The Town of Ocean View is preparing to make one neighborhood a little more pedestrian-friendly. The Town and Delaware Department of Transportation have designed Phase II of the Pedestrian Improvements Project under the Federal Transportation Enhancement Program.
The design would add a new 5-foot pedestrian path along the west side of West Avenue from Woodland Avenue to the CVS Pharmacy currently under construction at the intersection of Route 26. The sidewalk will connect with the pedestrian path along Woodland Avenue (the nearly-completed Phase I, which began in spring of 2012).
Phase II is slated to begin in autumn, improving pedestrian access and safety along the corridor.
“It’s certainly something that … would give people the opportunity to traverse the town, meet their neighbors, get to the park area, maybe get to the Assawoman Canal pathway,” said Charles McMullen, Ocean View’s director of Public Works.
The sidewalk material is in itself a new experience for residents, as Ocean View is using porous concrete. Although it’s flat and solid and contains the standard cement, stones and water, porous concrete looks like pebbles that were sprayed with concrete and left to dry, with tiny gaps in between. That empty space allows rainwater to flow through the concrete and filter naturally into the ground below, akin to the mechanics of a rain garden. Regular slabs of concrete are impervious, so rainwater collects in the road and sweeps oil and other contaminants straight to the local waterways.
“Some people are happy with it. Some people that were unhappy with the texture of the sidewalk because the texture is not what people are used to seeing,” said McMullen. “We were required by the folks at DNREC, because of our proximity to the beach … to have pervious concrete.”
The Streetscape Improvements project is part of a federal project that DelDOT is managing. Ocean View officials asked to be part of it.
“It certainly is something that everyone has been proposing — a livable, walkable Delaware. I think it’s a good thing,” McMullen said.
People are already outdoors using the sidewalks, he noted.
“We’re hoping as more people see Woodland Avenue, they’re going to want a sidewalk in their neck of the woods,” said McMullen.
The Ocean View Streetscape Improvements project contains several phases that could occur in the future. The next proposals include Central Avenue, and north of Route 26, Woodland Avenue and West Avenue.
McMullen said the Town splits costs of the project with the federal government, 80/20. Each phase may not exceed $1 million.
He also said the land was already part of the Town’s right-of-way. According to McMullen, no land has been acquired to date, and he does “not know that there will be any in the future.”
Some people expressed concerns that there are still no bike paths. Others don’t necessarily want people walking by their homes. The biggest concern has been maintenance.
Town code requires residents living adjacent to the sidewalks to maintain them, which includes snow and ice removal. Some people were frustrated with this stipulation, especially when some live elsewhere in winter. However, McMullen countered that residents must also mow their lawns, and those who are absent ask someone else to do that for them.
More information and renderings of the Phase II sidewalk can be found online at www.deldot.gov/information/projects/TE/Ocean_View.