DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt and Delaware State Parks Director Charles Salkin were joined by Dover Mayor Carleton Carey for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Phase 1 of the Capital City Trails Project Friday afternoon outside Legislative Hall. Work on the project is expected to be completed by the end of August or the beginning of September.
DelDOT and DNREC say when the three-phase project is completed sometime in the next year or two, it'll provide residents with four and a half miles of trails that'll give them safe paths for walking and bicycling throughout greater Dover. Residents will be able to walk and bike from government offices to schools, businesses and even Dover Air Force Base. The project will connect with existing trails and create a roughly 10-mile loop for walking and biking through Dover and the surrounding area, and will create the largest network of biking and walking trails in central Delaware.
Secretary Bhatt says the project is about giving residents more choices for how they get around, and hopefully giving residents who are on the fence about walking or biking either for recreation or running errands that extra incentive to leave their cars at home and either take their bikes out or go for a walk. Bhatt recalled that when he biked to work at DelDOT headquarters from his home, it would be scary to try and get out onto Route 13.
Salkin explained that in surveys conducted by DNREC, Delawareans and residents of Dover responded by saying that more recreational opportunities were important to them. He also said that getting more Dover residents to walk and bike will help improve the city's already high air quality, as reflected by the "A" grade the city received in the American Lung Association's most recent report on the areas with the cleanest and dirtiest air. Mayor Carey says that when businesses are looking to move to an area, they're looking for amenities that employees and their families can take advantage of.
The Capital City Trails Project is part of Governor Jack Markell's First State Trails and Pathways Initiative. Phase 2 of the project will be done in the fall, and will stretch from the First State Heritage Park to Loockerman Street. Phase 3 will run along Park Drive from Loockerman Street to Kings Highway.
Return to: WGMD Local News Blog