Friday, May 31, 2013

Are the best investments on-road or off-road?


 Cross-posted from Bike Walk Twin Cities

By Steve Clark, April 19, 2012 -- In surveys of attitudes toward bicycling as transportation, there often is a large group of people who are "interested but concerned," usually about safety. I'm hearing lately that some feel we need more off-road bike paths to get these people on bikes. I've also heard that a local bicycle organization is supporting a proposal to put in a "sidepath" along a fairly busy street with lots of intersections. Bike lanes or bike paths? What's going to get more people riding? What's safer? What is the better investment, on-street or off-street?

This last question of course, was a critical one for Bike Walk Twin Cities when we began implementation of the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program back in 2006. Congress made it clear that these funds were to get people out of their cars - to see "to what extent walking and bicycling could become part of the transportation solution." So we knew we had to make sure that whatever we built, it would help people reach their destinations, safely and efficiently. The facilities needed to be seen as part of a transportation network, not just a nice recreational loop around a lake.

Here are some of the things we wanted people to know about "bike paths" right from the beginning:

1)  Bike paths, with few exceptions are not bike paths. They are multi-user trails (aka MUTs) accommodating skaters, walkers, people in chairs, baby strollers and skate boarders.  When well-designed, these are hugely popular and relatively safe. When narrow or in areas where there are lots of intersections or driveways, bicyclists often choose to use the adjacent roadway, where they tend to fare better in terms of safety and travel time.

2)  MUTs are not the only way to entice new riders. Many studies and surveys have revealed that on-street bike lanes or paved shoulders are preferred over bike paths even by "potential" cyclists. In a 1999 MnDOT survey asking Minnesotans to choose facilities that would be "important in increasing the likelihood" of commuting to work by bicycle, "bike lanes on roadways" received a yes vote from 79%  versus 73% for separate bike paths.  In later surveys "paved shoulders" were added to the list and immediately rose to the top with 93% of the respondents saying it was "somewhat or very important," with 88% agreeing that separate bike paths or trails were important. [Full article ...]

Poster's note: Trails and pathways are never going to connect everyone from doorstep to destination, especially in the U.S. Even the most bike-friendly places in the world have on-road accommodations high in the list of priorities.

Bicycling surges in major cities across the country

Critics increasingly marginalized, support for bicycling stands at 2:1 in most cases

Excerpts from a recent article in the Green Lane Project:

Complaints about a “war on cars” have echoed around Seattle from a small but persistent chorus opposed to bike lanes. In response the Cascade Bicycle Club commissioned a poll of Seattle voters (conducted by the independent research firm FM3 using a scientifically rigorous sample of 400 respondents), which found that 79 percent view bicyclists favorably, 73 percent want to see more protected green lanes, 59 percent support “replacing roads and some on-street parking” to build green lanes,” while only 31 percent believe Seattle is “waging a war on cars.”

In Chicago, there’s no organized opposition to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision of boosting the city’s economy by providing 100 miles of green lanes and 550 more of on-street bike lanes. More than 16 miles of green lanes were built in 2012. One project on the South Side, however, did raise aesthetic concerns about historic Martin Luther King Drive, which was solved by shifting the protected green lane to a parallel street and adding buffered bike lanes (wide swaths of paint) to King Drive. The community engagement process around this issue resulted in neighbors forming the Bronzeville Bicycling Initiative to encourage more people to bike in this historically African-American community.

Two-thirds of New Yorkers call bike lanes a good idea in the most recent New York Times poll, compared to only 27 percent who oppose them. All of the major candidates to replace Bloomberg as mayor expressed support for bicycling at a recent forum, notes Paul Steely White, executive director of the local group Transportation Alternatives.

[Read the article ...]

Friday, May 24, 2013

Christiana Mall Project a black eye for Complete Streets


By Amy Wilburn, Chair, Delaware Bicycle Council -- It appears that Delaware's largest shopping mall is set to become even less bicycle and pedestrian accessible, and has many scratching their head given the state's 5th place ranking as a bicycle-friendly state. Among the casualties is a "goat path" connector between the Cavalier Country Club Apartment complex adjacent to the Mall, which was recently eliminated due to the construction of a cars-only entrance ramp. According to Marco Boyce of DelDOT, the option of a formal pathway was discussed as part of the ‘Mitigation Berm’ project between the Cavaliers Country Club Apartments and I-95. "Unfortunately, at this late stage, this will not be possible due to spatial constraints within State ROW for the berm and earthen wall. Also, it was indicated that the residents within the Cavaliers community are already thoroughly agitated by the reconstruction of the SR 1/I-95 interchange and probably won’t be receptive to an official pathway placed adjacent to their community at this time".

According to Boyce, any pathway along the I-95 berm would have to be coordinated with on-going development at the Christiana Mall. Mass grading is well underway for both the future Cabellas and future movie theater, thus indicating that site plans have already been approved to some extent by New Castle County’s Department of Land Use. It is unclear if any pathway connections were included as part of these specific projects, or if any leverage still exists to modify site plans to include pathway connections to the Mall. DelDOT did hold a meeting to discuss various projects under future consideration within the Churchmans Crossing/Christiana Mall area and how pathways can be included to provide the connections to this keystone area of the County. The solution will likely be a coordinated mix of pathway segments completed as part of future roadway and bridge projects, developer-funded upgrades and stand-alone pathway projects. While this is an admirable goal and I commend those who are working on it,  many components are years away from fruition.


In summary, there will be no connection to the Mall or park-n-ride for transit users without cars, or for cyclists or pedestrians, at least not for a very long time. How did this slip through the cracks? What happened to Complete Streets? It is difficult to accept these plans, because they are actually in reverse of the progress we've made. The goal is not to put bicyclists and pedestrians out on high traffic roads, but this is exactly what is now happening. There are those who do not have cars but need to get to the area. Our buses do not provide sufficient service or a sufficient network to provide for everyone’s needs. The traffic will now also increase once the construction is completed, making it even worse for non-motorized users. Most of us who walk or bike by choice can either avoid the Mall or drive to it, unfortunate as it is in the 21st century to be forced into either option. But a segment of our population does not have the luxury of either driving to the Mall or avoiding it altogether. These people include Mall employees and park-n-ride transit users who reside in the area. I have even been told about patients from the nearby Christiana Medical Center, who had to ask that medical staff drive them to the park-n-ride because it is simply too dangerous to walk.

Why are we allowing our fellow citizens to be “thrown under the bus”? I find it very depressing that these conditions exist in the state the LAB ranked as the fifth most bicycle friendly in the nation.  We can’t even get cyclists and pedestrians to a flagship destination. Maintaining bicycle and pedestrian connections to important destinations such as the Mall and its associated park-n-ride is not just a nicety, it is a matter of environmental justice. The state, county and DelDOT are tasked to meet the needs of all citizens in a country where all human beings are considered to be equal. We need to make sure that we are doing just this.

-Amy Wilburn has been the Chair of the Delaware Bicycle Council since 2008.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's time for a new direction - will DelDOT lead the way?

FHWA recently released its monthly travel-volume trend summary. The first quarter of 2013 showed aggregate national VMT down .8% and per-capita VMT down 1.5% relative to the same quarter of 2012.

The summary is just the latest evidence that Americans are driving less than they were a decade ago, and factoring in population growth, total VMT is flat or even declining. We have never seen such a serious drop, from the dawn of the auto age through the early 2000s. So are we in a period of temporary flux that will ultimately pass, or has something really changed? I happen to think the latter, though this will surely face ad challenges from the auto industry.

The signs are there that DelDOT is taking a more holistic approach to transportation planning and implementation. Much work remains, but we are slowly moving in the right direction. One thing advocates are always hoping for is that future projects for increased LOS (level of service) are revisited and carefully scrutinized. Are they really necessary, based on a projected demand that may not occur? If so, is there an opportunity to amend these plans with bicycle/pedestrian/transit facilities? Sometimes these projects are 10 or more years in the planning, and according to the latest driving trends, might be curtailed, more multi-modal, or eliminated altogether as transportation needs evolve.

A new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group argues that the change is a durable one.

 Excerpts from the report:

"Revisit plans for new or expanded highways. Many highway projects currently awaiting funding were initially conceived of decades ago and proposed based on traffic projections made before the recent decline in driving. Local, state and federal governments should revisit the need for these “legacy projects” and ensure that proposals for new or expanded highways are still a priority in light of recent travel trends."

"Transportation policy in the United States, however, remains stuck in the past. Official forecasts of future vehicle travel continue to assume steady increases in driving, despite the experience of the past decade. Those forecasts are used to justify spending vast sums on new and expanded highways, even as existing roads and bridges are neglected. Elements of a more balanced transportation system - from transit systems to bike lanes - lack crucial investment as powerful interests battle to maintain their piece of a shrinking transportation funding pie."

"The time has come for America to hit the “reset” button on transportation policy - replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient, flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century."

"Traffic congestion has fallen. According to data from the Texas Transportation Institute, Americans spent 421 million fewer hours stuck in traffic in 2011 than they did in 2005. Further reductions in driving could lead to additional easing of congestion without massive investments in new highway capacity, as long as roads are maintained in a state of good repair."

"Support the Millennials and other Americans in their desire to drive less. Federal, state and local policies should help create the conditions under which Americans can fulfill their desire to drive less. Increasing investments in public transportation, bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure and intercity rail - especially when coupled with regulatory changes to enable the development of walkable neighborhoods - can help provide more Americans with a broader range of transportation options."  [full report in pdf]

Statistics for Delaware through 2011. VMT has begun trending up a bit since the end of the Great Recession, however, this could change drastically as gas prices remain vulnerable to supply disruptions and the decline of easy oil.

The map below shows estimated Vehicle Miles Traveled by Region, as of March 2013, in Billions. In red is the change in traffic volume as compared to same month a year ago.The South Atlantic region, including Delaware, saw a 2.1% drop in aggregate VMT.

Monday, May 20, 2013

How Delaware dramatically improved its bike-friendly ranking

By Amy Wilburn – Back in 2008, Delaware ranked 31st in the League of American Bicyclist’s Bicycle-Friendly States program. It was disappointing and embarrassing, and was one of many factors that helped motivate us to work harder. Our ranking shot up 22 points in 2009 to 9th place, in good part due to the Complete Streets policy (creation, as it was not yet implemented) and the first bike summit (a joint effort by representatives from WILMAPCO, Dover/Kent MPO, DelDOT, Delaware Bicycle Council, Bike Delaware, Parks and Recreation, WCBC, Sussex Cyclists and others). In 2010, we dropped slightly to 10th and then even farther to 18th in 2011.  We moved back up to 10th in 2012. This year (2013) we are 5th, in good part due to the progress we’ve made but also based on the hope that good intentions will translate into a more bike friendly state. And that is important to keep in mind. Ensuring that good intentions translate to a bike friendly environment is definitely possible, but it will not be easy. It will take the efforts of many organizations and individuals on many fronts to achieve.

Governor Jack Markell
Over the years, numerous agencies worked to build a foundation. Further progress was made once we had a bike friendly governor who initiated Complete Streets and the First State Trails and Pathways Plan. In addition to funding, legislation and infrastructure, we have made inroads in education, enforcement and encouragement. But we have a long way to go. Funding is necessary but that alone won’t do it. First, we have to ensure that whatever funding we receive is put to best use. Certainly, we should consider recreational opportunities since they impact quality of life and health. We also need to encourage more people to use their bikes for transportation, which will help our citizens, communities and environment in so many ways. That is perhaps the most difficult challenge, since it is impacted by so many factors, including attitudes, knowledge, infrastructure and land use.

In terms of infrastructure, we need to make best use of the facilities that already exist including our roads, since this is the quickest, cheapest, and in many cases, the only practical solution. It is important to create networks that include viable, best practice facilities on a combination of arterial roads, low-stress and neighborhood roads, and trails in order to allow people to travel from their homes to destinations like work and shopping and school. Bike friendly communities have discovered that providing more than one viable route between point A and point B - as we do for motorists - increases bicycle mode share. It is unrealistic to think that we can create networks with only one type of facility due to the hostile nature of some roads, the lack of land to construct trails, the length of time it will take to create trails and similar facilities, and the large amount of money needed in some cases. We need many tools in our toolbox. Maybe someday we will create a utopia. But for now, we should work on the short term needs as well as the long term goals. We should correct deficiencies, often minor, that create barriers to usable routes. In this way, for a relatively low cost and within a short period of time, we can create usable facilities that the majority of cyclists–from road warriors to the timid– will find adequate, if not ideal.

Infrastructure involves more than trails and roads, however.  Commuters, shoppers and school students need a safe and accessible place to park their bicycles.  Commuters need a place to shower and to change into work clothing.  Providing these facilities is another quick and relatively inexpensive way to make biking a practical choice.

The way we conceive of and build our environment also needs to change, to accommodate a bigger picture that makes mass transit, walking and biking feasible, safe and convenient. Our communities and counties have the biggest input into our built environment, although we the people are also an important component since we choose how and where to live.

Attitude is truly critical as well. A car culture combined with exaggerated fears and numerous misunderstandings is a serious barrier. It is important that we don’t allow fear or stereotyping to become the excuse for our choice. We need to support, encourage and educate the cyclists who are currently on the roads. Those of us who bike serve as role models and show other interested people that it is both fun and feasible to bike for transportation and recreation today.

Motorist education as well allows people to share the roads. And publicizing and enforcing our laws is critical. Only when people take driving seriously, whether by motor vehicle or by bike, will we be able to make transportation safe and comfortable. All transportation.

Progress is slow. It is a nuts and bolts, one foot in front of the other approach coupled with both a realistic vision and visionary goals, that will allow us to achieve a truly bike friendly state. It’s complex, and it feels pretty daunting. You know what, though? Change is slow, but sometimes after years of establishing a foundation, it takes off and moves far more quickly. History is replete with examples. I find it helps to think of change as more exponential than linear.

- Amy Wilburn has been Chair of the Delaware Bicycle Council since 2008.

The Great (and Not So Great) Bike Debates

Cross-posted from EcoOptimism

By David Bergman -- Cycling is a great example of an EcoOptimistic solution, as I’ve written about before. It works on so many angles that it surpasses the win-win-win solutions that I often discuss here. It relieves congestion since replacing a car with a bicycle takes up much less space. It relieves pollution since it is essentially a zero-emission mode of transportation. (Not counting the incremental increase in food required to generate the human muscle power.) It takes a lot less energy and materials (some of them toxic, like PC and the nasties in batteries) to make a bicycle than a car. It improves health since, instead of sitting in a car, you’re powering the bicycle. And it’s good for us in another significant way by reducing both the number and severity of accidents; a bicycle and rider, at cycling speeds, constitute a lot less inertia than a one or two ton vehicle at driving speeds.

Which leads us to one of the two cycling topics filling my blog world this week. The first one is known as the Idaho Stop, a law that’s been in place in Idaho for 30 years and is now being considered elsewhere, that says a cyclist may proceed through a stop sign or red light after slowing or stopping to verify that there is no conflicting vehicular or pedestrian traffic. In essence, a cyclist can treat a red light as a stop sign, and a stop sign as a yield.
[full article ...]

YouTube Video: Ban the wheelbender bike rack, they are useless


I just got off the phone with LAB on Friday asking what - if anything - is being done to obsolete Grid, Toaster, Schoolyard, Wheelbender, etc. bike parking systems. The answer is nothing really. The League has, in the past, encouraged manufacturers to refrain from selling this worse than useless design, but suppliers are driven by profits, not what's in the best interest of bicycling.

What's needed is an industry-wide handshake ... an agreement to phase this thing out. It's an advocate's worst nightmare when, finally, bike parking is achieved in a key retail or public location, only to find they went with something that might as well negate the effort. Unfortunately, to really get it right, we have the added responsibility to educate the buyer about what works and what doesn't.

Above and below: Bikes in Newark parked anywhere but in the rack!


All it takes is for your bike to fall over, or someone to knock it over. Since the wheel is trapped between the vertical rods, and is the only thing holding the bike upright, it can be easily damaged or bent beyond repair. It is also difficult to lock a bike properly, through the frame, not just the wheel.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Newark Bicycle Committee Meeting Agenda, May 23, 2013

When: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 4:00‐5:00 pm.

Where: Wilmington Area Planning Council, 850 Library Ave, Newark, DE

Meetings are open to the public - please come join us!

Agenda:

1.    Introductions

2.    Campus Safety Checkpoints – Retrospective analysis 

3.    Newark Bike to Work Day/Month – Retrospective analysis

4.    Newark Bicycle Plan
a.    Newark Bicycle Plan Update
b.    Future Workshops schedule

5.    Old Business
•    Bicycle Friendly Business/Employer Award
•    Sharrows – Retrospective analysis

6.    New Business
•    Review:  Subdivision and Development Regulations Amendments: Bicycle Storage Facilities.
•    Review:  Newark Transportation Plan (2011) Implementation Priorities.

7.    Adjourn

Meetings are held monthly at WILMAPCO on the 3rd Thursday, 4 p.m., click here for directions. Send us an email to be added to the committee email list.

Scenes, coverage from the Wilmington Grand Prix


WILMINGTON — The United Healthcare Pro Cycling team threw its weight around in the final stages of the 2013 Bank of America Wilmington Grand Prix on Saturday to help member Luke Keough take first place in the 35-mile race.

United Healthcare set the pace for the peloton during the final laps, creating a wall of riders the field had to get through for the final sprint. Keough was the main beneficiary, besting teammate Hilton Clarke by 0.36 seconds.

“Awesome,” Keough said of the win. “Obviously, the guys rode really well and came together at the end. We got the win and second, as well. You can’t beat that. You can’t do this without teammates. Luckily, I had the strongest guys helping me out. We’ve been racing together week after week. ... It works out really well when it comes down to the end.”  [full article ...]




Friday, May 17, 2013

Newark Post: A Symbol of Sharing

Check out today's edition of the Newark Post, both the front page and page 12. The City of Newark has done a fabulous job on the education front, getting the word out to major media outlets on the meaning of sharrows.



UDaily Bike to Work Day Coverage

 
Featured in UDaily

8:09 a.m., May 16, 2013 --“Leave the car in the driveway and get some good exercise” was the theme of Bike to Work Day, celebrated early Tuesday morning, May 14, on the patio of the Trabant University Center on the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

Drawing more than 50 enthusiasts, the event showcased National Bike Week (May 13-17) in the city, which is currently a League of American Bicyclists-designated Bicycle Friendly Community.

Attendees enjoyed crisp temperatures and tasty refreshments while listening as UD President Patrick Harker and state and local officials endorsed efforts supporting the many benefits of alternative two-wheeled commuting.

“It’s great to see so many people out early enjoying the terrific spring weather,” Harker said. “We’re thrilled to partner with the city of Newark and the Newark Bicycle Committee in holding this fantastic event.”

Making Newark a “bike-able” city is an issue that resonates at the local, state and regional levels and is a good fit with UD’s green campus sustainability initiatives, Harker said.  [full article ...]

Thursday, May 16, 2013

WNJ: In Newark, a visual reminder for cars, bikes to share the road

Wilmington News Journal on May 11

In time for national Bike to Work Week, Newark is installing “sharrow” pavement markings along East Main Street, reminding motorists and bicyclists to share the road.

City workers began placing the markers along the one-way corridor Thursday between Library Avenue and the Deer Park Tavern, according to city staff.

“Sharrows help position bicyclists within the lane and alert motorists to the presence of bicycles,” said Heather Dunigan, a planner with the Wilmington Area Planning Council.

“Improving bicycling on Main Street has emerged as a major concern we’ve heard during the Newark Bicycle Plan development.”

The sharrows, which cost about $3,000, are reflective chevrons with a symbol of a cyclist in a helmet. City Manager Carol Houck considers them a step in transitioning Newark to a “more bicycle-friendly” community, she said in a statement.  [full article...]


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Newark Bike to Work Day Wrap-up

A huge tip of the helmet goes to Mark Deshon and the Newark Bicycle Committee for another superb Bike to Work Day in Newark on May 14th. On a 36F morning under sunny skies, dozens of bicyclists converged on the Trabant Center to watch as University, City, and State DOT officials renewed their commitment to active transportation infrastructure, safety improvements, education, and encouragement. With a much improved BFC (Bicycle-Friendly Community) renewal application being prepared for 2014, the future of bicycling in the City just keeps getting brighter!

Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt addresses the crowd about bicycling improvements in Newark, and how Delaware made the top 5 most bike-friendly states in the nation. His leadership has opened the door to different transportation options - a virtual sea change at DelDOT with respect to policies, guidelines, and funding for multi-modal projects.

L-R: Mike Fortner (Principle Planner, Newark), Mayor Vance Funk, Angela Connolly (NBP), Dennis Davis (NBP), and Frank Warnock accept an Award for Niki Suto, founder of the Newark Bike Project. The City awarded its first "Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award" to the Newark Bike Project founder and chair-person "for making Newark a more bicycle friendly place by establishing the Newark Bike Project".

Angela, with the award closer up. Click to enlarge.

Dennis (L) and Angela (R) oversee NBP's busy table adjacent to College Ave.

Again, a hearty round of kudos for the Newark Bicycle Committee for coordinating the event. The event Tee shirts provided by DelDOT's Dan LaCombe and Anthony Aglio also deserve our full appreciation. It was DelDOT's cooperation with the City that expedited the recent sharrow implementation on Main Street, at a much reduced cost from oroginal projections.
Very important: Please check out the Newark Bicycle Plan, and submit your comments and suggestions.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

White Clay Bicycle Club Offers Cycling Safety Class

Are you new to riding on the road in groups and want to be more confident? This class is for you.

Cycling Safety Class

This one day course is for adults who would like to cycle on the road in a group but feel they lack the skill and knowledge to do so.

We will provide instruction and guidance in the following areas: bike selection, basic bike maintenance, clothing and accessories, bike handling, traffic skills and riding in a group.

The course will include classroom, as well as, parking lot and an on road group ride instruction.

Instructors:      Tom and Cindy Mannis

Date:               Saturday June22, 2013

Time:               8:30am to 3:30pm

Cost:               $25.00

Place:              National MS Society, 2 Mill Rd, Suite 106, Wilmington, DE 19806

To reserve a spot, you must be age 18 or older, and bring your own bike, preferably a road bike or hybrid, helmet and comfortable biking clothes.

For questions, email: Cindy Mannis at; mannis11@comcast.net

Bicyclists have fun when they cycle with skill and confidence!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Pedestrianisation" coming to Academy Street in Newark?

Academy Street in Newark, facing south. Pedestrians and bicycles clearly outnumber cars.
Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones) are areas of a city or town reserved for non-motorized use, in which some or all automobile traffic may be prohibited. They are instituted by communities who feel that it is desirable to have pedestrian and bicycle-only areas. Converting a street or an area to such use is sometimes referred to as "pedestrianisation".

The section of Academy Street mentioned is in red. It's an even split between S. Chapel and S. College Ave. Students both cross and travel this corridor in droves. Many drivers try and avoid it at all cost due to bike and foot congestion.

Is Academy Street in Newark (above) one such candidate? According to unnamed sources, the University of Delaware has expressed interest in closing the Courtney Street to Lovett Ave section to automobile through traffic. Too anyone familiar with the area, especially during weekdays, foot and bicycle traffic far outnumber automobiles. Such a plan can greatly enhance safety and actually improve the flow of city traffic, as pioneered by NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan with the closure of Broadway. As per the New York Times, in this article dated Sept. 5, 2010:

Excerpts:
The changes - perhaps the swiftest re-engineering of a major New York roadway ever - have made the street [Broadway] more palatable to pedestrians and bicyclists, making it a microcosm of a broader plan by the city to reallocate road space traditionally used by cars. Transportation officials say that accidents have decreased and nearby avenues in Midtown are less backed up.

"It’s like a green ribbon that goes from 59th Street down to 14th Street now," Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner, said of the new Broadway. "Traffic is better, injuries are way down. We are accommodating thousands of more pedestrians."

Much of the public attention to the changes on Broadway has focused on one element: the pedestrian plazas that banned cars entirely from parts of Times and Herald Squares, creating open-air concrete parks in the center of Manhattan, complete with brightly hued beach furniture.

While Newark is no NYC in terms of size and population, Academy Street is one of roughly 10% of roads in Delaware belonging to a city or township, not DelDOT. Newark is responsible for pave & rehab, line striping, and most other treatments. The surface has fallen into serious disrepair, and gives quite a bumpy ride for students and area bicyclists who've come to rely on it for cross-town transportation.

The bike lane striping and arrow symbols that still exist were actually hand painted by City workers themselves, and are seldom maintained. And with several construction projects going on in the immediate area, it isn't hard to understand the city's reluctance to move on any kind of rehab activity. Trucks and other heavy equipment would surely damage or prematurely wear fresh paint and blacktop. But when these projects are over, it's difficult not to imagine a beautifully re-paved Academy Street with a cycletrack down one side, and the rest teaming with pedestrians who no longer feel threatened by speeding and aggressive drivers.

Will this concept become reality someday in Newark, perhaps on Academy Street? Nobody knows right now, but do drop by for a meeting of the Newark Bicycle Committee on the third Thursday of every month. They need your help, which includes the prioritization of bicycle and pedestrian elements in the city's latest Transportation Plan. Come be a part of these very exciting times for bicycling (and walking) in the City of Newark!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Newark Bike to Work Day set for May 14th

In partnership with the city of Newark and the University of Delaware, the Newark Bicycle Committee is organizing this year’s Bike to Work Day event to be held from 7:30-10 a.m., Tuesday, May 14, on the Trabant University Center patio.

Speakers will be UD President Patrick Harker, Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt, State Sen. David Sokola, State Rep. Paul Baumbach and Newark Mayor Vance Funk III.

The event is intended to highlight National Bike Week (May 13-17) in the Newark community, which is currently a League of American Bicyclists–designated bronze-level “Bicycle Friendly Community.”

Local businesses will be sponsoring the event by providing light breakfast food for participants to enjoy before completing their commutes to work. The Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) will be providing a limited number of free event T-shirts while they last.


In addition to DelDOT, the Newark Bike Project and WILMAPCO will also be present to help the Newark Bicycle Committee ensure the success of this event as a means of drawing attention to the importance of bicycling as transportation, recreation, and a source of economic development in this community. Stop by our table for a bike safety inspection and light tune-up.



Visit Wilmapco's website for full event details, including the event program.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sharrows arrive in time for Newark Bike to Work Day


By Heather Dunigan, Wilmapco
-- Shared lane pavement markings (or “sharrows”) are bicycle symbols that are placed in the roadway lane indicating that motorists should expect to see and share the lane with bicycles. Unlike bicycle lanes, they do not dedicate a particular part of the roadway for the use of bicyclists. Instead, sharrows encourage safe positioning, which results in better respect and an increase in separation between motor vehicles and bicyclists. They encourage bicyclists to ride outside the door zone, and on the road instead of the sidewalk - both of which increase the likelihood of crashing. The concept of sharrows in the US dates back to the 1993 Denver Bicycle Master Plan. In 2004, the city of San Francisco began experimenting with the design of shared lane markings which gave birth to the bicycle symbol with two chevron markings above the bicycle.

When the 2002 Newark Bicycle Plan was developed, use of sharrows was still very experimental. Thus recommendations focused on planning for an alternative route parallel to Main Street. The 2009 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) approved the use of  shared lane markings for general use.

Also in 2009, City of Newark, WILMAPCO and DelDOT began development of a Newark Transportation Plan that was approved in 2011. Under the guidance of the Newark Bicycle Committee, sharrows on Main Street were identified as the top priority short-term improvement. In 2012, the City of Newark submitted a request to DelDOT for implementation of sharrows on Main Street. DelDOT responded that they would install sharrows as part of the next resurfacing project, but could not afford to do it sooner.

In 2013, sharrows were recommended in the draft 2013 Newark Bicycle Plan. Newark submitted a funding application to WILMAPCO and DelDOT for funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program, however due to prior project commitments, this request could not be funded through the federal program. In March 2013, Newark began the process of purchasing sharrows through City funds and will complete installation by May 14, in time for their official Bike to Work Day celebration.

 

Delaware bicyclists urged to help save The Valley

From savethevalley.org

More than 750 acres of woodland and farmland west of 202/Concord Pike on the PA/DE border are at stake. This area, known locally as "The Valley" but formally as "Beaver Valley", is known for its immense beauties, recreational wonders, historic significance, and ecologic values. The land at stake adjoins the newly recognized National Monument in Delaware and Chester County. Developers are attempting to purchase this land and change zoning laws so that it may be bulldozed and built upon before the remainder of the land joins our new National Monument. This land is currently owned by the Woodlawn Trustees. Don’t let the name fool you. The Woodlawn Trustees have every intention to develop this land. The only thing stopping the development is the current zoning. However, these developers are trying to change the zoning so that they may bulldoze the land and build almost a thousand houses and a big box retail store.

Trails wind throughout the 771 acres and have been used for generations by hundreds of walkers, runners, horse and bicycle riders, and nature lovers in general. The property is currently agricultural with several horse farms, open fields of hay for local stables, a winery and vineyard, woodlands, and streams which feed the Brandywine river and our local water table.

The Beaver Valley property also has immense historic significance. Located less than 2 miles from the famous Brandywine Battlefield, the Delaware County Planning Commission said that the area has “high potential” for archaeological resources given that it has remained undeveloped since the Township’s founding before 1683. In addition, there are intact historic structures, some of which date to the early 19th century, and the remains of many historic structures, all of which developers plan to bulldoze.

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Delaware pedestrian fatalities rise 6.4% from last year

Delaware sees 30 dead in 2012

Cross-posted from The Review

By Kelly Flynn -- Senior Jennifer Bakry said she was crossing Delaware Avenue a little after midnight her sophomore year when a man in an SUV hit both her and her roommate. She came away from the accident with cracked ribs and some bruises, while her roommate broke her femur.

Though she said she could have been more careful while crossing, Bakry said drivers in Newark also need to be more attentive on the road.

“I think drivers sometimes forget that they need to be aware of pedestrians,” Bakry said. “This is a busy town. It’s something they have to be conscience of too.”

Delmarvanow.com reported that pedestrian fatalities in Delaware have risen 6.4 percent since last year with 30 deaths taking place in 2012 as opposed to only 19 in 2011. One pedestrian fatality has occurred in Newark this year, according to Cpl. James Spadola of the Newark Police Department. [Full Article]

Poster's note: As usual, the article unfairly suggests that pedestrians (and bicyclists, by indirect association) are the cause of most crashes. While everyone makes mistakes, Newark residents tolerate some of the most aggressive, distracted, careless, even reckless driving behavior ever seen in a pedestrian-rich environment. Can we expect meaningful change in terms of enforcement? While we commend the passage of new idling laws, dangerous and deafening (modified) exhaust systems continue unabated as a normal part of everyday life.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

About

By Angela Connolly -- Frank Warnock, Chair of 1st State BIKES, has been bicycling since he was old enough to deliver newspapers and ride to elementary school. Growing up in Radburn, NJ, he joined the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey in 1984 and began leading weekend rides and multi-day tours while still a teenager. He went on to serve as Chair of the club's Legislative Action Committee during the early 1990s, and by the mid-90s, was chairing some of the club's major events and rides.

Frank relocated to the Newark DE area in 1996, and immediately joined the White Clay Bicycle Club where he again started volunteering and leading rides. In 1999, he went on to establish WCBC's Shore Fire Century, and continued to chair/co-chair the event through 2003. In 2006, he began attending meetings of Bike Delaware to address statewide advocacy issues, and constructed their first website in 2009. As an advocate, he enjoys a number of successes, which include State DOT policy and guideline reforms in the interest of bicycle and pedestrian safety. Not only does Frank bike to work almost every day, but he has a penchant for mentoring others, and it was this dedication that earned him Delaware's Commuter of the Year award in 2010. He chose not to renew his position on Bike Delaware's Board as of January 2013, and instead took a position as lead mechanic, training instructor, and board member at the Newark Bike Project through mid-2014. His last and final effort with bicycle advocacy was the creation of this blog, 1st State BIKES, to address road safety and advocacy that are of non-importance to Bike Delaware.

By August of 2015, Frank was co-founder of Save The Orphanage Property (STOP), an organization dedicated to saving Ogletown's last remaining large tract of open space, wetlands, and critical habitat area. With hundreds of followers and the media spotlight, it was quickly recognized as one of the most successful land use causes in the State. Frank, along with other land use advocates, then went on to advocate at the State level for dedicated open space funding in the 2016 Bond Bill, and to have open space included as a plank in the Democratic Party's platform. On November 20, 2016, Frank accepted the nomination to a board position with the Coalition for Natural Stream Valleys, the organization mainly responsible for the acquisition and creation of White Clay Creek State Park, among others. Unfortunately, the STOP campaign ended in disgrace, resulting in his resignation from the CFNSV one year later.

Poster's note: The purpose of this blog is to address advocacy issues as they pertain to bicyclists who ride for transportation today, in the built environment. Because that is all we have, and will continue to have for the foreseeable future.