Sunday, June 30, 2013

Community Discusses Ideas For Newark Bicycle Plan

By Heather Dunigan -- On June 26, the community gathered at the Newark Bike Project to share ideas for bicycling in Newark. The Newark Bicycle Plan is being developed by the City of Newark, WILMAPCO and the Newark Bicycle Committee to make bicycling a more safe and convenient choice for transportation and recreation for people of all ages and abilities.

At the public meeting, the community
  • Got an overview of the Draft Newark Bicycle Plan.
  • Discussed what programs & policies can promote safer bicycling.
  • Brainstormed ways to encourage more people to bicycle and education the community about where and how to ride.
  • Learned about suggested bike routes and other improvements and offer additional ideas.
  • Told planners their top priorities for improvements.
Suggestions that where discussed
  • Conduct additional public outreach for draft Plan including coordination with the Trailspinners and White Clay Bike Club.
  • Coordinate bicycle education with drivers education classes at Newark High School. Drivers education improvement is a current project of the Delaware Bicycle Council and Newark High School could serve as a pilot location.
  • Challenging location where discussed, particularly access to Newark from points east along DE 273 and Kirkwood Highway. DelDOT planning for a Newark to Wilmington bicycle route is currently underway but feasible routes and timing for implementation is still not know.
  • Cleveland Avenue/Paper Mill/Pomeroy Trail intersection is a significant challenging and makes the Pomeroy less suitable for children. Suggestions included wayfinding signs to guide people across the intersection and working with DelDOT and the City on signal and crosswalk improvements. A mountable curb was also suggested to ease the transition for cyclists who wish to take the lane.
  • The poor condition of roads near University construction sites was discussed including Lovett, Academy and Wyoming. Around these locations it was also noted that crossing Chapel Street at Wyoming and Lovett streets is challenging.
  • Delaware Avenue has an issue with vehicles parking on the bicycle lane.
  • Signs should indicate continuation of Pomeroy Trail onto Creek Road.
  • Concerns exist about the proposed South Main Street WAWA’s potential impact on bicycle safety. It was noted that a Traffic Impact Study is required and will examine the impacts.
  • South Main Street should have additional bicycle racks installed at existing residential and commercial.
Heather Dunigan
Top priority projects identified
  • Go after low-hanging fruit - project done along with paving and rehabilitation, land use development, etc.
  • Prioritize connecting gaps to create low-stress routes where people feel safe.
  • Leverage low cost connections to complete the network.
  • Complete Frazer Field connections and permanently retain link added during Carpenter Sports Building construction.
  • Address safety and convenience of Papermill/Cleveland/Pomeroy intersection.
  • Expand youth education including greater promotion of Bike to School Day.
  • Provide information for drivers with signs and other means to improve bicycle/driver cooperation.
  • Provide sharrow information to overall community using brochures, posters, variable message signs.
In addition to the public meeting, you can visit our ongoing Bicycle Plan Online Workshop. Here, participants can review the draft plan, see the presentation from June 26, fill out a survey, and add ideas to the map including where they would like more bike racks, locations where it is challenging to ride, and recommended bike routes.

Recommendations will include bicycle routes and other infrastructure, education and safety programs, programs to encourage cycling, and maintenance programs. Development of the plan is being done in coordination with the update of Newark’s Comprehensive Plan with an anticipated completion this Fall.

Example goals and recommendations include a much improved bicycle transportation network:

Mix of on-street and pathway projects
  • This May, City of Newark implemented the top priority short term recommendation of adding sharrows (shared pavement markings) to Main Street.
Encourage adequate and secure bicycle parking at all major trip destinations
  • Bicycle racks throughout the downtown and University are being added or upgraded based on public and committee input. In addition, Newark is currently revising bicycle parking requirements in the zoning codes based on the draft plan.
Improve safety for bicycling through design, maintenance, and enforcement practices
  • The draft plan recommends safe design and maintenance best practices, enforcement measures and educational and promotional programs. Programs like the DelDOT led bicycle safety checkpoints and Newark Bike Project are helping to ensure that bicycles are fully functioning, have lights for nighttime use, and that cyclists are better informed about the laws and techniques for safer cycling.
The City of Newark is the region’s only League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community and is a place where bicycling is popular for both transportation and recreation. Four percent of Newark residents bicycle to work (2007-2011 American Community Survey) and 65 percent in Newark households engage in bicycling for recreation (Delaware Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan survey).

For more information, visit us on line or call (302) 737-6205

Friday, June 28, 2013

Newark Sharrows: Phase 2

Representative Paul Baumbach of Newark has submitted a funding request associated with Phase 2 of the sharrows project. Tom Meyer, P.E. with DelDOT, has completed plans for additional sharrows through the Main Street split, adjacent to the Newark Bike Project's current location. They will also be added to Hillside Avenue between West Main Street and New London Road. Some new sections of bike lane will also be added on West Main Street, given such generous lane width.

It's time we all give a huge round of applause to Heather Dunigan (Wilmapco), Mike Fortner (Newark Bicycle Committee), Tom Coleman (Newark DPW), and everyone else involved for moving this forward. The Newark Bicycle Plan is mainly dependent on road resurfacing projects to move things along, but some components - in this case sharrow implementation - are a relatively low cost, easy way to get things started.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pike 2 Bike: Exploring the Abandoned PA Turnpike

WCBC's Tour of Central PA, led by Wally Hertler, paid a visit to the Abandoned Turnpike in 2004.

The Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike is a common name for the 13-mile section that was bypassed in 1968 when a modern stretch opened to ease traffic congestion in the tunnels. In this case, the Sideling Hill Tunnel and Rays Hill Tunnel were bypassed, as was one of the Turnpike's travel plazas. The bypass is located just east of the heavily congested Breezewood interchange for Interstate 70 (I-70) eastbound at what is now I-76 exit 161.

Visit the Abandoned PA Turnpike homepage for a wealth of information, including a history of the tunnels.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Tour of Erie, Revisited

Wally Hertler leads his 38th sojourn for the White Clay Bicycle Club, this time to Lake Erie

This unsupported bicycle tour across Pennsylvania to Erie began in Gap on Saturday, June 8, and ended in Chadds Ford on Wednesday, June 19th. Overnights were in Jonestown, Lewisburg, Milesburg, Ridgway, Titusville, Erie, Warren, Wellsville (NY), Wellsboro, Williamsport, and Cressona. Points of interest included the Millersburg Ferry across the Susquehanna River, Presque Isle State Park in Erie, and the Grand Canyon of PA.

The author uploaded the GPS track data to Google Earth at the conclusion of the Tour of Erie

Reminiscent of June 1989, when the tour visited Saratoga Springs NY for LAB's Greater Eastern Area Rally (GEAR), there was some very challenging weather. For at least 4 days, riders experienced significant rainfall, including the final 40 miles into Erie PA on Day 6. Fortunately, skies cleared by mid-afternoon, and some in the group chose to ride the additional 35 miles round trip to Presque Island.

Despite several days of rain, this tour was destined for greatness. There were no serious breakdowns or injuries, and no one abandoned the tour from stress or exhaustion. I look forward to next year's Tour of Vermont and New Hampshire, a 1-way sojourn from St. Albans Vermont back to Delaware, using Amtrak for the trip north.

Roger and Mary Clare Matsumoto enjoy pristine roads and stunning scenery as the Tour takes them northbound through Amish Country

The group arrives at Allegheny National Forest

Art Berger contemplates a prophetic warning

Lake Erie, at last


A view of the Grand Canyon, and yours truly ...

One of many beautiful scenes along the Pine Creek Rail Trail

A bike share station in Williamsport, PA ... despite an absence of on-road bicycle facilities

View the Tour slideshow on Shutterfly. Details about future tours, when planned, will be posted HERE. A huge tip of the helmet to Wally Hertler, tour architect and planning guru, for making this all happen - every year since 1976. Read a Wilmington News Journal article on Wally from 2004.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Sea of Bikes Swamps Dutch Capital

From the New York Times

No wonder our cities and streets are clogged with traffic. Imagine if most here drove a car instead.

AMSTERDAM - About 6:30 weekday mornings, throngs of bicycles, with a smattering of motor scooters and pedestrians, pour off the ferries that carry bikers and other passengers free of charge across the IJ (pronounced “eye”) harbor, clogging the streets and causing traffic jams down behind Amsterdam’s main train station.

“In the afternoon it’s even more,” moaned Erwin Schoof, a metalworker in his 20s who lives in the canal-laced center of town and battles the chaos daily to cross to his job.

Willem van Heijningen, a railway official responsible for bikes around the station, said, “It’s not a war zone, but it’s the next thing to it.”

This clogged stream of cyclists is just one of many in a city as renowned for bikes as Los Angeles is for automobiles or Venice for gondolas. Cyclists young and old pedal through narrow lanes and along canals. Mothers and fathers balance toddlers in spacious wooden boxes affixed to their bikes, ferrying them to school or day care. Carpenters carry tools and supplies in similar contraptions and electricians their cables. Few wear helmets. Increasingly, some are saying what was simply unthinkable just a few years ago: There are too many bikes. [full article ...]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Newark Bicycle Planning Meeting to be held at NBP

Cross-posted from the Newark Bike Project's website

Love the Sharrows on Main Street? Well, come and tell City transportation planners all about it! And provide feedback about future bicycle planning in Newark!

This upcoming Community Meeting (Wednesday, June 26th at 6:30pm) will have a special presentation from Heather Dunigan of WILMAPCO about the status of bicycle planning in Delaware. You will also have the opportunity to share your thoughts about where the City should be placing its efforts to create a more bike-friendly community!

This is a very exciting time for us all as bicyclists in Newark! The city is proud of the recent Sharrows on Main Street, and will be having further meetings to plot additional locations, including right in front of the bike shop! [more here ...]

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sweeping reform enters home stretch

DelDOT's revised sweeping plan is still in draft form, but nearing completion. Once final, it will require DNREC's approval at the time DelDOT submits their Stormwater Management Plan. Currently, they are conducting a pilot study to work out any potential issues. Every bike route that was originally submitted through Bike Delaware has been considered in the sweeping plan. However, several of the roads are non-DelDOT, and owned by the City of Newark. These include:
  • Elkton Road at Christina Pkwy
  • Rt. 72/Library Ave Railroad Crossing
  • Marrows Road Railroad Bridge
  • Otts Chapel Railroad Bridge
Many of those owned by DelDOT will receive more sweeping than in the past as they fell within targeted areas (potential pollutant hot spots). However, other road sections will still be handled under special work orders. Perhaps we can work through the Newark Bicycle Committee and the City's Public Works Department to improve on the sections outlined above.

I will continue to report on developments as they occur. Prior posts related to this project can be viewed on Bike Delaware HERE. Many thanks to Randy Cole of DelDOT M&O for keeping us up to date.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013-2014 NBP Board, Mechanics Class Schedule

Elections happen every year and they are based on community participation – premised on a voting process that is free from campaigning. As such, it is important for everyone in the community to get to know one another, so when the time comes next year for board elections, all members will be able to identify individuals who will best represent the interest of the Newark Bike Project. View this on NBP's website HERE.

Summer Mechanic's Training Classes:

The Newark Bike Project offers wheel/tire repair workshops and scheduled multi-session general mechanic training courses that will train you to work on the most common repairs and adjustments to several types of bicycles. This is a great way to jump start your participation as a volunteer mechanic in our shop helping others fix their bikes. Additionally, we offer scheduled customized classes for private groups of 6 to 12 people, which can be a great way to have some fun with your friends while learning how to have more fun with your bikes! No prior experience is required for our classes, and you do not have to bring a bicycle or any tools. If you do wish to bring a bike, there is time after each class to work on your own bike.

Contact NBP today at for further details on any training interests or to pre-register. Visit the classes page for the full schedule. This page will be updated with class dates for future months, which will likely include weekend options (TBD), so a different month may work better for your schedule. Each class session is only $10.

Monday, June 10, 2013

For the love of two wheels and the wind

Featured in the Newark Post -

What can I say. The Newark Bike Project has been a smashing success. The NBP community equally represents both the UD student population, as well as the surrounding Newark community. The enthusiasm has even extended to the outlying areas of Cecil County MD, with the volunteer base including participants from the Elkton area.

Many thanks to NBP volunteer Michael Caruso for bringing our story to the attention of the Newark Post. And congratulations, Niki, for an award very well deserved!

Visit NBP's website and Facebook page.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Introducing Delaware's BEST (Bringing Education and Safety Together)

By John and Ceci McCormick, Co-Chairs -- Last November, a small group got together to discuss the advantages of all advocates of active transportation in Delaware (e.g. bicycle, pedestrian, bus transportation, safety, healthy lifestyle) to work together to promote active lifestyles (see Vision Statement below). We discussed the need to understand what the current advocacy efforts were and how to identify people who could organize our efforts.

The initial name of the group, Bicycle Education and Safety Training has changed to Bringing Education and Safety Together. We wanted to keep the initials the same for consistency – B.E.S.T. - but needed to show our interest in collaborating with a broader range of transportation options.

We have been meeting every two months since then to report out to the group on progress made by individuals and to decide on our next steps. Two guiding questions for these meeting are: What are the various advocacy efforts? Who would be responsible for each advocacy effort (component)? For example, Anthony Aglio & Sarah Coakley are Leads on 4th & 5th Grade bicycle programs.

There are many people on our distribution list who can’t make every meeting but want to stay informed about our progress and are interested in contributing to the success of our group. If you would like to become a part of this effort, please contact Ceci & John McCormick at

Vision Statement: Promote bicycling, walking, and public transportation in a way that engages the talents, energies and influence of the various advocacy groups and local, county & state resources, so that our collective efforts are aligned and coordinated, and Delaware’s active transportation initiatives are recognized nationally as a model program.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DelDOT's struggle for equal level of service and accessibility

Unfortunately, our State's DOT (DelDOT) continues its struggle with equal level of service and accessibility for all users during roadway construction and maintenance, including those outlined under the American Disabilities Act (ADA):

As stated in their Civil Rights declaration,

DelDOT understands and is committed to providing accessibility for all users, customers, and beneficiaries of our programs, activities and public services, including persons with disabilities. [more...]

DelDOT endeavors to comply with the ADA through implementation of accessibility technical requirements described in the "Standards for Accessible Design" (issued as the "ADA Accessibility Guidelines - ADAAG") enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Transportation. [more ...]

Route 72 sidepath south of Newark. Legs from a portable sign could easily trip someone or cause a bicyclist to crash.

At least the barrels leave some space on the path to circumvent, but the signs are clearly placed in the middle or across the path.

South of I95, barrels are correctly placed outside the pathway, unlike north of I95 in the picture above.

On the flip side, DelDOT does an exceptional job here, a couple of years ago, at the corner of Rt.72 and Wyoming Ave in Newark.

We urge DelDOT, its contractors and others working in the public right of way to please consider non-motorized users when placing construction signs and equipment. At the very least, a "Pathway Closed" sign and detour is required according to ADA standards.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Why must it end here?

As most are well familiar, the Pomeroy Trail in Newark was completed last year from the James F. Hall Trail to Creek Road just north of UD's Laird Campus. This is a beautiful multi-use pathway facility that took over 10 years to complete, thanks to Newark Parks and Recreation, DelDOT, and numerous other stakeholders who banded together to make it all happen.

It begs to question, however, why they made extra sure to mark its beginning and end at Creek Road. Creek Road - mainly a state park and fishing access road - is every bit as popular as a bicycle and pedestrian facility, and if anything, should have "Bike Route", and/or "Share the Road" signage and be marked as such.

The Pomeroy Trail at its northern terminus with Creek Road. Note the Bike Route Ends sign, and bicyclists continuing on as though the trail continues, as most do.

The view heading south on Creek Road on the approach to the Pomeroy Trail. The yellow sign in the distance is the standard bicycle symbol, with "Ahead" below it.

Clearly, this is sending the wrong message to motorists, some of whom speed or even drag race due to Creek Road's isolation and straight sight lines.

If you agree Creek Road should be marked as a continuation of the Pomeroy Trail, or at least a shared roadway, email Anthony Aglio, Delaware's Bicycle Coordinator and be sure to let him know: is now

As of today, we have moved to a new domain:

If you have already bookmarked this blog at its current address, nothings needs to change - both will work just the same. Going to a primary domain name is easier to remember and refer to others than a two part (secondary) domain.

Stay tuned this week for a few more articles before I leave on a self-contained 12 day tour of Central PA and NY State, including Lake Ontario and the Erie Canal. There will be few, if any posts from June 8-19, so don't go away!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Grist: Do helmets really keep cyclists safer?

Grist takes an in depth look at the helmet debate -

Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, creates images that prompt conversations about compassion, struggle, and humanity. Sometimes they’re sad, sometimes they’re funny, and sometimes they’re WTF — but rarely do they prompt the kind of snarly debate that swirled on Facebook in response to yesterday’s photo of a man and a kid riding a bike through the city.

Currently 21 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have laws requiring helmets for kids under 18. Only Australia and New Zealand require everyone to wear a helmet all the time (and some of those cyclists are none too pleased about it). Most of Europe could not be bothered with any of this — they’re too busy riding everywhere, helmet-free, with multiple kids hanging tight on their back racks. And they are way, way, way safer than us.

So what’s the deal? Does riding with a helmet actually make you safer, or are you better off bare?  [full article ...]

Poster's note: In my personal view, helmet use should be encouraged but not mandatory for adults.