Avid long distance runners Dave and Cecilia Moses have noticed some of the perils and challenges that face not just them during their regular jogs but for bicyclists as well in the city of Dover.
Part of the reason Dave Moses has been so keen on bike and pedestrian safety stems from his role as director of cycling support for the annual Amish Country Bike Tour held each September in Dover and the fact that his business, Dave's Road Bikes, is the official bike shop for Bike to the Bay.
"A lot of the safety issues that arise are the belief of motorists that the cyclists are out of place," Moses said. "But, they they've got as much a right as the motorists to be on the road."
The city of Dover is looking for more bicycle and pedestrian-minded folks like Moses to give their input on improving the city's biking and walking paths. Dover Director of Planning & Community Development Ann Marie Townshend has scheduled a meeting Tuesday to discuss the formation of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Sub-Committee, which would fall under the purview of Dover's Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee. The Chair of the Committee would select five members of the public to serve on this sub-committee, Townshend said.
"Improving the bicycle and pedestrian atmosphere in Dover is important for the quality of life in Dover," Townshend said. "Who better to tell us how we can improve the system than the walkers, joggers and cyclists who use it?
"The city and state can make better decisions about how to invest limited resources if we are working with the people who are out there and can see the areas needing improvement firsthand," she said.
Townshend said the First State Trails funding had helped bring this issue to the forefront in the state capital. The planned connection from Silver Lake Park to the Isaacs Branch Greenway segment and other potential trail projects in the city have generated much excitement.
"We can have great trails and pathways, but if people have to drive to them because they can't get to them safely on bike or on foot, then we have missed the mark," Townshend said. "The goal is to work toward a complete system of places that people can walk or bike for both transportation and recreation."
Townshend would like for the city to be in a position to apply to receive a Bicycle Friendly Community designation similar to Lewes and Newark, she said. This subcommittee would be apart of this application process.
The Delaware Department of Transportation and the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization have been supportive of the city's efforts and Townshend expects representatives of both agencies at Tuesday's meeting.
Page 2 of 2 - Indeed, Dover/Kent County MPO Executive Director Rich Vetter plans to attend the meeting, said Kate Layton, public liaison for the MPO. The MPO has worked on a regional bike plan with the city, Kent County and DelDOT, she said.
"The bigger picture is what we're looking at," Layton said. "It's good for health; it's good for the environment. And the less cars on the road, the less traffic jams there are."
Add all those things up and Dover can attract more of the people searching for a college like Wesley, Delaware State or Delaware Tech or looking to move to Kent County, Moses said.
"There's a huge upside to having a bicycle-friendly certification," he said. "Pedestrian and bike traffic is a much better option if it's not only embraced by the community but embraced and enhanced by the city."
IF YOU GO
WHO Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee
WHAT Formation of Bicycle & Pedestrian Sub-Committee. Bicyclists and pedestrians in Dover come together to share ideas and thoughts on how to make Dover a more bicycle and pedestrian-friendly place
WHEN 5 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE City Hall Conference Room, 15 Loockerman Plaza, Dover
CONTACT Have an idea, but can't make it to the meeting? Have any questions about the sub-committee? Give Ann Marie Townshend a call at (302) 736-7196 or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.