Stimulus Spotlight: Delaware Town Boosts Bike-Ped Access to Bus Stop

The new Route 43 bus in Middletown, Delaware, stops at many popular places: the local high school, the retail shopping district, and the Methodist church, to name a few. But the park-and-ride that helped riders access the bus was clogged with cars, which the state DOT attributed to higher transit demand.

park_ride.jpgThe Middletown park-and-ride, before its stimulus tune-up. (Photo: DDOT)

So the stated is using federal stimulus money on a park-and-ride expansion, adding more than 100 new parking spaces but also a bicycle and pedestrian path that connects to the facility. A new traffic signal will be put up to regulate vehicle entrance to the park-and-ride.

The cost of the project was initially estimated at $1.4 million, but Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) noted at a congressional hearing yesterday that the actual bill is running closer to $600,000.

"We’ve got a lot of contractors hungry for work and anxious to bid," Carper said.

Even after placing its low winning bid, the construction firm that won the park-and-ride contract is reversing plans to scale many of its workers down to part-time status. 

Christopher Mihm, a managing director at the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), told Carper that his state was not alone in seeing transportation stimulus projects come in under budget thanks to the recession:

It does show that the economy is in bad shape … But it’s also a good deal in that then [states] are able to do additional infrastructure projects or additional transportation projects because of that.

Delaware is spending 27.9 percent of its stimulus funds on bike-ped projects, according to a June report from Smart Growth America (SGA), making it one of only three states to earn an "outstanding" rating.

(Revisit the first installment in Streetsblog Capitol Hill’s Stimulus Spotlight series here.)

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

America’s Sorriest Bus Stop: Kansas City vs. DC

|
To see how little respect bus riders get from public officials, just take a look at the sorry condition of America’s bus stops. To make riding the bus a comfortable and dignified experience, we need to do better. Readers submitted 16 forlorn waiting areas for Streetsblog’s “Sorriest Bus Stop in America” competition. Earlier this week, Silver Spring, Maryland, knocked off […]

Killing the Myth of the ‘More Shovel-Ready’ Road Stimulus

|
During debate over the White House’s $787 billion economic stimulus law, transit advocates watched as their projects were shortchanged and more "shovel-ready" road projects got the lion’s share of the transport pot — about $8.4 billion, compared with $27.5 billion for highways and bridges. (Photo: DMI Blog) But transit money is getting put to use […]

Today’s Headlines

|
Any Path Toward North American Energy Independence Depends on “Extreme Energy” (Grist) VA, IA Governors Plan to Raise Transportation Revenue at the Expense of Schools, Police (CTJ) An Argument For the Prop 1 Sales Tax Hike for Transit in Pierce County, WA (Bellingham Herald) How Can a Community Solve Its “Last Mile” Problem Outside Park-n-Ride […]

Trading a Park-and-Ride for a Public Plaza and Bike Parking

|
More cities should copy this idea for their park-and-ride transit stations: At DC Metro’s King Street station in Old Town Alexandria, plans are underway to turn parking spots into a pedestrian plaza. This goes against the grain of typical transit agency practice. Despite the fact that park-and-rides are an inefficient use of scarce land, a recent survey by researchers […]

Who Pays for “Free” Park-and-Ride Parking?

|
Park-and-ride lots, writes Matt Steele at Streets.mn, are the “darling infrastructure of the transit planning profession.” In exchange for providing a parking spot at no charge to suburban commuters, says Steele, transit systems can increase ridership. But “free” suburban parking isn’t such a sweet deal for everyone. Steele writes that a Metro Transit park-and-ride expansion […]