On any given day during the school year, about 18,000 University of Delaware students are moving about the city of Newark. Some drive, some walk and some take university transportation. But many ride a bike to navigate the streets and paths.
They’re not alone. Whether for recreation or as a mode of transportation, many Newark residents and workers prefer two wheels to four. That’s not gone unnoticed by city officials and planners. Newark is now laced with bike-friendly trails, and safety and development ordinances keep bikers in mind.
As a result, the League of American Bicyclists last year named the city of Newark a Bicycle Friendly Community. Newark was one of 16 cities nationwide to receive the recognition, which is awarded to communities with a demonstrated commitment to bicycling.
“The city is committed to improving the environment for bicyclists in our community, and it is rewarding to have its efforts recognized,” says Maureen Feeney Roser, assistant planning and development director for the city. “We won’t rest on our laurels. More bike and pedestrian improvements are planned.”
Multipurpose trails include the James F. Hall Trail, which last year received the National Trail designation. Opened in 2003, the 1.76-mile, hard-surface trail runs through three parks: Phillips, Lewis and Kells. It also follows the northern edge of the Amtrak corridor to the Delaware Technology Park.
“It’s a really well-placed popular trail for leisure and to get from point A to point B,” says Charlie Emerson, Newark’s director of parks and recreation. “You can get to College Square Shopping Center.”
Eventually, it will link to the Pomeroy Trail, which will follow a railway line that was abandoned in the 1930s. The paved trail will be nearly 2 miles long and may be completed by early 2012.
A map viewable on the city’s Web site (cityofnewarkde.us/index.aspx?nid=79) indicates bike routes and details off-road trails throughout Newark.
Heavily traveled Elkton Road is now under construction in part to create what’s known as a “sharrow,” a visually marked lane for bicyclers. “It means that both vehicle drivers and bikers have to watch out for each other,” says Mike Fortner, a Newark planner.