News from the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO)
MOUNT PLEASANT ELEMENTARY
SCHOOL PARK AND WALK EVENT A SUCCESS
and community leaders participated in Mount Pleasant Elementary
School's first "Park and Walk" Event, which is part of the
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, on November 18. During the event
families met at Bellevue State Park and walked the half mile to school
with their children. The event offered the opportunity to practice
pedestrian safety skills, reduce pollution, congestion, and speeding
near the school. The long-term goal of the event is to increase walking
and make the neighborhoods safer for kids to walk and bike to school.
WILMAPCO is also working with Thomas Edison Charter School, and
Claymont, Maple Lane, Elbert-Palmer, and Mount Pleasant Elementary
Schools on Safe Routes to School programs. For more information,
please visit http://www.wilmapco.org/school-children/.
DART FIRST STATE SERVICE
CHANGES BECAME EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 4
According to a
November 29 DelDOT press release, "Delaware Transit Corporation
(DTC) announced that changes to DART First State fixed route bus
service will become effective December 4, 2011. New bus schedules
are available on all buses and online at www.DartFirstState.com.
The new route 17 will provide 48 weekday trips and 15 Saturday trips to
the Christiana Crossing Shopping Center allowing approximately 1,600
South Wilmington residents access to retail shops including the
ShopRite grocery store and other merchants."
DELAWARE CITY GETS
SATURDAY BUS SERVICE
According to a
December 5 DelDOT press release, "This past July, DelDOT, DART
First State, and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Control (DNREC) announced public transit service to
Delaware City, the first scheduled bus service to the city in four
decades. Beginning Saturday, December 10, the existing Route 25 has
extended all of its 12 Saturday trips to Delaware City. The extension
is part of the original one-year pilot service that was made possible
through a grant from the DNREC."
WILMAPCO's Delaware City
Transportation Plan," in 2009, 64 percent of city residents
cited the lack of public transit as their top transportation related
concern. The plan concluded that introducing transit service to
Delaware City will provide a much needed alternative to car travel,
enhance social equity, improve regional transit interconnectivity,
lessen traffic congestion, and improve air quality." WILMAPCO
helped DTC to secure the DNREC grant this year. Ridership on the
new service has exceeded expectations, and continues to increase.
FINDS NO SIGNIFICANT IMPACT OF PROPOSED BUS SERVICE CHANGE IN
According to a
November 17 DelDOT press release, "DelDOT has announced that an
outside third-party expert has concluded that downtown Wilmington bus
service changes proposed by DART First State in March would have no
significant safety or traffic impacts on the Shipley Street area.
DART had proposed
alleviating congestion and pedestrian safety issues at Rodney Square by
diverting 18 weekday bus routes to a route that takes them north on
Orange Street to either 9th Street or 10th Street, and then south on
Shipley Street. Currently, 1,170 buses a day stop at Rodney Square.
DART's proposal would reduce that number to 787. The study found 'no
significant negative transportation-related safety findings' associated
with the proposed route changes. To view the report, please visit http://www.dartfirststate.com/quicklinks/DARTServiceChangeSafetyReview.pdf.
According to the
Newark Bike Project webpage, "Inspired by the Urban Bike Project
(UBP) located in Wilmington, some Newark-area UBP volunteers wished to
spread the benefits of a UBP-style shop to Newark. In November
2011, Niki Suto, a graduate student at UD, started to formalize this
interest by gathering various Newark biking advocates to brainstorm
ideas for a community-led bike organization. The Newark Bike Project is
just getting started, and this website will be a source of all
information related to the project." For more information,
please visit http://www.newarkbikeproject.org/home.
BUS LINE ORDERED TO HALT
DELAWARE TO NEW YORK CITY SERVICE
According to a December 30 News Journal article,
"Delaware State Police vowed to impound any buses ferrying
passengers between Delaware and New York's
Chinatown for a company that received a federal order to shut down. The
U.S. Department of Transportation issued an order on Dec. 23 for Double
Happyness Travel Inc. to cease operations, calling the carrier an
'imminent hazard' to public safety. According to the
department's order, the company repeatedly filed false reports
detailing the hours drivers had worked, failed to regularly inspect and
maintain its buses, hired two drivers before receiving their failed
pre-employment controlled-substance screenings and failed to keep
current driving records for its employees. The bus line has been
popular for its low fares, but "Chinatown buses" have
experienced several high-profile problems
in recent years, leading the federal government to employ more
safety reviews." To view the source article, please visit www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2011112300332.
TRANSPORTATION FATALITIES ESTIMATED AT 34,925
According to a
December 16 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) press release,
"Despite an overall downward trend in transportation fatalities in
the United States, estimates for 2010 released by NTSB, reveal a rise
in several categories, including motorcycles, medium and heavy trucks,
buses, and rail.
The data indicate
that overall transportation fatalities decreased to 34,925 in 2010 from
35,994 in 2009. The total number of fatalities on U.S. roadways dropped
by about 1,000 (33,883 to 32,885) with the majority of vehicle-related
deaths involving passenger cars and light trucks and vans.
Motorcyle-related deaths saw the largest increase (4,469 to 4,502), but
deaths also rose for occupants in medium and heavy trucks (499 to 529)
and buses (26 to 44). Rail fatalities increased from 742 to 813, with
the majority at grade crossings, though deaths on light, heavy and
commuter rail rose from 229 to 253." To view the press release,
please visit http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2011/111216.html.
PUBLIC TRANSIT SAVES INDIVIDUALS $9,797 ANNUALLY
According to the
American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) November Transit
Savings Report, "Individuals who switch from driving to riding
public transportation can save, on average, $816 dollars this month,
and $9,797 annually. These savings are based on the cost of commuting
by public transportation compared to the Nov. 18, 2011 average national
gas price ($3.38 per gallon- reported by AAA) and the national
unreserved monthly parking rate. Currently gas prices are nearly fifty
cents a gallon higher than this time last year, APTA notes riding
public transit is a smart way to lower transportation costs. APTA
releases this monthly Transit Savings Report to examine how an
individual in a two-person household can save money by taking public
transportation and living with one less car." For more
information, please visit http://www.expertclick.com/NewsReleaseWire
According to a
December 7 Express Stop Blog entry, "The American Council for the
Blind (ACB) has released an updated Pedestrian Safety Handbook, a
publication that informs the visually impaired and blind communities
about contemporary approaches to assuring safe paths of travel for
blind pedestrians and effective ways to advocate for accommodations
like accessible pedestrian signals, tactile warnings at the edges of
curb ramps, and mechanisms for routing travelers safely through
problematic intersections." For more information, please visit http://express-stop.blogspot.com/2011/12/what-it-takes-to-walk-when-you-cannot.html.
IN PLACE: A STATE SURVEY OF LIVABILITY POLICIES AND PRACTICES
According to the
AARP website, "The vast majority of older adults want to age in
place, so they can continue to live in their own homes or communities.
As the older population grows, the degree to which it can participate
in community life will be determined, in part, by how communities are
designed. This report examines state policies that are needed to help
older adults age in place. These policies include integrating land use,
housing and transportation; efficiently delivering services in the
home; providing more transportation choices, particularly for older
adults who no longer drive; and improving affordable, accessible
housing to prevent social isolation." For more information,
please visit http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-11-2011/Aging-In-Place.html.
REPORT SHOWS MORE STUDENTS DRIVEN TO SCHOOL
Center for Safe Routes to School has released "How Children Get to
School: School Travel Patterns from 1969 to 2009," a research
report which provides insight into national trends in U.S. school
travel. The report shows that from 1995 to 2009 among those students
living within one mile of school, there were no significant changes.
When all students are considered, regardless of distance, the
percentage of students driven to school in personal vehicles increased
while walking and school bus use dipped slightly. The report also
indicates that parents driving students and teens driving themselves to
school accounted for 10-14 percent of all the personal vehicle trips
made during the morning of the school year. To view the report,
please visit www.saferoutesinfo.org/program-tools/NHTS-school-travel-1969-2009.
The Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) is the regional
transportation planning agency for New Castle County, Delaware and Cecil
County, Maryland. As the federally designated Metropolitan Planning
Organization (MPO), WILMAPCO is charged with planning and coordinating
transportation investments for the region based on federal policy, local
input, technical analysis, and best practices. For more information,
please visit our website at www.wilmapco.org.