it will last into the future.

McMahon also said if we plan for cars, we will get cars. While budgets in Lewes and Dewey as well as Rehoboth all rely on parking revenue, McMahon noted millennials and baby boomers alike want walkable neighborhoods and safe bike paths.

If there is one place in Rehoboth where city officials should heed McMahon’s call to invest in bicycle infrastructure, it’s at the gateway to Rehoboth, the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal bridge, where DelDOT has proposed allowing both pedestrians and cyclists traveling in and out of Rehoboth to share the same sidewalk.

Before DelDOT creates this accident waiting to happen, Rehoboth officials should appoint a task force to envision and develop a safe, attractive alternative: a bridge to the future of the city.

  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.