From April 30 to May 2, 2019, the Dutch Cycling Embassy participated in a three-day program in Delaware. The first two days were spent hosting a ThinkBike Workshop for the Delaware Department of Transportation, and the final day attending a public summit for the non-profit Bike Delaware, all in the state capital of Dover. DCE Marketing and Communication Manager Chris Bruntlett was joined by three network participants: Sjors van Duren and Wim van der Wijk from Royal HaskoningDHV, and Eric van Dijk from the Province of Utrecht.
As is typical with the ThinkBike format, the majority of the first day was spent on two wheels, visiting the sites of real-life “hot spots”, proposed infrastructure projects, and experiencing the actual cycling conditions in that particular location. But rather than focus on one specific city, the state-wide mandate meant the group split into three different parties, of approximately a dozen people each, and toured sites in Delaware’s three counties: New Castle, Sussex, and Kent.
On the second day, participants reconvened in their three working groups, and started to hash out solutions for two or three sites in those cities. The discussions ranged in scale from network-level planning, to the placement of traffic lights, and the detail of curb cuts, all with an eye on importing decades of bike-focused knowledge to the streets of Delaware. After a full day of learning all they possibly could from the Dutch experts—and translating it into an American setting—the groups converged into one meeting room, and presented their findings and designs to the larger group. In each case, a series of pragmatic proposals were presented, and in each case, the appropriate authority was identified to ensure these ideas were incorporated into existing policy documents.
The third and final day of the program consisted of the 2019 Walkable Bikeable Delaware Summit. For the eighth consecutive year, Bike Delaware hosted for the event in a large tent on the lawn of Legislative Hall—the State Capitol building; providing an opportunity for advocates, consultants, public servants, and elected officials to gather and share their ideas and enthusiasm for a more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly state. The theme of the summit was “Dutch Ideas for Delaware”, and the contingent of international experts drew a great deal of attention, attracting a record 200 registrants.
As the program came to a close, participants reflected on three incredibly informative and inspiring days that had just taken place, and the optimism and energy the Dutch visitors provided everyone in attendance.
“Your knowledge and guidance was appreciated by Delawareans, DelDOT staff, and our many guests who participated in the tours and ThinkBike workshop. Your presentations at the Summit were informative and entertaining. You exceeded our expectations and sparked newfound interest among all those who participated. I fully anticipate implementing several of the practices and solutions you highlighted for us." - Robert B. McCleary, P.E., Chief Engineer, Delaware Department of Transportation