The U.S. Route 13 Design Week was held last week in which the various agencies held several workshops with the various stakeholders to see what they would like to see change with Route 13. The week culminated Friday at Belmont Hall with a presentation of a draft plan.
WHAT WE’VE REPORTED The Town of Smyrna agreed earlier this summer to work on the Route 13 Corridor Study in conjunction with the State Office of Planning, DelDOT, and the Dover/Kent County Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The study is a pilot program to see what Delaware can do to better integrate the highway as a part of the community, and enhance mobility and safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.
WHAT’S NEW The U.S. Route 13 Design Week was held last week in which the various agencies held several workshops with the various stakeholders to see what they would like to see change with Route 13. The week culminated Friday at Belmont Hall with a presentation of a draft plan.
Presenting the draft plan were Joe Bucovetsky and Betsy Mastaglio, of McCormick Taylor — a land use planning and urban design group.
Bucovetsky said there were a number of things during the workshops that residents said were important to the town. The list included that Route 13 is a barrier to movement, stores on the highway should compliment and not compete with stores in the historic district, and making the gateways of Smyrna safer to walk around.
With this information in hand, McCorkmick Taylor came up with a few alternatives. Examples of these alternatives were provided for each of the three areas of concern: from the Smyrna Rest Area to Duck Creek, from Duck Creek to Lake Como, and from Lake Como to the south Route 1 interchange.
The first alternative is called Commerce Corridor and emphasizes consumer retail uses, spruces the area up and looks to improve pedestrian movements on Route 13. The second alternative is called Live/Work/Shop/Play and includes mixed uses such as having retail and residential uses in one building, and open space.
Then a final example for each portion was given where the two alternatives were combined.
So what exactly do these alternatives do for fixing up Route 13? It could mean streetscaping on the highway, putting buildings for retail right on the highway, creating gateways to the town at Glenwood Avenue and Commerce Street, or a lifestyle center with retail and living spaces at Simon’s Corner.
Bucovetsky and Mastaglio noted these changes would most likely take place over a period of 20 years.
“It requires initiative on the part of the property owner and business operators,” Bucovetsky said. “What that means is a gradual change to the district over years but the town should lead in terms of the direction of the corridor.”
WHAT’S NEXT The presentation of the plan is just the first step in a long series of steps to improve the look, feel and logistics of Route 13.
David Edgell, of the State Planning Office, said in the next few weeks the agencies involved will take this draft plan and work to finalize it. From there Smyrna will need to adopt it as an amendment to their comprehensive plan. It will also need to be adopted by the other agencies including the Dover/Kent County MPO.
Mayor Pat Stombaugh and Councilman Jeff Flairty were on hand to see the draft plan. Both were pleased with the results.
“I’m so excited about this, the potential of opportunities,” Flairty said. “I just want to urge everybody to continue this excitement and focus. Even if you don’t see exactly what you want up here, that means we can work towards getting what you want at the end of the day. Don’t give up on us, we’re going to keep working on this.”
Email Jennifer Dailey at email@example.com.