Pike and Montchanin Road have intrinsic qualities, consultant
Jim Klein told the first public meeting on the project.
"They don't have to be the best in the world, just the best
in the region" to qualify for the designation.
general ambition, the effort to preserve and protect the roads
in pretty much their present condition began long before
Delaware signed up to participate in the federal program and, in
fact, was cited as the impetus for that by a representative of
U.S. Senator Joseph Biden at a media event in November
announcing participation. A month before that event, the
planning council quietly formed an advisory committee to produce
the 'corridor plan' that is required to put the selected roads
first in line to achieve that status.
at the meeting on Dec. 6 was a draft of a 'vision, goals and
objectives' statement for the proposed plan which singled
out several issues to be addressed. They range from long
sought 'traffic calming', through controlling development to
managing "appropriately scaled" tourism.
corridor was defined as State Routes 52 and 100 from Rodney
Square in downtown Wilmington to the state line. That would link
with the adjoining routes in Pennsylvania to form a loop
anchored in the north along U.S. Route 1 by Longwood Gardens and
the Brandywine River Museum and Brandywine Battlefield in Chadds
Ford. Route 52 north of Wilmington consists entirely of Kennett
Pike. Route 100 follows Montchanin Road from Greenville to the
state line and Chadds Ford Road north of there.
is not yet a participant in the federal program, but
consultant Peter Benton said that the commonwealth is involved
in other scene byways projects by legislative direction.
Delaware, the roads have been divided into 15 segments which
Klein said have different attributes and will be treated
differently in the plan. Pennsylvania Avenue in the city, for
instance, is lined with the campuses of two private schools as
well as several automobile showrooms. Kennett Pike goes through
a commercial area in Greenville. Montchanin Road is a 'country
road' for most of its length.
possible approaches were suggested. One would define the corridor
as the 'viewshed' from the roads. That is jargon for what can be
seen from them. The other would be to include the roads
themselves as attractions within an area defined by the
Brandywine and Red Clay Creek.
cautioned meeting attenders not to regard byways designation as
an end in itself. "The plan will not say, 'No more
building'. ... Designation does not prevent development. It has
no regulatory impact," he said.
designation is achieved, it will require establishment of a
management organization -- most likely a nonprofit entity
encompassing the various interests in the corridor -- to
maintain. That organization would be the instrument for
obtaining public financing and dealing with government agencies
on matters affecting the area, Klein said.
speaking, the most effective approach would be voluntary action.
"People don't like to be told what to do," he said.
"If you give someone an incentive to do the right thing, it
makes it easier for a private owner to comply."
predict what Kennett Pike will look like 10 years from now,
Joseph Cantalupo, assistant director of planning for the
Delaware Department of Transportation, said he did not see it
becoming more than a two-lane road, but did not rule out the
likelihood of selective improvements. "We have to keep the
road safe. In doing that, we have to find a way to strike a
balance with what the community wants," he said.
speaks of differentiating speed limits between the 'countryside'
and built-up sections and "develop[ing] strategies to
ensure that truck traffic obeys the rules and behaves in a
manner that respects the historic nature of adjoining properties
along the roadway."
regard another issue, the draft statements identify the balance
as "minimiz[ing] the negative impacts of tourism while
maximizing economic benefits." In one context, Klein spoke
of a need to tie together the area's visitor attractions
"in a thematic way" and in another said that should be
done "in a way that doesn't attract a lot of big
exercise in balancing evidently is illustrated by the status of
the long-range master plan for Centreville and environs.
Developed by other consultants in a series of community
meetings, the plan is several months beyond its expected
publication. It was indicated that the issue essentially is
between development and preservation.
is where the battle has to be fought and won," Klein said.
"Unfortunately, there hasn't been a consensus about the
plan. It's a lot harder to keep things the way they are than to
simply accept change."
Ehrlich, the planning council's manager for both the Centreville
and Kennett Pike projects, told Delaforum that the Centreville
plan is being revised by the council, New Castle County and
DelDOT. "The initial draft had a number of problems with it
which I want to correct before releasing it for public
review," she said. That probably will be in January, she
Castle County Councilman Robert Weiner said he is drafting
legislation to provide some credits against property taxes based
on investments in preserving historic properties which would
augment state tax credits and be available to property owners on
a competitive basis.
development segment of the draft speaks to extending private
open-space preservation and, where that is not an option,
encouraging designs that "minimize the amount of change to
the existing scenic and historic properties." Clustering
new building in a village pattern, rather than spreading it
suburban-style over the landscape, was cited as an example of