as I would like to see Centreville remain a picturesque village,
we need to be practical," said one attender at the Mar. 28
session. "The problem is
we have a huge thoroughfare. It's not going to get better; it's
going to get worse," said another.
commented or asked questions did so without identifying
of those who turned out, the presentation was the first knowledge
they had of the comprehensive plan being drafted by two
consulting firms hired by Wilmington Area Planning Council under
a $100,000 federal grant. The process has been under way
since last summer.
Ehrlich, of the council, attempted to bring the group up to date
with a Power Point presentation about conclusions drawn at a
three-day workshop in January. As reported by Delaforum at the
time, the approach was to provide so-called traffic calming
measures to Kennett Pike and to devise a land-use scheme whereby
Centreville would be developed as a defined but unincorporated
village while the surrounding part of Christiana Hundred was
mostly preserved as open space. New Castle County officials are
drafting a proposed ordinance to provide for what are being
called 'home-town overlays' that would help accomplish that.
Baker, director of the county's Department of Land Use, told the
Centreville meeting that County Executive Thomas Gordon is
supportive of that approach. "No one is interested in
having a plan for the sake of having a plan. ... This is not a
new concept, but one that is finally getting the initiative to
see what can be done," he said.
consultants' report and recommendations are due to be published
in April. Ehrlich's presentation seemed to be a likely preview
of what they will contain. The briefing session was called by
County Councilman Richard Abbott who complained that there has
been minimal community participation and that the approach taken
has more visionary than useful. Abbott attended but did not
speak at the briefing.
Cannon, president of the Centreville Civic Association, said
after the meeting that comments there were not significantly
different from what others had said earlier and that the
planners no doubt would consider them in preparing the report
Kipp, also of the civic association, which has
spearheaded the planning process, told the session that her
organization is "trying to future a shape so it will not
come in and roll over us."
Centreville has to grow, there are some people here who think it
should not grow into what Talleyville has grown," she
the attenders chose an area closer at hand than the
amorphous Brandywine Hundred community as the butt of
comparison. "After what has happened to Greenville, there
ought to be some assertive action to prevent that kind of
circus," he said.
there was virtually no response to Ehrlich's remarks about the
project's intent to "define Centreville" and to comply
with residents' desire "to keep the village's
character," there was broad participation in a lively
discussion about the area's traffic woes.
Ehrlich presented the installation of a traffic circle at one or
more Centreville intersections as one of the available
traffic-slowing options, several attenders challenged the idea
on the grounds that such devices have proven ineffective and
even dangerous in Europe and elsewhere in the country and are
being removed. Consultant Frank Jaskowitz, of Glatting Jackson
Associates, disagreed saying that "modern 'roundabouts' are
different from traditional traffic circles" and work well.
"You just have to wait for a gap in traffic," he
a laugh as several in the audience referred to rush-hour traffic
on Kennett Pike as proceeding at relatively high speed without
gaps. "There are no breaks. Eventually, you get desperate
and you go for it," said one attender.
suggested that simply installing traffic signals and turn lanes
at the intersections would improve the situation. Besides, he
said, signals are easily removed if they don't while a circle,
once installed, is unlikely to be taken out.
another said that stricter enforcement of the present 35 m.p.h. speed
limit would help. Don Weber, of Delaware Department of
Transportation, replied that lack of State Police manpower
prevents effective enforcement. He said more than 85% of Kennett
Pike traffic travels at speeds in excess of 42 m.p.h. and that
attempting to combat that "natural inclination" is
generally futile. "People stop looking at [speed limit]
signs. They go as fast as the motorist in front of them,"
rumble strips and speed bumps were proposed as more likely
deterrents to high speed than "putting planters in one of
the lanes." Someone mentioned that simply activating the
signal in front of Centreville School during morning rush hour
would slow traffic to the point of allowing Centrevillans access
to Kennett Pike.
committed to provide a start on 'traffic calming' with
installation beginning next summer of 'gateways' along Kennett
Pike at the opposite ends of the village. Those will be islands
in the center of the road intended to 'signal' that drivers are
entering a different environment. The three critical
intersections, it is agreed, are with Center Meeting Road, Owls
Nest-Twaddle Mill Roads, and Snuff Mill Road.
attender suggested that a more viable solution would be to build
a by-pass road around Centreville. Another suggested a 'scenic
road', after the manner of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway,
along the course of the Brandywine. Several called for banning
through truck traffic on Kennett Pike, noting that DelDOT has
such a ban in the Newark area to prevent them from avoiding the
toll booths on Delaware Turnpike.