Thursday, February 27, 2014

Market Watch: The end of the car is coming


 Maybe there is hope, after all.

 . . . and bigger picture, let’s not discount the demographic and geographic shifts that threaten to reshape the auto market - among many other areas of Wall Street.

Mounds of data shows that in the wake of the Great Recession, Americans are moving back into cities in droves. One of the megatrands that comes from this re-urbanization is an increased reliance on public transportation and a shunning of cars.

In fact, last year billionaire real estate mogul Sam Zell said we may be seeing the “end of suburbia” as a result of this shift to cities - and if the suburbs die, so does the need for a preponderance of vehicles to commute in.

Younger Americans are clearly already moving away from autos. Consider that the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute estimated that in 2010, 69.5% of 19-year-olds in the U.S. had a driver’s license compared with 87.3% in 1983 . This is thanks to urbanization, as well as the psychosocial trend that has put the “freedom” offered by mobile devices and technology on equal footing with the “freedom” once offered by getting behind the wheel of mom’s station wagon on the weekend. [Read the full article ...]

Newark Post: Council approves Bicycle Plan for Newark


Heather Dunigan was key
in developing the Plan
By Karie Simmons - ksimmons@newarkpostonline.com

After getting approval from council Monday night, the city can now move forward with its newest plan to make Newark a more bicycle-friendly community over the next several years.

Two years in the making, the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan was created by the Newark Bicycle Committee and was a collaboration between area residents, city officials, the Wilmington Area Planning Council, the Delaware Department of Transportation and local bicycle advocacy organizations.

According to Planning and Development Supervisor Michael Fortner, the city has come a long way since its last bike plan in 2002 with the creation of the Hall and Pomeroy trails, the Newark Bike Project and a bicycle safety-checkpoint program. In addition to improving bike lanes on South Main Street and Paper Mill Road, Newark now has more bike racks on Main Street and on DART and University of Delaware buses, but there is still more improvements to be made, Fortner said.

Between 2005 and 2010, there have been 106 bike-related crashes in Newark, with 17 occurring on College Avenue, 16 on South Main Street, 15 on Delaware Avenue and 13 East Main Street. Fortner said 44 of those crashes were at busy intersections such as Delaware Avenue and Academy Street, South Main Street and Casho Mill Road and Delaware.  [Full Story ...]

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Who is advocating on-road safety in Delaware, Part 3

The third of a 4 part series, we will now highlight the specific on-road infrastructure improvement projects going on around Delaware.

1st State Bikes and the Delaware Bicycle Council both believe that on-road bicycle safety and infrastructure is at least as important - if not more important than off-road or segregated (i.e. bike path) facilities. The successful planning of any bicycle-friendly network comes with an understanding that we must rely on our roads and arterial highways, if we are to ride from home thus reducing auto dependency. In this regard, a balanced approach to advocacy is vital in the success of any bike-friendly community, city, or state.

So, what is going on around Delaware in terms of on-road safety improvements? Several key projects are nearing fruition - or ongoing - that will not only help our current cycling population, but perhaps encourage others to start riding. According to a study conducted in Portland OR, the "Enthused and Confident" are the best hope for growing bicycle mode share.

Failure to improve our roads for bicycle safety will only result in more car trips, as folks will rack up and drive with their bikes over to the nearest bike path facility. The below on-road infrastructure projects are designed to help turn things around (you can preview an acronym definitions list HERE).

Enforcement of Bicycle Facilities with the New Castle County Building Code
A bike lane and bike parking are required with new developments in New Castle County that contain a right turn-only lane entrance. It appears too many waivers are issued, however. The following was recently provided to Delaware Bikes by Delaware's Bicycle Coordinator.
  • As of January 28, going forward, Bicycle/Pedestrian Staff will be the deciding factor on bike lane requirements. This includes environmental, ROW, and safety limitations.
  • Current policy states that if there is no shoulder, or there is an existing right turn lane, a bike lane is not considered if current requirements are met.
  • If a right turn deceleration lane is not warranted for new development, we don’t get a bike lane.
Without something in writing, we cannot legitimately confirm this. We must also advocate for a change to the policy, that it shall include the bike lane if a right turn lane pre-exists or it is a redevelopment plan. Anthony Aglio, Delaware's Bicycle Coordinator, has been a true friend and ally to bicycle advocates going back many years. Working in Planning, he will help us stay on top of this. Stay tuned for more.

Funding Pools for Small-Medium Size Bicycle and Pedestrian Projects
Funding Pools are a proposal by the Delaware Bicycle Council to restore funding for small-medium sized bicycle and pedestrian projects.
  • Slush funds are allocated to each county to pay for smaller projects that can greatly improve on and off-road bicycle networks and connectivity.
  • Not long ago, Funding Pools were a regular part of DelDOT's budget.
  • The Paper Mill Road bike lanes were made possible by Funding Pools, and are a favorite among area bicyclists connecting Newark and Pike Creek.
  • Re-establishment of Funding Pools received the support of Governor Markell and Sec. Bhatt in 2012, as well as most other bike related organizations in the State. Bike Delaware and Delaware Greenways were the only two that did not support Funding Pools.
  • The Funding Pools were to be a part of the $13 million dollars that the General Assembly voted to allocate to bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
  • Although efforts were made towards developing the logistics of the Funding Pools, the funding never materialized. Instead, virtually all of the $13 million went to trail planning, design, and construction over the next several years.
Funding pools remain stalled, although they are an active Delaware Bicycle Council goal. It will be difficult, if not impossible to create viable bicycling networks without them.

Pavement and Rehabilitation
With the help of Delaware Bikes and the state’s cyclists, the Delaware Bicycle Council continues to review upcoming pave and rehab projects, and to issue recommendations to install bike facilities along bike routes and other roads that are a valuable part of the state’s bicycle network. This has been an ongoing struggle since 2009, much of it related to our lack of the shared right turn-only lane treatment described below, which is very much in progress. Stay tuned as this effort continues to grow, given added tools in the toolbox.

Removal of "Share the Road" Plaque (from Bicycle Warning Signs)
A consensus was reached among advocates that many drivers were misinterpreting "Share The Road" as only applying to bicyclists. In addition, it is not possible to share a sub-standard width lane (under 13 feet, which accounts for most) when factoring the 3 foot passing law.
  • A complete history of DelDOT's Bicycle Warning Sign, and the eventual removal of "Share the Road" wording as part of it, can be found by clicking the above link.
  • DelDOT's Chief Traffic Engineer, Mark Luszcz, listened to Delaware bicyclists and advocates and did not wait for an active campaign to address this topic.
  • Mark Luszcz solicited comments from multiple advocates and bike related organizations.
  • As of 2014, the Share The Road "Plaque", will no longer be included with Bicycle Warning Signs.
This was a great example of consensus building among our state's cyclists and bicycling organizations.

Secretary Bhatt's Bucket List 
This is a special projects list that was requested by Transportation Secretary Shailen Bhatt, and acted upon by the Delaware Bicycle Council.
  • Several recommendations are in progress now, including the addition of bike lanes on Limestone road north of Millcreek.
  • Most of the improvements listed will be seriously considered with future Pave & Rehab projects.
The approval of the Shared Right Turn-Only Lane treatment below will help produce more complete projects and retrofits.

Shared Right Turn-Only Lanes
This goal was originally conceived during the early years of Bike Delaware by a former member of Bike Delaware. The below list was compiled by DelDOT's Traffic Section, and provided to 1st State Bikes, and we tip our helmet to them.
  • Aug 2012: First meeting of Research Advisory Panel.
  • Fall 2012: Survey efforts undertaken, including data collection and analysis.
  • Feb 2013: Progress report including results of part 1 (survey) of research.
  • Mar 2013: Second “advisory panel” meeting.
  • Apr 2013: DelDOT/UD discuss in more detail possible field study locations and make selections for first 3 locations, one for each option.
  • May 2013: DelDOT staff assigned to review 3 field locations to confirm “before” conditions are acceptable and meet current MUTCD standards. 2 of 3 are good. 1 requires minor signing/striping modifications.  DelDOT staff begins developing detailed signing/striping plans required to implement experimental RTOL conditions.
  • June 2013: Minor signing/striping modifications complete; all 3 locations good for “before” data collection.
  • July-Sept 2013: “Before” data collection undertaken.
  • Nov 12, 2013: Implementation complete for experimental RTOL conditions at all three locations.
We are now in the final stage of approval, which includes collecting the "After" data at all three locations. Stay tuned for more, as this exciting project concludes.

Sweeping Reform
Details provided by Randy Cole, DelDOT's Environmental Program Manager
  • Sept 2012: A former Bike Delaware Advocate collected comments and submitted a database of sweeping "hot spots" to DelDOT's Maintenance and Operations Division.
  • As fate would have it, DelDOT was due for a new NPDES permit, and submitted an outline to DNREC describing an improved strategy for implementing the Storm Water Management Plan (SWPP&MP), due by May 7, 2014.
  • The SWPP&MP will lay out the specifics and measurable goals for the various elements, including DelDOT's Sweeping Program. This includes additional emphasis on "reflection" zones (those with curbs/barriers, such as bridges) that typically collect more debris.
  • As of Oct 2013, a pilot study was in progress.
  • When the sweeping plan is finally submitted to DNREC, it may go through several iterations before it is approved.
Still a few months away from full implementation (as of Oct 2013). We can expect an update on this project very soon, by Spring at the latest.

That's all we have for now. Stay tuned to DelawareBikes.org, your #1 source for advocacy news in today's built environment. And tell your friends!

Related:
Who is advocating for on-road safety in Delaware (Part 1)
Who is advocating for on-road safety in Delaware (Part 2)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Is this what we really want for South Main Street?


This footage was gathered over a weeklong period from four 24-hour Super WaWas with gas pumps in Pottstown, West Chester, Center Square, and Schwenksville PA. The video shows motorist's confusion coming in and out of the parking lots, congested side streets, and near-constant backups at traffic lights and stop signs. This congestion and erratic driving - and the accidents that come as a result - have been dubbed the “WaWa Effect” in an article by The News Journal about traffic studies being conducted by the University of Delaware as part of a larger, ongoing project for the Delaware Department of Transportation. The study suggests an increase in new traffic patterns and erratic driving around convenience stores like WaWa, citing U-turns, running red lights, and increased accidents as a result of the influx of traffic coming and going.

Typically, engineers will claim that the proposed Super WaWa will operate largely on existing traffic patterns, drawing minimal new congestion to the areas and residential streets that surround the site. This is false, given induced demand from a greater area - which the pumps are designed to do. They also fail to address the heavy truck traffic that is expected to frequent the store for deliveries and fuel, especially during night and early morning hours.

This increase in traffic is one of the main reasons more than 1,000 residents and business owners rallied to oppose a new Super WaWa in the Borough of Conshohocken, PA. More than seven hundred letters and petition signatures were mailed to Borough Council expressing the community’s opposition to the zoning text amendment WaWa submitted for a 24-hour diesel fuel Super WaWa. Read this update on how they prevailed.

It appears we are in for a similar battle to keep Newark's downtown as a walkable, bikeable, livable community. WaWa wants to build a major gas pump facility on South Main Street, at the intersection of Apple Road, across from the Municipal Building. As in Conshohocken, we can expect a fight to the bitter end - all in the name of profiteering - against residents who are justifiably opposed.

The Super WaWa on Route 273 and Marrows Road is anything but a "neighborhood store", regardless of what its PR Dept claims. With the help of the Newark Bicycle Committee, advocates even had to enforce ADA sidewalk compliance, and a city ordinance calling for bike parking - which resulted in a useless wheelbender.

Those on foot or bike are seldom seen around these mega-pump stores, because they are a safety nightmare. Wally Hertler, however, tries for a quick fill-up at a shuttered Citgo station in Cochranville PA a few years ago.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Action Alert: Newark City Council to vote on Bicycle Plan, Monday 2/24


A bicyclist's presence is called for at an upcoming Newark City Council meeting, to ensure smooth passage of the long awaited Newark Bicycle Plan. The meeting takes place on Monday,  February 24th and starts at 7pm. The Plan is fairly early on the agenda (Item 4), however, the Public Comment section near the beginning of the agenda has been taking a lot of time as a result of the Data Center controversy. So it is hard to predict how soon the NBP will be considered.

On Tuesday 2/18, the Newark Bicycle Plan achieved a strong endorsement from the Newark Traffic Committee. Everything appears in our favor, as most, if not all, Council members view bicycling very favorably and see it as something we should encourage both as a transportation choice and for recreation. So we don’t expect any automatic opposition. However, it is very important to encourage many bicyclists to attend - preferably dressed to ride - and to have them prepared to speak in support of it. This is important because even if a few people show up to speak AGAINST adopting the Newark Bicycle Plan, if there are not enough people present to speak for it other than City Staff, the Council could choose to table or even vote it down.

Among the concerns:
  • Some other localities, when considering Bicycle Plans, have had an attendance of “Agenda 21” opponents, and that could very well happen in Newark. For those of you who do not know what Agenda 21 is, it's a non-binding U.N. resolution that promotes a more livable and sustainable way of life. With that comes a fringe political movement that thinks it's a U.N. sponsored, socialist government takeover. Increasingly, members are showing up at these meetings - and attempting to derail multi-modal transportation plans.
  • There are people who think the roads are only for cars and that bicyclists are a nuisance. A number of these were present at Newark's Comprehensive Plan workshops, and may be speaking here as well.
  • And finally, there could be someone who is a bicyclist who is well intentioned but wasn’t involved in the planning process, and they could speak against it because they perceive that something in the Plan is less than perfect.
All of the above have happened before with other City projects and plans, and without area residents there to speak in favor, we could see the adoption of the Bicycle Plan delayed or even derailed altogether.

If you are available this coming Monday, 2/24 at 7pm, we strongly encourage you to come. You do not have to stay for the entire meeting - just through the Bicycle Plan approval process. A map to the Newark Municipal Building, at 220 South Main Street, is below.


View Larger Map

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Other people make mistakes; learn how to avoid them

These simple and important lessons in Bicycle Safety will sharply lower your chances of a conflict or crash. BicycleSafe.com tells us how.

This is a far cry from normal bicycle safety guides, which usually tell you little more than to wear your helmet and to follow the law.  But consider this for a moment: Wearing a helmet will do absolutely nothing to prevent you from getting hit by a car. Sure, helmets might help you if you get hit, but your #1 goal should be to avoid getting hit in the first place. Plenty of cyclists are killed by cars even though they were wearing helmets. Ironically, if they had ridden without helmets, yet followed the advice on this page, they might still be alive today. Don't fall for the myth that wearing a helmet is the first and last word in biking safety. In truth, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It's better to not get hit. That's what real bicycle safety is about.  [Continued .....]

Poster's note:  The dangers faced by bicyclists riding on the road can indeed be greatly minimized, not only with the tips above, but also using simple paranoia. Tell yourself that most drivers are distracted by a phone or other electronic device, and let it dictate your every assumption. Always use a bicyclist's rear-view mirror to monitor traffic from behind as you approach intersections. If riding recreationally, the day of the week and/or time of day can factor; smart cyclists tend to avoid the times when folks are most likely intoxicated, cruising, or driving around for pleasure more than purpose. Ride your bike, or use your feet - no one should tolerate a built environment that discourages us from biking and walking.

Sidewalk riding, approved by at least 1 advocacy organization in Delaware, is not without danger. In fact, some studies suggest that sidewalks and pathways in general see a greater number of bicycle crashes due to intersection frequency and overcrowding among multiple user types.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Funding for Road Safety in Delaware: DelDOT Responds

Bike Delaware recently published the first in a series of articles concerning road safety in Delaware, especially as it relates to the different funding types for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Road Safety in Delaware: How We Can Reduce the Number of Dead Pedestrians (Part 1)
Road Safety in Delaware: How We Can Reduce the Number of Dead Pedestrians (Part 1) - See more at: http://www.bikede.org/2014/02/04/dead-pedestrians/#sthash.ZJ9Omcn5.dpuf
Road Safety in Delaware: How We Can Reduce the Number of Dead Pedestrians (Part 1) - See more at: http://www.bikede.org/2014/02/04/dead-pedestrians/#sthash.ZJ9Omcn5.dpuf

We commend Bike Delaware for raising awareness, and putting a strong focus on non-motorized safety and spending. However, though educational and informative on many fronts, we felt it necessary to publish DelDOT's response to help clarify several points in the article.

Mark Luszcz, P.E., PTOE, DelDOT
Mark Luszcz, DelDOT's Chief Traffic Engineer wrote:

1. From your article: “Road safety in Delaware (just as everywhere else) is primarily funded through a federal program called the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP).” This is not entirely true. Many different sources of funding are used to improve road safety in Delaware. Just one example: I spent many years as both a consultant and DelDOT employee working on the planning, design, and implementation of the South Governors Avenue Project in Dover. This 1.5 mile upgrade included the addition of bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks, transit stops, and a two-way center-turn lane. This project cost many millions of dollars (not HSIP), years of staff effort, and coordination with hundreds of local residents, businesses, and property owners. The bicycle, pedestrian, and transit safety and operational upgrades were at least as important, if not more so, than the motor vehicle upgrades. Similar projects include the SR 54 Project (completed in 2012) and the SR 26 Project (recently started).

2. You are correct about the cluster analysis, which is one of our longstanding, primary tools for identifying, analyzing, and correcting safety issues. Because motor vehicle mode share vastly outweighs pedestrian and bicycle mode share, motor vehicle crash issues are what are almost exclusively identified through the Hazard Elimination Program, which is a subset of our HSIP and uses the cluster analysis to identify site locations. However, since at least 2005, DelDOT has attempted to incorporate pedestrian improvements into HEP projects whenever possible, and has done so in a high percentage of those projects. For instance, if a left-turn motor vehicle crash problem at a traffic signal was identified through the cluster analysis, we will still consider and implement if possible pedestrian improvements such as new/upgraded crosswalks, curb ramps, and pedestrian countdown signals. For small projects like signal upgrades, these types of pedestrian improvements are often feasible. Bicycle improvements which often involve road widening are not feasible for this scale of project. Sometimes minor transit improvements can be incorporated as well, such as relocating a bus stop to a better location, or including a short piece of sidewalk. We do not get “credit” for these upgrades in the FMIS budget chart that you included.

3. In the late '90s and early 2000s, highway safety experts at the state and federal levels began to recognize that the cluster analysis had flaws, and should not be the only tool used in addressing crash problems and highway safety. This led to the federal requirement for states to adopt Strategic Highway Safety Plans. DelDOT’s first plan was adopted in 2006, and the current plan was adopted in 2010. The plan requires states to analyze many different crash types, compare to national crash rates, and select emphasis areas that either show a high percentage of crashes, or a higher percentage than the national average. Delaware’s plan is available online. It has 7 primary and 4 secondary emphasis areas. One of the emphasis areas is related to intersection safety. This is generally well suited to the cluster analysis. Another is related to run off the road crashes, which comprises 47 percent of fatal crashes in Delaware (2007-2008 data). These crashes are generally not found in clusters and are more susceptible to correction by systematic upgrades: upgrading the types of roads with these crashes, not just specific locations with a high number of crashes. Countermeasures include edge-line rumble strips, delineation of roadside obstacles, etc. Another emphasis area is related to pedestrian safety. We agree this is a major issue for Delaware highway safety, which is why the pedestrian/bike working group was formed. That group is attempting to better coordinate improvements through engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency services. We believe one tool to attempt to address this issue is the use of pedestrian/bicycle safety audits, which you will further explain in your next article. Note that the Kirkwood Highway study is not the first of these conducted in Delaware, but the third. The first two were US 13/US 40 (Wilton Blvd/Llanglon Blvd. to SR 273), and SR 273 (US 13 to Newark). Without giving too much away for your next article, I wanted to note that the US 13/US 40 study, completed in 2009, resulted in several relatively small and one medium size project. Almost all short-term recommendations from that study have now been implemented, including additional warning signs, additional crosswalks/pedestrian signals, and the full lighting of the corridor from Wilton Boulevard to SR 273. The combined cost of the projects was over $1,400,000. HSIP budgets were not used, but a variety of other funding sources were.

4. One final example I would like to present is the implementation of almost 8 miles of bike lanes on US 13 in Dover. These lanes were created by narrowing the travel lanes and striping the bike lanes through a pavement and rehabilitation project. Several pedestrian upgrades were incorporated into this project as well (e.g., crosswalks, pedestrian signals, curb ramps). The bicycle lanes themselves were not cheap, as they required the resetting of the crown of the roadway and adjustment of signal heads at approximately 14 traffic signals. These major operational and safety upgrades for bicycles and pedestrians were funded by DelDOT’s Pavement & Rehabilitation Program. Not HSIP, or other funding sources that are primarily used for bicycle/pedestrian projects such as Transportation Enhancements/Transportation Alternatives, or the statewide trails initiative.

5. This response likely sounds a bit defensive and it probably is. My primary point is that DelDOT has spent a large amount of effort in the last 10 years to better accommodate and improve the safety of all road users, including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users. We do not necessarily do a great job of tallying up the costs or the results of some of those efforts, or publicizing them. Our current programs and projects are certainly not above criticism and we look forward to continuing our working relationship for the good of all road users in Delaware.

Thanks!
Mark Luszcz, P.E., PTOE
Chief Traffic Engineer
Delaware Department of Transportation

Funding Pools (aka small-medium size project slush funds) were another source of funding for on and off-road bicycling improvement projects, which helped fund Paper Mill Road's bike lanes about 10 years ago. These funds were eliminated a few years later, and without Bike Delaware's support, they have yet to be re-established. Fortunately, DelDOT has picked up some of the slack during Pave & Rehab operations, making improvements whenever feasible and within budget.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Newark Bike Project's Year End Review

By Patrick Correale, Chair, Newark Bike Project

2013 was a very exciting and expansionary year here at NBP. Throughout the course of the year we faced the challenges of continued sustainability, transitioned to our first on-founding board, and expanded into our newest and largest location on Main Street. However, this would not have been possible without the dedicated help of our community and volunteers. In the beginning of 2013, we launched Mechanic’s Class sessions through grant funding, which has allowed NBP to excel in educating the community on bike repairs and maintenance. We have also expanded many of our community groups, and established key relationships with businesses and other non-profits in the Newark area, namely the Down to Earth Food Co-op. NBP was even able to orchestrate the Chainbreakers Collaborative, a summer camp over several weeks that focused on childhood education of bicycling and related topics. We also filed for our own 501c(3) status, making us an independent non-profit from our previous sponsor, Urban Bike Project. [Read the full letter in pdf ...]

Chairman Pat Correale cuts the ribbon at NBP's official Grand Opening on October 11, 2013
NBP tabled at numerous events in 2013, including UD's Earth Week in April. Some of these included free bike tune-ups.

University of Iowa Considers Campus Bike Share

When will the University of Delaware get on board?
 
By Vanessa Miller -- Pretty soon, University of Iowa campus commuters might not need to own a bike to use one for quick trips to class, work or anywhere else they want to go.

The university, through its Office of Sustainability, applied in October for a $96,000 grant to implement a “third generation bike share program.” The money would help fund a $120,000 initiative to set up three bike rental stations across campus.

The stations – proposed near eastside student residential housing, by Seamans Center in the central campus area, and by an entrance to the pedestrian mall – each would house 15 docks and 10 bicycles, according to the grant application.

Users could buy annual memberships or swipe credit cards to rent the shared bikes, which officials propose making available by Oct. 30, 2014. B-cycle, a bike sharing system that has launched programs in Des Moines, Madison, Denver and other communities, is among the vendors that could apply to implement the UI program.  [Full story in The Gazette ....]

A Bike Share program in Williamsport, PA. This station operates from the Genetti Hotel.
The Pottstown, PA Community Bike Share operates out of a local bike shop.
Late last Summer, the Blue Hen Leadership Program gave a presentation on bike sharing for the University of Delaware. As could be expected, several malcontents were also present, providing a negative opinion on the idea. There has been no further updates that we know of. Meanwhile, growth of bike share systems in other U.S. cities continues to sore.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Q'dos for Doctor Q, and the NJ Spine Institute

By Angela Connolly, Certified Medical Assistant

For spinal fusion surgery patients, the journey to a full recovery is often a long one. For Frank, it's been a journey filled with highs and lows, and some unexpected turns. Wednesday, February 12th marked a milestone, as Frank met with Dr Louis Quarteraro for his final visit at just about 7 months post op. Although Frank won't officially be out of the post-op period until the one-year mark, this visit was the final visit in person with Dr. Q, and a chance to say good bye with a special gift.

A giant Q for Doctor Quartararo, aka "Dr Q", of the NJ Spine Institute in Paramus, NJ

X-Ray at 12 weeks post-op
The human body is an amazing thing in its power to heal and rebuild itself. The small scars from the Endoscopic fusion are barely visible now, and the battery nerve stimulator pack has been removed. The things that Frank learned in "back school" during his Physical Therapy now come automatically to him, like the distinct ways of bending, kneeling and lifting that protect the fusion and the hardware inside him. Although he sometimes still suffers from occasional low back ache that anyone can get, the crushing pain that traveled down his legs is gone. With caution, he can now lift things without worry of injury. He no longer fears hurting himself unexpectedly. In the early days of a rough recovery, it was sometimes difficult to picture the good days that were just around the corner, but Frank did, and he never for one moment doubted that he had made the right decision to have the surgery. Throughout the recovery period, even at the lowest moments, he remained cheerful and optimistic.

X-Ray at 12 weeks, side
Frank started riding his bicycle again at 12 weeks post-op. Although it has been a cold and snowy winter, he is commuting to work on the days that he can, riding on the weekends when weather permits, and continuing to mentor and coach me. His strength is returning quickly, and he is really looking forward to participating in a full season of cycling, including a 12 day tour to Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as planning Rail Trail tours with me and other friends that we enjoy riding with.

Frank hopes that his story will encourage others who might be struggling with back pain. And he would like to thank Dr Quarteraro and his wonderful staff, all of whom were helpful and encouraging. With his healthy new back, Frank will be able to ride comfortably and strongly. As a matter of fact, he feels so good that, in a hint as to what his future might perhaps hold, I thought I heard the words "cross country ride" from him........  (see also "For 2013, Three Tours and a Surgery")

10 years of chronic back pain started here in Atglen, on the final day of the 900+ mile Tour of Central PA (June 2004).

MRI images taken before 2 Micro-Discectomies and finally, the Endoscopic Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion, or "PLIF" procedure. The latter provided the objective evidence for a permanent fix.


Angela Connolly is a Certified Medical Assistant, most recently in practice with St. Francis Healthcare in Wilmington, DE. With prior experience in Gynecology/Urology, her experience caring for Frank has given her new insight and appreciation into the issues surrounding patients undergoing treatments for Orthopedic/Spinal conditions. Caring for Frank throughout this experience has been very rewarding for her, and she is very pleased to have helped Frank through the recovery process, sharing the journey from first consult to his full recovery.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Modern technology could grow DART ridership

"Catch The Bus" makes use of GPS trackers on each bus to give you an accurate prediction for when the next bus will arrive at your stop. Its simple and intuitive interface will get you the information you need fast. Here is how it works in Boston, Mass.
  • Available for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad & Android devices.
  • Has complete coverage for all routes in Boston's MBTA & SF Muni.
  • Tells you when your bus will be at your stop, using GPS trackers on each bus.
  • Save your favorite or most frequent bus stops to "My Stops" for easy access
  • Search for bus stops on a Google Map view, which will display your current location alongside the stops. Making it very easy to find your stop.
All too often, using DART (Delaware Transit Corp) is a last resort, with many buses running from 20 minutes to an hour+ late of their scheduled stops. Unlike streetcar systems that rely on their own right of way, a bus is only as fast as the traffic or weather they're stuck in, and it becomes very frustrating as you stand outside waiting.

Email David Dooley at DART, and let him know about this amazing upgrade. Tell him it will help folks match their arrival time to that of the bus itself, making transit a much more attractive option: david.dooley@state.de.us

Visit Catch The Bus for a tour of this amazing time saving technology.

Transit can be very useful for bicycle commuters. Most, if not all DART buses are outfitted with a carrier. 
Photo by Caroline Honse

Monday, February 10, 2014

Marion Meadows - A Thousand Dreams

What a neat video. Marion Meadows is a competitive cyclist who races on a team in Phoenix, and has several race wins to his credit.

He is also an American Saxophonist, composer, and smooth jazz recording artist of Native American, African American and Caucasian descent. Marion has released a total of 9 albums to date.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What kind of legacy will the University of Delaware leave?

This, according to the University of Delaware's official Climate Action webpage:

On Earth Day 2009, the University of Delaware announced detailed plans to cut campus‐wide emissions by 20% by 2020. This action plan is among the most aggressive commitments by any University or College in the world. In announcing the University's Climate Action Plan, President Harker also set interim targets for carbon emissions, including reductions of 5 percent by 2012 and 10 percent by 2015, compared with the 2008 levels that were measured in a comprehensive carbon inventory of the campus.

Not what we expect from a "green" university.
With such an "aggressive" commitment on the part of UD, the last thing one would expect for the new STAR Campus is a CO2 belching gas fired power plant, which will find itself among the State's Top 10 worst polluters. We would expect the announcement of plans for a sustainable energy source, like that of Freshkills Park, a former landfill on Staten Island. Freshkills will be home to New York’s largest solar power facility, doubling the city’s current renewable energy capacity. It will sit on 45 acres of green space, with the potential to generate up to 10MW of power, enough for approx  2,000 homes.

Freshkills Park, with its vast solar arrays, could power almost half the homes in Newark.

Solar arrays can even be built over parking lots, generating
megawatts of power while keeping the interiors cool.
A large enough solar farm, feeding the grid and supplemented by DelMarva Power, would put the University of Delaware in good standing with its neighbors, and its host, the City of Newark. Time will tell whether UD is more committed to short term profits, or the quality of our environment, health, and quality of life.

Visit No Newark Power Plant's Facebook page for all the latest events and details.

UD and our Governor need to do the right thing . . . for them.
View past blog posts on the proposed Power Plant HERE. Read the latest article in the WNJ.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Delaware's Bike (and Carcinogen) Friendly Governor


Gov. Jack pedals past Delaware's refineries during
the 2007 Tour of Delaware.

Delaware Governor Jack Markell fielded a question about the power plant proposed for Newark on NPR's Radio Times on Friday. Says because they lived with Chrysler for 50 years, Newarkers deserve more pollution?

A friend writes: Someone has to challenge the Governor on his rhetoric that under his watch Delaware has dropped emissions more than any other state and point out that it was a market function and not any action on his administration's part (coal plants being shut down because of the poor economics of coal to NRG not because DNREC shut these facilities down)

No Newark Power Plant writes ~

Gov. Jack Markell was on Radio Times Friday, 2/7/14 and this is our response to him. Start listening at minute 28:11 to hear him tell Newarkers that because they lived with Chrysler for 50 years, they deserve more pollution.

With a comment ~

I am hugely disappointed in Jack. So far, he has been great for helping facilitate active and green transportation modes. But where gains are made here, TDC's power plant is a big step backwards.  ~ Frank Warnock

Read the complete story from our friends at Delaware Way.

On tour in 2004, just one of dozens of streams I encountered in West Virginia that is over run with toxic chemicals from fossil fuel extraction processes, in this case, mining of coal. We had hoped Governor Markell's legacy would be one of healthy living, including active and sustainable transportation, but now we're not so sure.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Amy Wilburn wins easy re-election as DBC Chair

Wednesday, February 5th  - In a landslide victory, Amy Wilburn remains Chair of the Delaware Bicycle Council by a 9-2 margin. The day's lingering winter storm didn't keep Council members away, each braving the cold and icy roads to cast their vote. Newly appointed member James Wilson (Executive Director, Bike Delaware) in a surprise and unexpected challenge, gained 1 vote on top of his own, barely registering a challenge to the long time incumbent. The result was no surprise, given Amy's tenure as one of Delaware's top bicycling advocates, and winner of Delaware's Advocate of the Year in 2011.

Some of the accomplishments that she is most proud of leading DBC through are:
  • Vulnerable Users Law
  • Three Foot Passing Law
  • SB-120, which validates right turn-only lanes as through shoulders for bicyclists
  • Driver’s education curriculum which has been accepted by Delaware’s public schools
  • Creation of a motorist awareness video stemming from the Vulnerable Users Law
  • Updates to the Delaware Driver’s Manual
  • Bike lanes on the St. George’s Bridge
  • Signal detectors that recognize bicycles in bike lanes
Amy is very excited about the victory. She is proud of DBC's many accomplishments during her years of service, and is looking forward to more great advocacy achievements in 2014!

Formidable foes? Amy Wilburn (L) and James Wilson (R) discuss terms during the 2011 Bike Delaware Goals Meeting.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

UD absent when it comes to coaxing students out of cars


Five Ways Colleges Are Coaxing Students Out of Their Cars

By Angie Schmitt -- The University of Wisconsin-Madison provides bike valet at its football games. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supports free transit for everyone in the region. The University of California, Irvine launched a bike-share system in 2009, long before any major city in California had done so.

American colleges and universities are leaders in reducing driving and promoting sustainable transportation. It allows colleges to make good on their commitments to protecting the environment. It makes life easier for students and staff. And, perhaps most critically, it’s saving schools big money on parking. Stanford University estimates its efforts to reduce solo car commuting have saved the school from sinking $100 million into the construction and maintenance of parking facilities.

Here are some of the smart ways universities have been able to reduce solo car travel, according to a new report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. PIRG is recommending cities hurry up and follow their lead. [Continue reading ...]

Poster's note: Another example of the University of Delaware falling behind and failing to progress when it comes to sustainability. As this article demonstrates, a lot more can be done to encourage car-free or car-lite living among students and faculty, thereby reducing congestion, noise, and carbon pollution on campus and city streets. Visit UD's Transportation Page to find out what is available, which doesn't include much in the way of incentives. 


Above: Cambridge University, in the UK, where even the POSH are denied having motor cars. Try and imagine what traffic would look like if this were not the case. You can view UD's Sustainable Climate Action Plan from 2008, which is supposed to guide the University in active and green transportation, among others.

Another example of UD's disregard for their own Sustainable Climate Action Plan can be found HERE.

Newark's 4th Annual Bike Swap, Coming March 1

Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 10:00am

Got a garage full of spare bike parts? Sick and tired of buying bike parts site-unseen online and paying to have them shipped to you? Your prayers have been answered!

The 4th Annual Trail Spinners Newark Bike Swap is here!

Stop by on Saturday March 1st for the fourth annual bike swap at the Aetna Fire Hall, located at the intersection of Rt. 273 and Kirkwood Highway in Newark DE, directly across from the new Wawa. The event features individuals and commercial (bike shops, etc.) vendors selling new and used bikes of all kinds, parts, accessories, clothing and more.

Doors will open at 8:30am to VENDORS ONLY. The swap will be open to the public (shoppers) from 10am - 2pm. Lunch will be available for an additional cost.

DATE/TIME: Saturday March 1st, 10am - 2pm. Visit the Event Webpage for complete details, including vendor rates, admission fees, a registration form, etc.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Share the Road Plaque Removal in Delaware: Fact Check

Compiled from DelDOT's Traffic Engineering Section

2007/2008: DelDOT converted from the “Delaware Special” bike warning/Share The Road (STR) sign, which included the STR wording above and below a small bike symbol, all on one yellow diamond sign, to the federally recognized bike warning sign (no words on diamond) with supplemental STR rectangular plaque under the diamond sign. There was no effort to universally change the old to new signs all at one time. DelDOT has changed out and will continue to change out the old signs as they are impacted by projects, are knocked down, or as they reach their service life. So you may still see some of the old signs in the field. It was also during this time frame that DelDOT began limiting the usage of the sign + plaque to roadways that had no or narrow shoulders.

Summer 2011, Delaware officially adopted the Delaware Manual of Uniform Transportation Control Devices (DE MUTCD), which is in substantial conformance with the 2009 federal MUTCD. The 2011 DE MUTCD included the STR plaque and specific guidance that the sign + plaque should only be used on roadways with no shoulder or a shoulder less than 4’ wide.

Between 2011 and 2013, comments began to surface from various bicycle advocates complaining about the STR plaque. As DelDOT had just adopted the 2011 MUTCD, which included public input, the agency did not want to make additional changes at that time.

7/17/13: DelDOT Traffic and Planning met with several Delaware bicycling advocates regarding the list of biking issues compiled by the Delaware Bicycle Council. Most of this meeting was spent going through the list and discussing possible short-term upgrades such as signing and striping. Several of the recommendations at specific locations have since been implemented and others are still in the works. One of the advocates brought the STR plaque issue up again at this meeting, as adding bike warning signs is the best DelDOT can do in the short-term in many of the locations where there are concerns.

7/17/13 - 8/9/13: Internal DelDOT discussions on the pros/cons of eliminating the STR plaque.

8/9/13: DelDOT emailed the known bicycling organizations and advocates known throughout the state, requesting comments on the preliminary recommendation to eliminate the STR plaque. DelDOT received some useful input on the topic. In addition, there were extensive blog postings on the Bike Delaware and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) sites (the DelDOT initiative did not start the ITE blog – it was already a topic under discussion).

9/30/13: Deadline for the submission of comments.

October 2013: As there were no significant objections to the proposed elimination of the STR plaque, DelDOT's Traffic Section drafted a final memo and circulated it internally within DelDOT for comment.

11/1/13: Memo is finalized, distributed, and posted on DelDOT’s web site.

2014 and beyond: Similar to the last time the bike warning/STR sign/plaque was modified, there is no plan to go out and comprehensively remove all the STR plaques. DelDOT will bring signs up to current standards/policy as they are impacted by projects, are knocked down, and when they reach their service life. This is how most traffic control devices are upgraded to new standards.

In the end, this was not a campaign led by Bike Delaware. DelDOT recognized an opportunity to eliminate controversy - with reduced sign clutter - and helped Delaware bicyclists seek a resolution with the input of multiple parties. As this discussion evolved over the years - and may continue to evolve, it has become an example of the long and winding road to progress. It is worth noting that DelDOT listened to the cyclists in this state and did not wait for an active campaign on the part of bike advocates to address this topic. For this reason, it is a good example of pro-active efforts on the part of the DelDOT. We look forward to seeing more positive examples of teamwork such as this in the future.

Related: Goodbye Share the Road (clarification)
More related articles HERE.

NBP's First Volunteer Appreciation Dinner Revisited

By Angela Connolly -- On Monday evening, February 3rd, Volunteers from the Newark Bike Project were welcomed to the organization's First Annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner! The celebration, which was well attended by the enthusiastic group of Board Members and Volunteers, was held at Catherine Rooney's Irish Pub, just a few doors down from NBP's Main Street shop. Guests filled the second floor party room, and were treated to pre-dinner drinks and appetizers, followed by a hearty dinner, choosing from delicious selections like traditional Shepherd's Pie and Irish Wings, and favorites like burgers. In spite of the cold lingering from the day's winter storm, the pub's atmosphere was warm as Volunteers reflected on the past year, telling favorite stories and sharing experiences about volunteering at NBP. Stories told ranged from poignant, to inspiring, to amusing. Without a doubt, the work that they do and the community that they serve enriches the lives of the volunteers. They know that they are truly making a difference in the community.

And the needs of the community that they serve are never far from their thoughts. During dinner, Board member Sindhu Siva thanked Volunteers for their service, and told them of many upcoming events where Volunteers will be needed, including tabling activities to reach out to the community. If you have thought about volunteering, now is the time! They have many opportunities for everyone to get involved! It will also get you an invite to next year's most popular event in town, their next Volunteer Appreciation dinner!

Visit their webpage and Facebook page, or come by any Open Shop night - they will be glad to see you!

Above: Guests included Founding Member Jamie Magee, last on right, and NBP Chair Pat Correale, second from right




After dinner, guests moved downstairs to play shuffleboard and throw darts. It was a wonderful evening of fun and fellowship.