by Terry Rogers
In March Sarah Coakley, AICP, a Principal Planner with the Delaware Department of Transportation provided Milford City Council with details on creating a Transportation Improvement District (TID) in the southeast section of the City. The area will include traffic patterns around the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus which opened in February.
“A TID is a geographic area defined for the purpose of securing required improvements to transportation facilities in that area,” Coakley said. “The first step in completing the TID is to create a Master Plan, which Milford has already done. This would be an agreement between the City and DelDOT where developers would pay a readily determined fee rather than conduct a traffic impact study.” The area that would be included in the TID consists of nine square miles, most of which will surround the new hospital.
DelDOT has already completed an existing conditions report on the transportation network in the area. The next step, according to Coakley, is to forecast traffic based on the future land use plan up through 2045 which is the Target Horizon year determined by DelDOT. The agency will identify any locations that need improvements to meet traffic needs up through that year and provide concept plans for any improvements identified. DelDOT will also assist Milford with determinations of development that are consistent with he Land Use and Transportation Plan.
“The City has already supplied DelDOT with a parcel-level land use forecast as part of its Comprehensive Plan,” Coakley said. “This puts Milford ahead of other areas in the state who are considering this type of improvement district. Milford will be responsible for collecting all TID fees and holding them in an account established only for TID payments. The City has a say in any projects that are included in the TID plan.”
The purpose of the TID is to make sure that traffic in the area will not be adversely affected by development that may be approved. Some of the things DelDOT is already considering in the area are reducing speeds on Cedar Creek Road, Wilkins Road and Elks Lodge Road to 35 miles per hour. Some road construction may be necessary in order to meet minimum lane widths for state-maintained roads. All through-lanes must be 11 feet wide and all turning lanes must be 10 feet wide. If there is a bicycle lane included, the width of a turn lane must be 15 feet and they must be 12 feet for 2-way left turn lanes. Local roads must have 5-foot shoulders while collector and minor arterial roads must have 8-foot shoulders. Major arterial roads must have 10-foot shoulders.
“Roundabouts will be considered first as a means of intersection control as part of the TID,” Coakley said. “We will also consider capacity, right-of-way and property impacts when we develop the plan. There is currently a DART First State bus route that provides service to the new hospital and that will continue. We will work with the Delaware Transit Corporation regarding additional stops and routes, but it is at their discretion of additional public transportation is included. They will base that decision on the Milford Southeast Master Plan. There is a portion of this area that is part of the Delaware Bayshore Byway and we will allow that plan to govern implementation of some features when we develop the TID.”
Coakley explained that DelDOT is aware of drainage problems along Wilkins Road between Elks Lodge and Cedar Creek Road. Those issues will be addressed as part of the TID. DelDOT will also incorporate any bicycle and pedestrian facilities that are included in the City’s plan while also evaluating and designing additional crossing treatments using national and local research. Currently, there are plans to include several bicycle and pedestrian paths around the new hospital as well as one connecting Cedar Neck Road and Route 36.
Once Council approves the TID agreement, which is expected to occur at an April Council meeting, DelDOT will return in approximately six months with ideas for transportation improvements in the area. The entire project should be completed by the end of 2019.
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