In Delaware, Complete Streets Mandate comes to mean “Routine Accommodation”

When Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order #6 on April 24, 2009, ordering the creation of a “Complete Streets” policy at DelDOT, many Delaware bicyclists were giddy. If the Delaware bicycling community were blessed with its own version of Martin Luther King Jr., he might have yelled out “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

In reality, however, an informal “Complete Streets” policy has been in effect at DelDOT for a number of years, just with a much less exciting name: “routine accommodation.” And, as DelDOT has pointed out, such multi-modal accommodation has been happening routinely in DelDOT projects, just with less fanfare and without the sexy name of “Complete Streets”.
So, what has “routine accommodation” meant for bicycling in Delaware? The most important thing to keep in mind is that “routine accommodation” is not a commitment to make dedicated, stand-alone, or strategic investments in bicycling (or walking, for that matter). Instead, it’s a commitment to keep these other ways of getting around in mind while improving roads for car and truck travel. The policy explicitly applies to “road reconstruction” and projects that “widens [sic] the pavement width“.