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11/15/2007
Shipley Road Pathway Plans Unveiled

Residents divided over pedestrian pathway

By Jesse Chadderdon
Staff Reporter
The Community News

The Delaware Department of Transportation has suggested installing a meandering pedestrian pathway along Shipley Road, drawing support from some residents and criticism from others.

The conceptual plan unveiled by DelDOT at a November 8 community workshop at Immaculate Heart of Mary School, calls for a pathway along the south side of Shipley Road to Baynard Blvd., and then pathways on both sides of the road from Baynard Blvd. to Shipley Heights.

Many residents said they welcomed pedestrian enhancements along the road, though some had specific concerns about how such a pathway could interfere with trees, fences, mailboxes or other physical impediments on their properties.

But others said they want nothing, and said they feel like the sidewalk project is being forced down their throats.

Todd D’Emilia questioned a survey sent out by DelDOT during the Summer to Shipley Road residents about what kind of pathway they would like to see installed.

“Where was the option to do nothing at all?” D’Emilia said. “This is a program to push what they want, not what the residents want.”

D’Emilia said he was concerned that the pathway would not be maintained once it was installed.

“Don’t come into our neighborhood, change it and then not maintain it,” he said. “It’s a waste of money for something we don’t want.”

Tom Molitor, who also lives on Shipley Road, said he doesn’t want children riding bikes and people walking along the front of his property.

“Nobody should be out walking,” Molitor said. “That’s what people have cars for. If the kids want to go to the park, their parents should drive them there. I don’t want kids riding and walking past my house, throwing stuff on my lawn.”

Molitor and D’Emilia were two of eight residents who raised their hands when Rep. Diana McWilliams (D-Shipley Ridge) asked who in attendance wanted to see no pathway installed. About a dozen residents said they did want to see some kind of pathway. About 40 residents attended the workshop.

Pat Hosey, a Webster Farm resident who sends three children to Immaculate Heart of Mary and is a member of the parish there, said he supported the concept of a pathway, but wanted to make sure it was safe for children. He also said he wanted to be sure the path was a respectful distance from the church, so that passer-bys would not interfere with church services, weddings and other events there.

Louis and Cassy Fedele, who live in Liftwood, said they preferred a regular sidewalk to the meandering pathway, but said there was definitely a need for some pedestrian improvements along the road, especially with children traveling to the new softball fields along Old Mill Lane.

DelDOT Planner Stephen Bayer said the pathway was only in the early concept stage. He said no decision has been made about whether or not to install a pathway, and said no funding has been allocated for construction.

“We’re still several years out before anything happens,” he said.

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Residents of Shipley Road and the surrounding communities who wish offer feedback on the proposal can send their comments to DelDOT Public Relations, P.O. Box 778, Dover, DE 19903.

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