The Master Plan for the Central Delaware identified that a primary challenge in re-connecting people to the waterfront is the infrastructure of I-95, which acts as a mental and physical barrier. However, an early discovery during the analysis phase of the planning process was that even though I-95 is perceived as a barrier, the structure of the interstate is actually much more porous than generally thought. In the six-mile planning area there are actually 47 streets which proceed over or under I-95.
The problem is, therefore, not a lack of connection but that the connections are unattractive, uninteresting, or feel unsafe. The interstate creates interruptions in the urban character of these important lateral streets that connect the waterfront with its adjacent neighborhoods. Creating cohesive streetscapes on these connector streets can begin to mitigate the negative effects of the interstate.
A critical step in implementing the master plan is making high-impact improvements to both the connector streets themselves and I-95 infrastructure, specifically in the locations where key connector streets pass over or under the interstate. Currently the interstate underpasses are dark, dirty, and poorly maintained; a fairly simple way to improve the conditions is to improve the lighting and vertical surface treatments. In addition, the master plan recommends an overall cohesive treatment of these lateral streets starting at a point within the neighborhood and stretching to the waterfront with improvements such as lighting, landscaping, signage, and improved sidewalks and bicycle lanes in order to increase pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist safety as well as creating a visual connection with the waterfront.