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

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