There’s only one bike lane in the city of Wilmington right now – but that’s about to change.
The entirety of the West Side’s Union Street – from Pennsylvania Ave to Sycamore St – will be re-striped to include a bike lane sometime this summer.
Leah Kacanda is with the city of Wilmington, and says that means converting the street from three vehicular lanes to two.
“The goal with that is really taking it from what functions as a highway to get folks out of town when they need to leave town efficiently and turns it back into a community street and a commercial corridor," Kacanda said.
For the last few years, community members have been working on a revitalization plan for the area called West Side Grows Together. And Union Street is a central part of that plan.
“Cars are often driving a bit too fast. The posted speed is 25 miles per hour, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone going at 25 miles per hour…” said Sarah Lester, Director of Cornerstone West Community Development Corporation. She's helped head up the initiative to make Union Street more walkable and bike-friendly.
It’s called the Union Street Rapid Reconfiguration Project, and in addition to adding a bike lane will add diagonal back-in parking.
“And because we’re looking at re-striping Union Street – we’re not changing the physical nature of any curb ramps and we’re not going to be using pavement, we’re not doing a pavement rehab – because it’s just paint it’s fairly low cost and something we can do quickly – that’s why we call it the rapid reconfiguration.”
That re-striping is scheduled to take place sometime this summer. Lester hopes to hold a community celebration once that’s done.
The initiative has received great public support. If that public support continues after the re-striping this summer, it could turn into a permanent paving and rehab project in a couple of years.