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February 8, 2008     Cape Gazette
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February 8, 2008
 

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Continued from page 6 represent your point of view. I appreciate the time and effort that you, our citizens, make to voice your thoughts and opinions. Please continue. We represent the interests of all of our constituents. We cannot assume all of your thoughts. We need you to enlight- en us. Paul Kuhns Commissioner City of Rehoboth Beach Townsend rezoning would be irresponsible The Delaware Department of Transportation representatives presented the results of the Traffic Impact Study for the proposed Showfield development to the Lewes City Council and commu- nity residents. They merged the Showfield report with their review of the Kings Highway Corridor Study that evaluated the traffic impact of the proposed Gills Neck Road subdivision (Senators and Governors develop- ments as well as the Townsend Village shopping center) and other nearby subdivisions (Cadbury, Breakwater, Hawkseye, Jones property) and the Cape Henlopen High School expansion. The report and presentation gen- erated a number of confusing messages. The report concluded that, "From a traffic standpoint, Kings Highway Corridor Study found alternative 6 to be the most effec- tive solution." The scope of alternative 6 com- prises 13 recommendations that developers should implement to correct the levels of service (LOS) deficiencies at the number of intersections, if the proposed developments were to move for- ward. In addition, the report stated that the most effective traffic solution included expanding the two-lane Kings Highway to a four-lane highway from Dartmouth Drive to Theodore C. Freeman Highway. DelDOT stated that they did not expect the developers to absorb the cost of this construction. They admitted that DelDOT does not currently have the funds to pay for this project. They stated that the project would have to be adopted and nominated for future capital funding in perhaps 10 years. If funds are lacking to pay for the project and the project can't start until funds are available, how is this recommended solution "the most effective"? Further, if funded, construction on the Kings Highway widening project would commence after the proposed developments and shop- ping center were completely built. The projected build-out date for the developments and shopping center is 2014. New highway con- struction with expanded work zones would begin after 2014 dur- ing a time of maximum traffic congestion. DelDOT's recommendation that perhaps in 10 or so years we, the taxpayers, pay for their most effective solution to traffic prob- lems created by developers is chutzpah. Their reasoning is simi- lar to Andersen's classic child- hood tale of The Emperor's New Clothes. Two fake tailors con- vince the emperor that people who are stupid or not fit for their station in life will not be able to see his new clothes. Fortunately, we are neither stupid nor unfit for our positions. As DelDOT's developers' procession rumbles along into the future, we who live along the procession's highway will be exposed to all the residual byproducts of traffic congestion. The buildup of vehicles going to and from the ferry, shopping cen- ter, developments and the city of Lewes will create traffic conges- tion similar to plaque buildup in our arteries. Relentless traffic congestion generating excessive exhaust, like untreated plaque, will slowly rupture our quality of CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, February 8 - Monday, February U, 2008 - 7 life. If my cardiologist warned me of plaque buildup and suggested that we were not going to impose the "most effective solutionS' to solve the problem, I'd find anoth- er cardiologist. ! As a result of traffic congestion, the city of Lewes will be open to traffic arterial escape. Driversiwill explore alternative routes through Lewes to avoid congestion on Kings Highway and Theodore C. Freeman Highway. DelDOT: did not include this potential seepage of traffic onto the streets of Lewes in its study. Representatives of the Delaware River & Bay Authority (DRBA), which is responsible for the maintenance of the Theodore C. Freeman Highway, stated i that they do not have the capitol fgnds to cover the cost of widening heir highway. There will be no 'help from this agency, I Input from another state aggncy was not included in the report On Aug. 13, 2007 the WashinLgton Times reported that Delaware's evacuation plans for hurriqanes and other natural disasters were lacking. State officials estir0ated that evacuation would !take between 24 and 36 hours given the current traffic conditlons. However, the DelDOT reprsen- tative admitted that the aggncy responsible for evacuation plan- ning was not consulted. At the recent Sussex County Counci ! meeting, the developer's spokesperson minimized  the potential of natural disaster ocur- ring in coastal Delaware. i DelDOT also stated the tudy focused on the Kings Higlway corridor and levels of service defi- ciencies at the number of inteec- tions along the highway. They did not consider the impact of ngarby proposed housing and commer - cial developments hugging Route 1, i.e., the 300,000-square,foot commercial development i at Nassau. Further, they claimed tha the recommendations were consistent with the Sussex County Comprehensive Plan. This State- ment is questionable givetl the fact that the state has not approved the county's 2007 i plan update. Recent media reports lhave highlighted DelDOT's findncial crisis. Long-planned projecls are i off the table for the next six ears, for example, U.S.9/Del. l|Five Points interchange and |Del. 1/1A/1B intersection improve- ments. Only those projects cassi- fled as essential will be sarted and completed. The standards emlfloyed by DelDOT in mking the decision of which projeclive and which ones die were sfety, congestion, pavement anq air quality. Where will the widbning of Kings Highway to accommo- Dennis Forney date a developer's desire to i a 520,000-square-foot mall the essential scale? Del acknowledged that they ar able to fund current pr around Five Points let alon widening of Kings Highwl the foreseeable future. Awa Continued on p uild dl on DOT ; not jects the ty in re of tge 8 Construction begins in Lewes on Delaware's greenest launching ramp Anyone who has ever spent time around public launching ramps knows they are happening places. Boaters come and go at all hours of the day and night and in all four seasons of the year. Fishermen use the ramps and hunters do too. Sailors - tin can and otherwise - launch small boats and personal watercraft, and canoers and kayakers also use the ramps. And the many people who cruise the coastal area by car as part of their daily routines often stop atthe public launching ramps to see how the world is turning from that vantage point. If all goes as planned, by August this summer Delaware's state-of-the-art and most environ- mentally progressive public launching ramp will open on the banks of the Broadkill River in Lewes. With parking spaces for 130 car-trailer units and 20 single- car spaces for those joining others for outings on the water, the Lewes facility will also be the largest in Delaware. That capaci- ty is three times that of the current downtown Lewes ramp which is scheduled for removal to make way for the Village Green compo- nent of the Canalfront Park, According to Lacey Nichols, construction project manager for Delaware's Division of Fish and Wildlife, JJID Inc. of Bear, Delaware submitted the winning bid for the project. The state signed a contract with JJID for $2,880,195. Nichols said comple- tion is projected for July 11. "We will open the ramp to the public as soon as it is complete," said Nichols. The new facility will include six launching ramps, four loading docks and two courtesy docks where boaters can tie up and wait for a short period of time before and after launching or taking out. The area will be lighted, there is an extensive stormwater drainage system and the expansive asphalt parking lot will be broken up with areas of natural plantings. As is the case with the state's new Soil and Water Conservation building nearby, the new launch- BAREF00TIN' ing ramp parking lot is being built atop a crushed concrete base that formerly was the walls, ceilings and floors of the Doxsee clam fac- tory. "We needed the fill anyway for this site so by recycling the old Doxsee plant, we were able to save the thousands of dollars it would have cost us to haul away and dispose all that material," said Dan Brower, who supervised the soil and water building construc- tion. The natural planting areas inter- spersed within the launching ramp parking lot, said Nichols, will cap- ture stormwater flowing off the asphalt and cleanse it before it makes its way into the Broadkill, Along the waterfront of the facili- ty, a specially engineered stone revetment will help avoid erosion along the edges. The revetment, however, is not being built hard up against the riverbank. Instead, space is being left between the bank and the revetment where marsh grasses will be planted to further serve as a filter for stormwater coming off the lot. "This represents the latest in the thinking about these types of structures," said Nichols. To handle the traffic coming to the facility, DelDOT, according to the men, has begun design work for a road that will come in off New Road through the former University of Delaware research park and skirt the Great Marsh behind the College of Marine Studies before joining Pilottown Road near the college harbor. Dennis Forney photo Dan Brower, left, and Lacey Nichols peruse constructions drawings for the new launching ramp.