Monday, October 19, 2020

Fail Again: East Coast Greenway in Ogletown

Surprise! (not). Townsend & Osienski are either oblivious or simply don't care about bike/ped access in their districts, or they would've been on top of this. Cross-posted from 1st State Bikes

According to the East Coast Greenway (ECG) website greenway.orgThe East Coast Greenway is a walking and biking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida, connecting our nation’s most populated corridor. The East Coast Greenway is designed to transform the 15 states and 450 communities it connects through active and healthy lifestyles, sustainable transportation, community engagement, climate resilience, tourism, and more. The Greenway offers a safe place for bicyclists, walkers, runners, and more — of all ages and abilities — to commute, exercise, and visit new destinations.

For Delaware's portion of the ECG: Enjoy the charming historic city of New Castle before continuing on the New Castle Riverfront Greenway along the Delaware River and heading westward to Newark, starting out on the Penn Farm Trail. The route incorporates a mix of side paths and roads to Newark, a small college town near the Maryland border where travelers will find themselves on the James F. Hall Trail before hitting the road again to the Maryland border.

There are numerous infrastructure and safety issues with the East Coast Greenway (ECG) in Delaware. Among them a section of shared use path (SUP) along Route 4 in Ogletown, where it crosses Augusta Drive to a 1 block section of shared Route 4 frontage street. This crossing is impeded by a raised N-S center median and there is no marked crossing through it. Crossing here is taking your life in your hands, with high speed traffic blindly turning onto Augusta exactly where ECG users attempt to cross.

Very recently
, this intersection was marked out for a traffic signal upgrade (photo left). In contacting DelDOT, it turns out that other features are being replaced as well, including pedestrian refuge islands and corner curb ramps. An existing pedestrian crosswalk across Route 4 to the "Shops at Augusta" (a small strip mall) will also be refreshed, but DelDOT will not be adding a crossing of Augusta to maintain ECG continuity.

Why isn't the ECG part of this upgrade? Even leveling the median for an unmarked at-grade crossing would be of help, as bicyclists are likely to circumvent around nearer to the lanes of Route 4. We wrote to DelDOT to inquire, and learned that none of this would be considered. In their words, "this signal rebuild has a limited scope and would not be able to address the geometric issues regarding the installation of a new crossing on SB Augusta Drive. However, as you requested we can add the R10-15 (turning vehicles yield to pedestrians sign) on the right side of SB Augusta Drive. It will be added at the end of the construction. In addition, we will forward your request for this intersection to DelDOT Project Development or the PAR program for further investigation or consideration in future projects" and "it would have doubled the scope of the project in both time and cost".

Adding a R10-15 on southbound Augusta is hardly solace for what should have been. This was a big pathways opportunity missed that could and should have earned the scope of this signal project. Minus any fix -- even a simple median leveling as suggested -- Augusta will now remain an impediment, as an unmarked and unsafe crossing in the ECG for years to come. It will still require stepping over or biking around a median in an uncontrolled manner (YouTube video). Meanwhile, there are plenty of examples of crosswalks added in similar rehab projects around Delaware one could point to. And, It has been understood for a decade now that Complete Streets improvements should be considered via reconstruction & rehab projects if at all possible -- even if additional funds might be needed. The ECG right of way should be of no exception.

Par for the course.
 Just like the loss of the Orphanage Property as a park and pathways system (the region's last chance), privilege does indeed matter. Ogletown-S. Newark is 'undeserving' of these amenities based largely on socio-economic status. Other regions of higher rank and privilege fair much better in Delaware when it comes to multi-modal and community investment. Think: would it be the same outcome if this involved the Delaware Greenway in North Wilmington?

For the record: As we have seen over and over again, it was just another failure on the part of oversight orgs such as Bike Delaware, WilmapcoDE Greenways, and area Legislators that a critical greenways/pathways improvement opportunity came and went with nary a peep. If they weren't made aware, perhaps DelDOT lacks the mechanism to reach out when a rehab or reconstruction project impacts a SUP pathway system like the ECG? Each of these org's missions emphasizes the need for multi-modal connectivity and networks that facilitate safe bicycling and walking. Bike Delaware in particular has a dismal track record in this regard.


Above: Google Streetview. East Coast Greenway 8' wide SUP is seen coming down from the above left straddling the Route 4 shoulder/bike lane to the side street intersection of Augusta Drive. A narrow sidewalk continues north on Augusta but there lacks any safe crossing of Augusta to continue east bound on the ECG (or vice versa).

Friday, August 28, 2020

Privilege Has Its Rewards: Part 4

Still think that privilege doesn't affect the decisions of Delaware politicians? Think again. Like Newark proper, Pike Creek already has multiple regional parks and vast swaths of saved green and open spaces. Despite this fact, they continue to get more and more with the fervent support of area legislators AND County Exec Matthew Meyer. In an act of corruption involving both State Legislators, Meyer sold out Ogletown-S. Newark by refusing to purchase the Orphanage Property -- the last park opportunity for the entire region.

From WDEL | A Delaware Superior Court ruling issued August 18, 2020, went in favor of New Castle County in its ongoing efforts to stifle development of a 180 acre parcel in Pike Creek Valley.

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer was pleased with the Court's decision against Pike Creek Recreational Services (PCRS) in connection with the former Three Little Bakers golf course.

"There's a deed restriction," said Meyer. "I've thought from day one it's pretty clear, it's got to remain a golf course.
[Full Article . . .]


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Townsend, Osienski, & Corruption: Perfect Together

Bryan-Townsend.com 30-day hit count
For anyone searching under any word combination of "Bryan Townsend Osienski Corruption", they're in for a deluge of fact finding information. Ditto that with "Orphanage" or "Open Space" or "Ogletown". Those with inquiring minds -- and there will be many come future generations -- will swiftly learn of this pair's folly, and just how corrupt they really are. Admins for this page, and Ogletown Resilience, and 1st State Bikes, have also ensured that these domain names will remain permanent and on-line for the foreseeable future (what's left of it):




The goal of this page is make Sen Bryan Townsend's corruption readily searchable by the public, so that future generations will know who sold them out environmentally and socio-economically. That they will know who denied them "Naturehood", and ignored and thus hastened the climate and extinction crisis we now face. That this legislative cabal in the "Democratic" party never even tried, yet they continue lying that they did with a fake line item in the bond bill. That they threw away the last remaining open space, with an interconnecting trail system and habitat area suitable for a regional park -- even at the cost of a pittance.

Mr Townsend and his House minion Ed Osienski deny any role in the loss of the Orphanage Property, and insist that they were powerless to stop it. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As one of the highest ranking State Senators and a future anointee for Governor or a seat in U.S. Congress, Townsend alone could have led the charge to save it. He could have intervened a full 2 years before Advocates were even made aware of the development plans, and demanded a different outcome -- that the land be saved as a regional park. He could have been a champion, like other State Legislators around the country are for their constituents. Instead, he trashed - forever - the needs of thousands living in the Ogletown-S. Newark region, in favor of profiteering and kickbacks to his campaign donors in the building industry. He allowed this to happen knowing full well that the region has a terrible history of disenfranchisement, because he didn't need them to win re-election in 2018.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Legislator Was a Champion of Parks (in CA, that is)

We have repeated on numerous occasions, and in articles on this website, that both State Legislators (including Rep Ed Osienski) are most at fault for the loss of the Orphanage Property, because they are self-serving and corrupt.

Unlike other States, most of Delaware does not have local jurisdiction; Ogletown-S. Newark is not a city, a township or a borough. We do not have the ability to draft and put up referendums on the ballot, i.e. open space funding via a minuscule sin tax as commonly seen in most other States. This is something that, like 10-9 funding (failed) and Open Space as a Democrat Party Plank (failed - again), Advocates would have worked very hard to secure funding. Therefore, our County and State Legislators are given a significantly elevated responsibility to act in the people's -- their constituents -- best interests, throughout the districts they serve.

Advocates for Saving The Orphanage Property (STOP) knew from very early on that Councilwoman Lisa Diller was done and finished helping STOP Advocates; she made no effort to hide that fact and was a colossal failure when the cover was blown in 2015. Exec Meyer arrived late on the scene with his election victory in 2016, and with no State Legislator oversight, both State Legislators allowed him to throw away this one time-only opportunity with two hands.

Along with Diller, both Rep Ed Osienski and Sen Bryan Townsend knew back in 2013 that the property was in the early stages of development planning, and did NOT act in the manner of trying to save it for a regional park -- or because it made ecological and socio-economic sense. By 2015, plans for the Chestnut Hill so-called "Preserve" had advanced to the point that no advocacy effort could save it, and both Townsend and Osienski knew that, with Osienski reaffirming as much, repeatedly, throughout the campaign.

This, in stark contrast to another Legislator from California, who fills the same shoes as Townsend-Osienski in Delaware, yet was a champion of parks for his constituents and the State as a whole. Excerpts:

Townsend and Osienski will never come close
to this man's level of public service and integrity.
John P. Quimby, the plain-spoken former assemblyman who authored California’s law that lets cities and counties require developers to set aside land for parks, has died, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 77.

The Times reported that Quimby died Dec. 23 of pneumonia at a Sacramento-area hospital. Quimby contracted polio when he was 12, a disease that required him to use crutches or a wheel chair in later years. When he was 22, he was elected to the San Bernardino City Council, the youngest council member in the city’s history. He was elected to the Assembly in 1962 and served for 12 years.

After World War II, Southern California experienced an unprecedented building boom that left areas like North Orange County “park poor.” In 1965, the Democrat authored the law later named for him — the Quimby Act. [Full article ...]

Monday, March 23, 2020

The Biggest Legacy of Townsend and his "Democratic" Cohorts?

Sen Townsend and son: Goodbye to the Orphanage Property, and the
last hopes of Ogletown-S. Newark for a regional park.
It is one thing that Govt leaders like Delaware's Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, and their minions on New Castle County Council criminally deny place-making and local park access to entire regions of the State. It's another thing that they routinely ignore citizens socio-economic needs based on class -- across vast swaths of their constituencies -- while lavishing favor on others of higher status. But their biggest "legacy" of all may just be the current state of affairs with COVID-19: Our grossly degraded ecology, climate change, the mass die-off of species, and the catastrophic loss of natural lands and biodiversity that is surely connected to the Coronavirus pandemic situation we are now facing. This is from Ensia, on March 17. Excerpts:

Only a decade or two ago it was widely thought that tropical forests and intact natural environments teeming with exotic wildlife threatened humans by harboring the viruses and pathogens that lead to new diseases in humans like Ebola, HIV and dengue.

But a number of researchers today think that it is actually humanity’s destruction of biodiversity that creates the conditions for new viruses and diseases like COVID-19, the viral disease that emerged in China in December 2019, to arise — with profound health and economic impacts in rich and poor countries alike. In fact, a new discipline, planetary health, is emerging that focuses on the increasingly visible connections among the well-being of humans, other living things and entire ecosystems. [Read the full article . . . ]

We have to wonder what Mr Townsend -- a new father of one with more on the way -- will tell his own children, and future generations, when the record points to his deliberate participation in our socio and environmental demise. How will he explain his prioritization of developer interests over naturehood; of failing to protect local and regional open space and land conservation efforts, and opening up Delaware's coastal zone to heavy industrial development? He will need to explain somehow that this "economic development" and a short-term profits were more important than their health, safety and a livable future.

Hence, the mission of this page: Clearly, Senator Bryan Townsend's actions are NOT in the best interests of future generations, and we will hold him (and his Democrat party colleagues) responsible at the local, regional and State level.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Privilege Has Its Rewards: Part 3

The article below is from an article on the City of Newark's website, posted on 3-4-2020.

Groundbreaking Scheduled for New Park and Stormwater Facility

The City of Newark is excited to announce the site of the former Caesar Rodney Residence Hall located at 103 Hillside Road is ready for construction. In place of the dormitories, the City, with support from the University of Delaware and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), will build a seven-acre public park with .75 miles of accessible trails, a natural play area and outdoor classroom. The site will also contain a stormwater pond to address flooding and water quality concerns along with amenities such as a fishing pier, floating wetlands and observation deck. Earth moving will begin the week of March 16th.

The name of the park will be determined by the public through a survey distributed by the City. The survey will launch on Friday, March 13th and submissions are due by 4:00 on Thursday, March 26th. City staff will present the top six names to Mayor Jerry Clifton and members of City Council for consideration and approval [Full Article . . . ]

Once again, too bad that Ogletown-S. Newark will never see these kinds of amenities. Living in this grossly disenfranchised region of New Castle County among the "unwashed" (as viewed by Senator Townsend, Rep Osienski and NCC's Matt Meyer and Elisa Diller), "quality of life" doesn't stand a chance. For these four -- all Democrats -- a Wawa or Royal Farms with 12 gas pump islands is "place-making" and building communities. There are simply no words to describe the injustice, and the preferential treatment of one community over another where parks and commons is concerned.

How rotten and disgusting they really are, especially Senator Townsend as the highest ranking and easily the most influential Legislator in the bunch. For both he and Rep Osienski, throwing away the Orphanage Property and the last chance for a regional park was payback time to their campaign donors, mainly consisting of developer and building interests.

View all articles in this series

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The folly of Bryan Townsend, in one letter

As Senator Townsend (along with cohorts Rep Osienski and NCC's Diller) goes around telling everyone that the loss of the Orphanage Property wasn't his fault, and that he exhausted everything in his effort to save it, nothing could be farther from the truth. It is very important to keep this at the forefront, given Mr Townsend's gross talent as a politician, liar and con-artist.

Nothing can change the fact that Senator Townsend knew years in advance that the Felician Sisters were looking to build, yet he NEVER brought this to the public and Advocate's attention. Each time someone would confront him with this fact, his go-to answers were "we didn't think it would happen" or "we didn't think the Sisters could get a plan approved" or "we did mention it at local civic meetings" (meetings that virtually nobody attends).

FACT: Mr Townsend knew of the threat of development in 2013, well before the plans were drawn up and the regional park alternative was FAR more achievable. He should have immediately recognized the invaluable opportunity before him, to do something great for his district and his constituents. He should have realized Ogletown-S. Newark (i.e. Route 4 corridor) was in need of its own regional park, instead of having to drive 20 min to Glasgow and Pike Creek. HE didn't do that, he didn't see the need for this invaluable open space as a public asset, because that would fly in the face of his donor interests in the building industry.

FACT: Townsend-Osienski DID write this formal letter (image right) to their constituents in Aug of 2018, regarding a "trail opportunity" in what remains of the Orphanage Property woods. No letter was sent in  2013 regarding a potential Regional Park opportunity, that one or both legislators could have easily championed. As it turned out, the "trail "opportunity" ended in failure due to private property, maintenance and liability issues -- and probably future development potential, i.e. Chestnut Hill "Preserve" Phase 2.

Despite such widespread and enthusiastic support for a regional park, no amount of action or visibility on the part of residents and citizens counted toward democracy in Townsend's District 11. And in light of such blatant corruption, neither did the rule of law. It became painfully clear that, from the very beginning, the fate of the Orphanage Property was already sealed. By the time Advocates and the broader public were notified in July 2015, it had advanced to a stage that nobody could stop it.

After 2 years secretly knowing that development plans were underway, Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski grant newly elected New Castle County Executive Matthew Meyer full discretion and negotiating rights over saving the Orphanage Property as a regional park. By this time, plans for the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" were already in an advanced state and were destined to happen regardless of legislator input.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

An open letter to the Republican Party of Delaware

This letter was sent on Feb 8, 2020

Dear Republican (R) Party of Delaware, 2020 Candidates and their Supporters,

We at www.bryan-townsend.com are as dismayed with the Democratic (D) party as you are, but likely for different reasons. Please listen to us; defending Trump and perceived attacks against the 2nd amendment is NOT going to win it for R candidates, at least in New Castle County. You need to adjust your strategy, to reach a wider base of potential support.

Please address the current Democrat Leadership's well documented corruption and brutal hypocrisy, as well as their documented failed leadership to their own constituents. Many of these Constituents who do not agree with Townsend's view, and challenge those views, are blocked from the Facebook pages of these Legislators, and as such, cannot comment and have their voices heard. Many other voters are searching for answers, for Candidates who share their concerns. To that end, it is your responsibility to reach out to these voters, to state firm platform issues, e.g. environmental conservation, that were once the pride of moderate (R)s such as former greatly respected and revered Governor Russell Peterson, U.S. Senator William Roth, former Governor and U.S. Rep Mike Castle, etc. The (R)s today, even in Delaware, appear to have abandoned such moderation, and are generally viewed as anti-environment. That alone is against you, already.

Rep Mike Ramone (R), District 21, New Castle Cty
We're giving friendly advice here; in trying to unseat these firmly entrenched and corrupted (D)s, you have to put aside the same tired and losing strategies that too few Delawareans -- especially those on the fence -- care about. These voters can narrowly determine outcomes, and to them, it's usually quality of representation that matters. The "Democratic" party has been an EPIC FAILURE in this State where constituent representation is concerned -- for decades -- right where people live. Just ask Rep Mike Ramone what it takes to win, he is hugely popular.

The Rs should pay serious attention to Townsend, and the potential consequences, as he and his party are grooming him Statewide for U.S. Congress or Governor. It was a (D) District insider, upon moving out of State, that confessed to us that Townsend is the Delaware (D) Party anointed. He has been traveling the State, passing high profile legislation for the sake of statewide name and face recognition. He strategically places himself in all the right places, insincerely taking up the causes of, and being photographed with, African Americans, women, Muslims, impoverished people, and other minority classes. At 38 years old, he's already shown his disregard for his own local Constituents (when he should have been fighting to protect the Orphanage Property against massive development) by running for U.S. Rep in 2016. It's abundantly obvious that he's a rising star of his Party. Unless you act, he could potentially be one of our U.S. Congressmen or Governor in the coming decade or two.

That said, feel free to use anything from this website if so inclined. In particular, the right column "Top Articles" is a list of links connecting Townsend and his (D) cohorts to gross corruption and/or incompetence, as well as statewide corruption resulting from entrenched (D) party control.

Thanks so much, and best of luck to all of you come November.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Privilege Has Its Rewards: Part 2

The article below is from an article in the Newark Post on Jan 16, 2020.

Josh Shannon | The state of Delaware has acquired 32 acres of land along New London Road, expanding White Clay Creek State Park and protecting the wooded land and meadows from development.

The $2.6 million purchase amounts to the largest land acquisition for WCCSP since 2003, Delaware State Parks Director Ray Bivens said.

“We’re thrilled because it’s a great wildlife corridor, and you have a big chunk of mature forest that we’re protecting,” Bivens said. [Full article . . .]

The State of Delaware with Senator Bryan Townsend (and/or Rep Osienski or NCC's Lisa Diller) as champion could have acquired 180 acres of prime habitat, open space and trail corridors in Ogletown-S. Newark for a little over what they just paid for 32 acres (1/6 the size) in the City of Newark. This purchase, and the thwarting of housing development on the Newark Country Club is what you can expect where privilege aboundsNot so in many, if not most other disenfranchised suburbs in New Castle County that include Townsend's Senate Dist 11.

Had the 180 acre Orphanage Property been in Newark proper, securing $3+ Million to save it as parkland and habitat area would have been a shoo-in. As the dregs of New Castle County's nameless faceless unincorporated suburbs, Ogletown-S. Newark residents aren't deserving of such an amenity -- in the minds of area legislators.
View all articles in this series

Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Foot Tour of Senator Townsend's (3rd world) District 11

Hypocrite: Townsend on Facebook
Paradoxically, Senator Townsend remains hugely popular among his Ogletown-S. Newark constituents despite his colossal failure as a legislator and representative of their best interests. But then again, Delawareans in general have a penchant for taking it up the backside, all the while begging for more. They stay loyal to his Facebook page, where Mr Townsend cross-posts environmental issues with a sense of outrage, and what appears genuine anger and remorse toward our planet's death spiral under the Trump administration. There is simply no end to the lies and con-artistry this man is capable of, given his dismal record as a State Senator right here in Delaware. The hypocrisy is staggering, as charity is supposed to "begin" at home.

Not only is Mr Townsend one of the worst environmental enemies (as chronicled on this page -- see our "Top Articles" series in the right column) to serve office in any State, he also has zero interest in quality of life and green transportation that includes walking and biking. His district IS entropy made visible, with infrastructure at least as bad or worse than most 3rd world countries.

Here are a few local examples, found just in Ogletown:

"Pathway" connecting Cherokee Woods with Our Redeemer Church/Chestnut Hill Estates.
"Bike Path" along Route 4, in front of the Christina Early Education Center. Zero maintenance or repair.
"Curb ramp" and pathway between Ogletown Rd and Route 4 at D&H Jamaican. Not only is this not ADA-compliant, it has never been maintained in any way, much less rehabbed or resurfaced.
Pathway connecting Todd Estates/Newark Oaks/Brookside to Jennie Smith ES and George Kirk MS. This facility is very heavily relied upon by school children walking and biking to school, easily the healthiest thing a child can and should engage in. Most who use it walk or bike through the adjacent driveway instead, before reconnecting near the trip hazard (below) further up.
Also along the pathway connection above; a major tripping hazard, the result of settling concrete slabs and zero maintenance or repair.
Death trap: Posted speed limit of 50
mph 
(55-60 prevailing) in front of 
Ogletown area schools.
This is what you can expect under failed leadership, in this case Senator Townsend and cohort Rep Ed Osienski, along with their NCC Democratic colleague Lisa Diller. The trio -- most influential among them Townsend -- also could have gifted their districts a regional park on Route 4 on the former Orphanage Property. Instead, they lied and chose to hide that possibility from Advocates and the broader public for a full 2 years or until such time it was committed to development and couldn't be stopped. All the while, Route 4 is slowly but surely evolving into a Kirkwood Hwy or Route 13, with endless lane expansion projects, installations of overhead lights, clear cutting of trees, and other assaults on community life and place-making.

Despite being one of the most, if not the most disenfranchised regions of the State, these legislators go on enjoying broad support among their constituents, easily defeating their challengers in each election cycle.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Senator Townsend and Cohorts Say No "Naturehood" for Ogletown

Governor Ruth Ann Minner at Newark's Community Day, 2004
By Angela Connolly | Livable Delaware was the signature initiative of Governor Ruth Ann Minner’s first term. It was a sustainable land-use agenda that promoted thoughtful growth. She stated that "We need to pursue a strategy that will keep sprawl in check, reduce traffic congestion, strengthen our towns and cities, and protect our huge investment in roads, schools and other infrastructure. I propose to call it “Livable Delaware.”

This Democrat initiative SHOULD have been honored and followed. But in the years since its inception, "Livable Delaware" has become a farce and a joke for many Delawareans, particularly in New Castle County. We continue to watch helplessly as Democratic leadership casts Environmental stewardship aside. Advocates and Environmentalists watched helplessly as, with the stroke of a pen, HB-190 was signed into law. This bill was created by Democratic Legislators Townsend and Osienski, and was signed into law by current Gov John Carney. It lifts the Coastal Zone protections put into place by former Governor Russell Peterson (R) in 1971. Destruction of natural lands (not channeled to redevelopment) continues unabated under Democrat's leadership. Residents near new housing construction are seeing an unprecedented number of dead wildlife, killed by cars as they flee the destruction of their habitat homes. It is even more offensive when these new developments are sold to NCC Council as walkable/bikeable, because a few asphalt pathways are included, and thus it will "reduce car trips".

Perhaps most tragic is when a handful of people, in this case the Legislators, recklessly decide a future course dictated by profiteering, that will negatively impact generations to come. Senator Bryan Townsend, Rep Ed Osienski, Councilwoman Lisa Diller, and, later in the game, County Exec Matt Meyer are prime examples. These four alone are directly responsible for selling out a major carbon-sequestering natural habitat area in Ogletown, 180 acres of forests, fields and wetlands that was filled with wildlife -- some of which is endangered. They decided through their failure to save this land for a pittance -- the last of its kind for an entire region -- that the people of Ogletown-S. Newark and the larger surrounding area were not worthy of a "Naturehood" of their own. These residents didn't deserve a place to build community, to engage in healthy activities, and to enjoy stunning views of Iron Hill -- things that only a Regional Park at this location could have offered. No. Instead, by their own admission, they kept the development secret for the first two years they learned of it, lying, and bungling every opportunity that was presented to them since -- up to and including the time when the Developers themselves were willing to sit down, listen to and consider a deal that could have saved the land.

This billboard "Every Neighborhood has a Naturehood" spent months posted up on Marrows Road in Newark, adjacent to Kimberton. It was recently replaced, and it should be given our legislator's utter lack of concern for land conservation.

So
, the next time you hear Democrats like Senator Townsend, Representative Osienski, Councilwoman Lisa Diller, and County Exec Matt Meyer talking about how bad Trump and the Republicans are on Environmental issues, don't believe them. Remember it is THEY -- Democrats -- who are responsible for the loss of this open space, critical habitat and regional park opportunity, along with so many others like it that are being obliterated as we speak.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

DE for Retirement and Quality of Life: FAIL, thanks to Townsend and Cohorts

Articles are plastered all over the internet show that, time and time again, Delaware is not a recommended place to retire or to expect a high quality of life. It is the second smallest State next to Rhode Island, and the 4th most corrupt State next to Wyoming, where corrupt Democrats massively subsidize business interests and relax corporate laws to attract major companies to relocate here. This is probably the only reason that more people aren't fleeing Delaware, unlike other States with well-established quality of life issues.

That Senator Bryan Townsend and his Democratic legislative minions refuse to care about quality of life in "The 1st State" anytime it favors big business couldn't be more readily apparent. They'll even go so far as to tear down the environmental legacy of past govt officials and legislators, and aid and abet land-use profiteers (developers) in all manner of secrecy. They crush, and then laugh at citizen-led grassroots campaigns aimed at improving DE's socio-economic status and thus making the State a healthier and more attractive place to live. Only some of these are highlighted on this website; there are hundreds, if not thousands of similar examples throughout DE's history. Today, these gross injustices are overwhelmingly spearheaded by Democrats -- the State's long time controlling political party. The result? If you're in any way progressive, Delaware is no place to live. Unless drawn for business purposes, and/or if you're desperate for a job in banking, pharma, or bio-tech, other States and areas of the U.S. are far more attractive.

... and not one of the country's top 25 best places to live is found in Delaware:

In matters of land-use, Delaware's corrupt legislators go around telling everyone that more suburban sprawl translates to more tax base, which in turn, produces a lower cost of living and thus higher quality of life. Not only is this argument fallacious, but cost of living is not the only concern for the State's residents and prospective residents. Studies like this one highlight the fiscal impacts of land uses on local governments, and that these lies come home to bite in nearly every case. Why? Because on average, each new dwelling unit (including in DE) costs $1.25 in required govt services for every $1 in new taxes generated. By design, the suburbs are a failed model; a failed living arrangement that costs govt more than any tax base can recoup. But you'll never hear Townsend, Rep Osienski, and their legislative allies ever discuss this, and what solutions exist (never mind propose) to bring livability and possibly retrofit said living arrangement.

In summary, Delaware - primarily New Castle County - will never rank among the most attractive places to live for reasons too numerous to list all of them here. But chief among the environmental causes are terrible driver behavior, deadly conditions for multi-modal roadway users, deafening vehicle noise, lack of place-makinglack of locally accessible regional parks, no dedicated open space funding, and deeply entrenched and notoriously corrupted County and State legislatures. This unattractive quality of life, at the hands of corporate greed and profiteering, will be these legislator's "legacy" -- their "gift" to future generations (including their own children) and there's little any of us citizens and Advocates can do to stop them.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Allentown goes for regional park on environmental and economic benefits

Cross-posted from Lehigh Valley Regional News  Because of corruption in DE govt al la Townsend, Osienski et al, this hope has been forever dashed in the entire Ogletown S. Newark region. But at least Allentown PA gets it where the value of parks and trail systems are concerned. 

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – An obscure tract of Allentown land may help boost the city's environment and economy.

Plans were unveiled Thursday at Allentown City Hall for Auburn Cross Trails Park, covering about 32 acres of land bounded by Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Basin Street and Auburn Street. About two-thirds of the of land is owned by the Allentown Economic Development Corp. and would be used for manufacturing.

The proposal includes trails, open meadows, picnic areas, a dog park and places to fish. The big picture is to move toward connecting to existing trails in the city and the region. The site used to house Allentown's municipal incinerator, which closed decades ago.

"The plan can be broken up into manageable pieces," Chris Stanford of engineering firm Michael Baker International said.

That may be necessary, because the $1 million-plus needed for the park is not available yet, according to Karen El-Chaar, director of Allentown's parks and recreation department.

"This will probably be state-funded," she said, with the city contributing a small amount. [Full Article]

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Car-nage: HB-185 and Delaware's Walking Dead

Too bad Senator Townsend doesn't have his priorities straight when it comes to safety at the human scale. Delaware consistently leads the nation in walk-bike injuries and fatalities, but the Senator (District 11 and gunning for higher) doesn't care. Instead, he fights for, and passes HB-185, a bill to facilitate even greater speed and more driver aggression and reckless behavior.

Delaware is once again poised for a dismally high position -- if not taking the nation's top spot for walking fatalities again this year. Ditto for bicycling - in a runaway - but we will cover that in a future article. Here, in no particular order, we will examine what we believe are the top 5 reasons for why this is so and will likely never change under Delaware's thoroughly corrupted Democrat party leadership:

Even with a flashing beacon, motorists still have
the right of way to continue, at speed, through
DelDOT's crosswalks without penalty.
1) Motor vehicle right of way through crosswalks and intersections. Delaware gives motor vehicles priority and right of way through mid-block crosswalks and radial turns, and puts the onus on pedestrians to create his or her own opportunity to cross. This doesn't change even with DelDOT's flashing beacons installed at a few of them; peds are still sidelined, and must make the first move -- hoping cars will stop. In no way is this progressive or conducive to pedestrian safety, and is completely backwards in approach.

The way it should be. With a little enforcement.
Mass sees far greater compliance using this simple
sign than DE will ever see using beacons.
2) An antiquated traffic code for pedestrians. There are numerous discrepancies and problems that a complete overhaul of Delaware's vehicle code is LONG overdue. The language is so antiquated that it even includes a holiday as impacting where and how to enforce it, including "soliciting contributions shall not apply on the Saturday immediately prior to Father's Day". Advocates volunteered many hours of time and did an overhaul, presenting it in legislative bill form to Delaware's Pedestrian Council. Ultimately, the State's defacto walking advocacy org, Bike Delaware, infiltrated the Ped Council and quashed the effort.

Crosswalks through highway-speed kill zones.
3) Wide lanes, slip lanes, and unregulated radial turns that induce high speed and discourage defensive driving, even in known pedestrian hot spots. Instead of traditional crossroads, most of Delaware's suburban thoroughfares consist of radial turns to keep motor vehicles moving as quickly as possible through intersections. This seriously compromises pedestrian safety, since the beginning and end of the crosswalk is unregulated and never signalized. As they are induced to maintain speed, motorists seldom yield, and usually just barrel on through even when pedestrians are present. This is not at all conducive to pedestrian safety, and not only adds to the danger, it discourage walking in the first place.

Non-drivers will often create "goat paths", as
the State and its Counties will not seek out and
try and include these important connections
with area rehab & reconstruction projects.
4) Very few pathway facilities that make safe connections between existing communities, commerce, and civil services. Lack of connectivity in development codes, and an ignorance of livability concerns throughout most of Delaware's planning history have all but sealed the fate of its suburban dwellers. Bike Delaware at one time made mention that connectivity is their mission, which includes piecing together what few streets do connect to try and create low stress networks. But for the vast majority of disconnected and unincorporated suburbs, they have yet to demonstrate how interconnecting pathways can be added without violating private property rights and/or invoking imminent domain -- never mind the exorbitant costs involved. In the end, those walking and biking are inevitably forced out onto arterial roads and their high speed intersections to reach most destinations.

5) Very little police presence and law enforcement to begin with. It is no secret that the police in Delaware -- in particular State and County -- are either stretched way too thin or even working without a contract. In what's become a culture of "anything goes", progressive reforms that include, e.g. stronger crosswalk signage with actual fines posted will remain out of the question. Unless a rare sting, the police are never around to actually enforce it, except perhaps in court after an injury or fatality. It is not uncommon at all for residents in unincorporated areas to go weeks or months without seeing a squad car in their region. When everyone knows that they can stretch, bend or break even the most basic laws of civility and predictability, higher crash counts inevitably follow. While the actions of the pedestrian (or bicyclist) is always cited as contributing or not, a gross lack of defensive driving due to paltry driver education, no redundant education, and virtually no law enforcement is a far greater problem overall.

Summary: Though certainly not alone in this, Delaware's built environment is a microcosm of the death and carnage now accepted as "normal" in the U.S. -- normal by placing motor vehicle traffic at human scale. Earlier govt planners, engineers and architects foisted this upon us by trashing livability in favor of "Stroads" that incorporate driveways, streets, parking lots, etc as directly connected to highways. Post WW2 design should have included frontage, service, and ring roads, and other treatments that allow highways to stay just that: relatively uninterrupted carriage ways between larger destinations with ample walking-biking cross-through (tunnel under) opportunities. Now dangerous by design, the State and its Counties (along with their Advisers and Advocates) are unable or unwilling to provide the needed tools and coping strategies.

View the proposed updated Delaware Vehicle Code for Pedestrians in pdf format, that was quashed by Bike Delaware after its presentation to Senator Dave Sokola, with no further discussion. It was crafted by using the best of language from progressive States, e.g. Washington, Oregon, Mass, etc where motorist's respect for non-motorized road users is visibly higher than in Delaware, and the statistics are there to back it.

View the 2018 pedestrian fatality statistics for the whole of the U.S. Delaware took a "rest" from the top 5 in 2018, but is set to return in 2019.

Read an article in Strong Towns comparing Streets, Roads, and "Stroads", and what we can do to eliminate the latter in favor of livable streets and communities.

Watch James Howard Kunstler on YouTube destroy the very notion of cars as human scale.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Destroying Peterson's Legacy, and Our Children's Future

Delaware Gov Russel Peterson (R: Environmentalist).
Surely, the man is spinning in his tomb.
With the stroke of a pen, 2 of Delaware's most corrupt legislators ever -- Senator Bryan Townsend and Rep Edward Osienski --destroyed the legacy of former Governor Russel Peterson (R) with HB-190. For those who don't know, Peterson was one of the greatest environmentalists to ever serve in public office, not just in Delaware but the U.S. as a whole. And that's one thing. It's quite another that the pair did this knowing full well the environmental implications, and in the big picture, the dire threat to species survival (including our own) -- both locally and globally:

  • Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’ (Guardian)
  • Human civilization faces "existential risk" by 2050 (CBS News)
  • 'Existential' Risk of Climate Crisis Could Lead to Civilizational Collapse by 2050, Warns Report
  • Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn (Guardian)
  • Extinction is a national threat. Congress must act now: Delaware Voice (Delaware On-Line)

The only thing more shocking
is that Senator Townsend has a 2nd child on the way. With the science more clear than ever, what kind of future does he wish upon them? He had a golden opportunity to make a huge difference right at home -- for a bargain -- and leave a legacy not only for himself, but for his kids and everyone in his District 11. He could have been a champion for those who fought for several years to save the Orphanage Property's fields, forests and wetlands for a regional park. He could have made a bold statement about saving biodiversity while building a quality of life for Ogletown residents. BUT, profits and paybacks to his campaign donors were more important to him, so these hopes never even stood a chance at happening. Because of that, this webpage will serve as a reminder to future generations just who was responsible for their demise, first and foremost, the highest ranking and most influential legislator of them all: Bryan Townsend (D) District 11.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The lies of Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski

By Angela Connolly | That Senator Townsend and Rep Osienski are pathological liars couldn't be more apparent than their assertion that 2 additional years of advocacy -- from the time that developing the Orphanage Property was first conceived -- would have made zero difference in the outcome. Nothing could be farther from the truth. This sham was perpetrated by both of these State legislators who are responsible for this reckless travesty of justice. It was their defacto response after Councilwoman Diller leaked the news of the Chestnut Hill "Preserve" to citizens and Advocates in 2015, a full two years after the legislators first learned the threat of development.

In the spirit of fairness and that "both sides are presented", we are including the relevant snippets from their pages. For the record, had any of these legislators brought the news of impending Orphanage Property development to their constituents, the press, and/or enlisted the help of Advocates in 2013, we would instead be in the planning stages of Ogletown Regional Park.

Any one, two or all three could have stood up to the Felician Sisters and insisted "you are not doing this to our constituents!" and demanded that meetings be arranged and that the seeds of a County and/or State acquisition be planted. It comes first and foremost with their job -- known in the field as representation, democracy and "the needs of the many outweigh the needs (or profits) for the few". These are concepts that Townsend, Osienski and Diller have absolutely no clue about, and never will.

Even non-critical lands of less consequence have been acquired by Govt agencies or Legislative bodies under much more strenuous circumstances than Townsend and Osienski describe. But there are hundreds, if not thousands of examples on-line and across the U.S. These pitiful excuses that they posted on their pages are a foul, repugnant reminder that Delaware is the 4th most corrupt State in the U.S., measured by transparency and accountability (lack thereof).

In summary,"legislators" Townsend, Osienski and Diller are just a few of the self-serving wretches in Delaware Govt that make life-changing decisions for the rest of us, while their #1 fundamental uno priority is to enrich themselves and their cohorts. Townsend in particular is recognized more and more as a foul, brown-nosing corporatist kiss-ass, who's scratching and clawing his way to the top of the political slag heap. Few doubt that he will win the Governor's Mansion or a seat in U.S. Congress. Ultimately, they are all enablers, bidders, and paid shills of the wealthy corporatist elite that fund their campaigns and pass the fat envelopes around. This could not be more apparent with the loss of the Orphanage Property, and an entire region's last hope for it's own park and form of place-making.