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Dover pedals forward with $12M bicycle, pedestrian connector project

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$12.5 million will be used to improve the MLK Boulevard/South Little Creek Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Connector project in Dover. l PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

More than $12 million will be used to improve the MLK Boulevard/South Little Creek Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Connector project in Dover. l PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

DOVER — The capital city is one step closer along the path to connectivity after federal legislators lauded a $12 million infrastructure grant headed straight for Dover.

The 2024 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant was announced yesterday and issued to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to the tune of $12,250,000.

Leaders say funds will be used for the MLK Boulevard/South Little Creek Road Bicycle and Pedestrian Connector project which has been in the works for years. The project includes parts of MLK Boulevard and the north side of South Little Creek Road from Horsepond Road to Bay Road and its intersection of Route 13.

In June 2020, DelDOT released a pedestrian safety study regarding Route 13. The final report highlighted several needs to be addressed by the RAISE funds at the intersection of MLK Road, Bay Road and US 13 in Dover such as no current existing pedestrian accommodations. The study also cited a Wawa and Royal Farms at the intersection and larger businesses such as Target nearby with “uncontrolled pedestrian crossings” occurring at the site.  

“This corridor has seen significant residential growth, and this grant will allow us to make the area safer and more accessible for people to travel by bicycle or on foot,” Delaware Secretary of Transportation Nicole Majeski said in a press release. “Our thanks to the congressional delegation for their work to advocate for the project funding on behalf of the department and the Dover community.”

Along with residential growth, the area has also seen a rise in business growth, with businesses of all shapes and sizes moving into the MILK Road and South Little Creek Road areas. Both types of growth cause additional vehicle and foot traffic to find its way through those two roads, driving the need for change.

According to the RAISE fact sheet, the newly funded project will include construction and installation of improvements to the two roads including shared-use paths, crosswalks, curb ramps, pedestrian refuge islands and median barriers.

The hope, leaders emphasized, is that the project will create a safer environment for all travelers in the area, citing a cluster of personal injury crashes in the MLK Boulevard area, as well as fatalities and property damage claims from similar incidents.

“There are many people – like Evalene Pyle who was killed in Dover in 2022 – who do not have access to a car for transportation,” Bike Delaware Executive Director James Wilson said in the press release. “Infrastructure like this project is how we make sure that all those people get home safely.”

Construction for this project is estimated to begin in March 2027. 

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