A community-driven project to make Union Street more bike and pedestrian-friendly, has become a reality on Wilmington’s Union Street: there are now additional rear-in parking spaces, a new bike lane and freshly painted crosswalks at a majority of the intersections.
Union Street used to offer 3 lanes of vehicular traffic and parallel parking. Now there are two lanes for traffic, added parking with diagonal spaces and the new bike lane.
As the project neared completion, West Side Grows Together held a celebration, which started with a bike parade down Union Street on November 18th. West Side Grows Together is a group of residents, organizations, and businesses from Wilmington’s West Side that strives improve their neighborhood. But the unique idea actually was the brainchild of two students who wanted to generate a community project that would help bring economic activity to the area and make it safer for pedestrians, bikers and walkers.
“I’m so excited, and I think it’s fantastic,” said Alexandra Gawel, who lives in Wilmington and walks to restaurants and shops on Union Street. “The parking stripes are going to allow for more people to come downtown and enjoy the restaurants. I think it’s going to bring a lot more business and people to this area. Financially it’s going to be so beneficial for our city.”
West Side Grows Together’s Sarah Lester welcomed bikers and supporters as she explained some of the advantages to the new street configuration. “In addition to the economic and safety benefits, we really wanted to bring a lot of the culture and community out to the streets.”
The revitalization project was years in the making and was completed in collaboration with many partners, including City of Wilmington, the Delaware Department of Transportation, WILMAPCO, the Urban Bike ProjectWest Side Grows Together, business owners, and community members.