Saturday, November 30, 2013

San Diego Investing $200 Million in Regional Bike Network

The latest city to surge forward in funding and building of bicycle infrastructure is San Diego

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) recently approved a $200 million, ten-year plan to build out 77 miles of new bikeways. Many of the 42 projects are focused on completing two bike corridors that have been on the drawing board for years, the 44-mile Coastal Rail Trail and the 21-mile Inland Rail Trail.

It’s another example of a region taking charge of its transportation future, and not waiting for Congress to fund its needs.

We continue to be baffled at how other major cities, facing seemingly the same fiscal, political and community issues and obstacles as Seattle when it comes to expanding and improving bike facilities, nonetheless seem to clear the hurdles.
The program is funded by 1% of the proceeds from a half-cent transportation tax, which voters extended for 40 years in 2008 with by a 67%-23% vote. Learn more from this fact sheet about TransNet. [read the article in full]

Poster's note: Though Newark has a masterpiece bicycle plan, there remains no dedicated funding source for implementation.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Delaware Bicycle Council, Bike Delaware Special Meeting

A special meeting took place on November 6, between Delaware's two most recognized bicycle advocacy organizations; the Delaware Bicycle Council and Bike Delaware. There have been few opportunities for them to work together, given very different views as to what constitutes bike-friendliness. Bike Delaware believes that segregated facilities deserve most of our focus, while the Delaware Bicycle Council takes the holistic, all-inclusive approach as seen in the League of American Bicyclists 5 Es.

Listen to the meeting in mp3, or visit the Delaware Bicycle Council's webpage for complete meeting information. Anyone interested in advocacy should listen, because it truly highlights the differences between the two organizations. Bike Delaware's absence on Funding Pools, and how they undermined the wording of a road safety PSA is very telling. All told, there is good and bad - but hopefully this meeting will bring forth a new focus on cooperation, and a more well rounded approach to bicycle advocacy.

Amy Wilburn of the Delaware Bicycle Council (L), and James Wilson, Executive Director of Bike Delaware (R) discuss their differences during the 2011 Goals Meeting.

Amy Roe's Reflection On The Election

By Amy Roe, Wed 11/27 -- I would like to share my reflections on yesterday's election in Newark. It is appropriate that tomorrow is Thanksgiving as I have a lot to be thankful for.

My husband of 18 years was a constant source of affection and encouragement. He never complained that he had to forage for cheese and crackers on the many nights when I was on the campaign trail.

My campaign team and volunteers have become some of my very dearest friends. I am so very grateful for the dozens of neighbors who braved the cold, wind and rain to share our positive message. I have witnessed the power of community and I am both impressed and humbled by it.

Many neighbors, friends and family members donated to my campaign. I know times are tough, especially as the holidays approach, and I am grateful. Many also donated their time, which is often a much more precious resource. I am honored to have been your candidate.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Schiever
We lost this election by only 3% of the vote in a 7-way race, for which I am very proud. We had very high ethical standards for our campaign and focused our efforts on engaging the issues, respecting other candidates, sharing our vision for the future and offering specific alternatives to improve city affairs. I am proud that we ran an honorable campaign. While at the polls an elected official who endorsed another candidate congratulated me for “taking the high road”. If he knew my father he would have known there was no other option.

I have never been prouder to be a Newark resident; to be one of my neighbors. Our future is full of opportunity and we have proven that we can pull together to improve our town. I am so thankful that we have each other and that we are a community of thoughtful and respectful individuals who value the process and support each other. We confront our challenges with knowledge and we learn from experience. I look forward to working with you in the near future.

With a very warm heart,

Poster's note: Amy is a class act and too good for Newark, apparently. The City may never again have an opportunity to elect a more qualified and caring individual, one of a rare few who puts environment and quality of life ahead of profit making. A letter of congratulations will be sent to Polly Sierer from Delaware Bikes, along with an invitation to join us in making Newark more bicycle friendly.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Boston Debuts "Sharrows On Steroids"

From -- A new set of street markings on Allston’s Brighton Avenue aren’t simply an errant set of dashes installed by city staff with extra paint - they’re part of a national experiment to test innovative bike facilities.

I first noticed the markings last week while driving through Allston Village. Running down the right-hand lanes on both sides of Brighton Avenue are bike-priority icons, known as “sharrows” in cyclist parlance, hugged by two sets of dashed lines along either side that make the lane look more like an airport runway.

My first thought: Sharrows on steroids!

And Boston bike czar Nicole Freedman said that’s exactly what they are. (Well, except that the former Olympic cyclist wasn’t too happy about the doping analogy.) Officially, the markings have a more dignified name: Priority shared-lane markings.

Sharrows, or shared lane markings, indicate that cars must share the lane with cyclists. Transportation officials use them on roads when there’s no space, money, or political will to section off pavement for bike lanes. For that reason, the sharrows are often viewed in bike circles as low-hanging fruit: The wimpiest, least ambitious method of asserting space for people who ride bikes.

But when it came to Brighton Avenue, a road that is well-traveled by cyclists but too narrow for bike-only facilities, Freedman and her staff brainstormed if there was a way to beef up the garden-variety sharrow.  [keep reading]

Poster's note: Sharrows and "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs have enhanced safety on Newark's Main Street. However, according to comments on the Newark Bike Project's facebook page, bicyclists are still being harassed by motorists while legitimately taking the lane. Perhaps a more aggressive approach, and/or better enforcement is needed?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Which Mayoral Candidate will best promote active transportation in Newark?

There are many issues at hand in Newark's upcoming Mayoral election, but getting more people on bikes is key to addressing lots of them. These include a more vibrant local economy, less traffic, less noise, better health, more parking for those who truly need it, and a whole host of other benefits that come with reduced auto dependency.

Dr. Amy Roe
The ideal candidate will think creatively in terms of reducing congestion downtown, not encouraging more of it as some would suggest - and even think is desirable. For example, if the City surveyed motorists parking on Main Street, they would find a large percentage that live within walking or biking distance. Converting just some of these trips would have a very positive impact on our quality of life downtown. The City should repair its apparently damaged relationship with the University of Delaware, and work jointly to offer serious car-free or car-lite incentives to students who live within a mile of Main Street. Car sharing services could also be offered. Ideas like these, and a strong backing of Newark's Bicycle and Transportation Plan, is smart thinking - and exactly why Delaware Bikes has endorsed Amy Roe for Mayor.

Here are some statements from Newark's Mayoral candidates, from both Bike Delaware and Delaware Online surveys, that might indicate how serious they are about bicycling and active transportation. 

Donald DelCollo
  • "Taking a 1960’s traffic infrastructure and reshaping in into something that is capable of handling our actual present and future needs."
  • Making downtown Newark a more parking friendly place."
  • "Adding more downtown Parking. To help the University show its good will toward the residents of Newark and since it basically surrounds Main Street stopping the possibility of us adding anymore ground level parking."
  • Noted that Newark Natural Foods donated $2,485 to the Newark Bike Project.
Robyn Harland
  • "[B]ad knees prevent me from biking. But I do support your [bicycling] efforts due to the large college environment."
  • I am NOT in FAVOR of building a Wawa on this corner."
Mark Morehead
  • “I have enjoyed bicycling since a very young age. My grandmother lived out in the country, so I had to bike several miles each way to buy penny candy at the one shop in her village. I rode my bike to school every day in good weather.  In college, I would often go out for a 20-25 mile loop, rather than studying some more physics. I eventually moved to Canberra, Australia, one of the truly great biking cities in the world.  I biked throughout the park system, exploring the far corners of the region. While Canberra has the luxury of being a planned community, I believe we can work towards building an interconnected path system in Newark and the surrounding areas. I welcome the opportunity to spread the word about the many benefits of biking.”
Rebecca Powers
  • "As mayor I will ensure that we proactively address both infrastructure challenges - such as storm water management, traffic and transportation - and land use, including student housing."
Amy Roe
  • "The implementation of Newark’s Bicycle Plan as part of a comprehensive transportation plan is a priority for me. I have been a bicyclist in Newark since my youth and I support bicycling for transportation and recreation.
  • The sharrows on Main Street have greatly improved bicycle safety and I would like to see those expanded throughout Newark, as well as a cycle track on Delaware Avenue to improve safety and the bikability of our town.
  • Newark’s Bicycle Committee is an important group that provides leadership and expertise on bicycle issues. I would like this group to receive the respect that it deserves by raising it to the level of a city committee. This would eliminate ambiguity in reporting and would enable plans developed by the Bicycle Committee to be better integrated into discussions by our City Council and implemented by staff for generations to come.
  • I am committed to improving access to affordable bicycles and bicycle repair, and am one of the nine founders of the Newark Bike Project.
  • I believe we should all share the street, and I support the integration of complete streets in city planning. Bicycling has been, and will continue to be, important to Newarkers."
  • "I oppose the development of new gas pumps on South Main Street."
Polly Sierer
  • "Overall quality of life is something that we as a City need to address - including environmental matters, parking and traffic, and helping the homeless."
Mathew Vento
  • "Traffic and Parking - specifically Main St. and Delaware Ave. If there are signals at the crosswalks the traffic would move more smoothly and it would be safer for the students who often prefer to text rather than look both ways while crossing the street."
  • "I support the Wawa being built with gas pumps."
  • "This [bicycling] is very important to our city."
Whatever/whoever you decide, if you live in the Newark, it is important you go out and VOTE on November 26th. Vote for bicycling and quality of life in Newark, and to make our streets safe and usable for everyone.
Amy Roe, fifth from the left, is one of the founders of the Newark Bike Project in 2011.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

No Room For Bicycle Commuting at Bloom Energy

By Angela Connolly

Clean, renewable energy. Sustainability. Enabling cleaner, greener commerce. These are the first words that greet visitors to the Bloom Energy website. Bloom Energy, headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA., is a provider of breakthrough solid oxide fuel cell technology generating clean, highly-efficient onsite power from multiple fuel sources. Founded in 2001 with a mission to make clean, reliable energy affordable for everyone in the world, Bloom Energy Servers are currently producing power for several Fortune 500 companies. The Bloom Energy Manufacturing Center will become the anchor tenant of the new University of Delaware Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus, and many citizens, both from the community and local government, were anxious to welcome them. At their groundbreaking in April, 2012, University of Delaware President Patrick Harker welcomed Bloom, saying "We're thrilled to welcome Bloom Energy to UD's Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus. From the beginning, we've envisioned this campus as a place where the most creative minds in academia and industry come together to solve the world's most urgent problems. This vision is being actualized today."

An abandoned bike path along Rt.896 takes you close. But
not close enough.

Harker went on to say "We look forward to engaging with Bloom in innovative research, academic and community partnerships - partnerships that benefit the state and its people and revolutionize America's clean energy future."

With such high expectations, you would think that the Newark facility would have been designed to welcome bicyclists and pedestrians safely and efficiently. After all, people who use their bicycles for transportation, and those who get to their destinations on foot, or who use public transportation, are the very models of sustainable, responsible living. Unfortunately, a recent visit to the Bloom Energy campus in Newark proved to us that Bloom Energy did not consider including people who bicycle to the campus, or walk there, in their campus infrastructure. And to us, that is unacceptable.

Delaware Bikes visited the site twice recently, riding there from nearby Ogletown. Needless to say, what we found was a huge disappointment. Immediately, we identified 3 major issues:
  • Access from Christina Parkway requires the crossing of a multi-lane arterial road with no actuated crosswalk facility.
  • Though the site road has medium shoulders further in, there are no bike lane markings, share the road signs, or other features that would encourage bicycle commuting to the campus.
  • No bicycle parking anywhere on the property.
Not a very inviting prospect during rush hour traffic.
Several e-mails to the contact information for Bloom Energy via their website were ignored. Although several local University sources that we contacted were quick to reply and tried to help, unfortunately they had no answers for us regarding the omission of bicycle facilities on the Bloom campus.

We believe that a clean energy future such as UD President Harker envisions starts here at home, in our community, with responsibly planned transportation infrastructure. This enables those who choose cycling and walking to do so safely and easily. That this was overlooked is a shameful omission on the part of Bloom Energy's facility planners. It should have been automatic for them to include bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure in their planning. By not doing so, they have contradicted their own good intentions, and cast doubt upon their beliefs about sustainability, and living greener. Encouraging employees to bike to work, and creating safe and inviting facilities for them to do so, would have been a better step in the right direction.

Although we were fooled by it from a distance, no - this wasn't a bike rack.
A picnic table, and facilities for smokers - but no rack for bicyclists to park against.
Poster's note: Though very disappointing given UD's talk about sustainability (greenwashing) and Bloom's stated mission, this is not unexpected. How many companies in Delaware actually encourage bicycle commuting?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Super Award for Super Mario

Mario Nappa takes the Lavoisier Medal for Technical Achievement. A super award for the Superman of bicycling in Delaware.

From DuPont's Newsletter -- Mario Nappa, DuPont Fellow, DuPont Chemicals & Fluoroproducts, is recognized for his exceptional contributions in fluorine chemistry at DuPont. During his 32 year career at DuPont, Dr. Nappa has been responsible for the development of synthetic schemes for fluorinated molecules of business interest and has scaled those schemes for customer sampling and commercialization. A key person in the successful development of many of the major fluorochemical processes commercialized in the last two decades, Dr. Nappa has been the lead chemist in process development for the commercialization phase of the scientific breakthrough which is currently sold under the name Opteon™ YF- refrigerant HFO-1234yf. He has identified new classes of fluorocarbons throughout his career at DuPont and has helped guide and address our business strategies, making a significant financial impact for DuPont.

Dr. Nappa is the author of 20 publications and inventor or co-inventor of 114 issued U.S. patents with several others in various stages of prosecution. His commitment and vision to aggressively build and protect DuPont’s intellectual property in this area continues to strengthen our IP estate in fluorochemicals.

Well-recognized for his leadership throughout the industry, Dr. Nappa shares his passion for science with others through collaboration and mentorship. He has led an initiative to make step change improvements in safety and operating productivity for the fluorochemical R&D labs at DuPont and mentors scientists through a range of activities. 

Poster's note:  I have been riding with Mario since 1997 when I first moved to the area and joined the White Clay Bicycle Club. Not only is Mario a super achiever at DuPont, but in Delaware's bicycling community as well. This includes leading rides and tours, directing events, serving as President of WCBC, founding Bike Delaware, mastering the latest electronic technologies available to bicyclists, and the list goes on. A huge tip of the helmet goes to Super Mario!

A comprehensive guide to locking up your bike

Folks often times visit the Newark Bike Project after their bike is stolen. We heard a story recently about bike thieves taking the bus from Wilmington, who tried to rob 3 bikes in front of the Newark Library. When they were refused entry back on, the thieves became enraged and combative. Long story short, the bus driver called 911 resulting in the arrest of 1 adult and 2 juveniles, and the return of the bikes. A huge round of kudos to that bus driver.

If only we could all be that lucky. This article from Baltimore Bike Party says it all when it comes to correctly locking your bike.

Excerpts -

Buy a u-lock.  Just do it.  No, no, no.  I don’t want to hear your reasons or your excuses.  You want to keep your bike?  Buy a u-lock, a good one.  Save your pennies, get a paper route, whatever.  Buy a u-lock.

As said above, the primary tool of bike thieves in our city is a pair of bolt cutters.  Bolt cutters will make quick work of ANY cable lock, or unhardened steel chain (like you can buy from a hardware store).  Seriously, like 5 seconds, if they fumble with it.  Good u-locks are made from a hardened steel that is much more resistant to cutting.

Keep your bike somewhere visible.  If you are grabbing coffee or lunch, lock it where you can watch it from the window.  If that’s not an option, lock it where it has the most eyes on it.

Lock your bike to something sturdy.  Make sure the fence, pole, or other object is securely fastened to the ground.  Also, make sure that what you are locking to is AS STRONG OR STRONGER than your lock.

Locking skewers are an option for keeping both wheels secure.  There are a number of kinds with various methods of locking, but most all of them work well at deterring theft.  They replace your quick release skewers and prevent you from having to carry a second lock.

If you buy a cable lock to go with your u-lock (many companies sell them together in packages now) you can leave your front wheel in place and simply thread the cable through the front wheel, then back through itself and lock the other end inside your u-lock.  Very few thieves would bother to cut a cable just for your front wheel, but it is possible.

Read the entire article HERE, including lots of photos and additional tips.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A shared goal for the Delaware Bicycle Council, Bike Delaware?

By Amy Wilburn, Chair, Delaware Bicycle Council

The Delaware Bicycle Council and Bike Delaware have agreed to join forces to support efforts to establish a bike and pedestrian connection to the Christiana Mall and the DART park ‘n ride, and to ensure that the connection is established within the next year. This connection will also provide a way to cross I95.

Among the casualties of new construction at the Mall and along I95 was an informal "goat path" connector between the Cavalier Country Club Apartment complex adjacent to the Mall and the DART park-n-ride, which has since been relocated. This dirt path had been the only safe way to access the Mall by bike or by foot, and the only viable way at all to access it from the north.

Christiana Mall from the air, accessible only by car or bus.
The goat path, marked at top with a red arrow, is now closed,
blocking the way for dozens of bike/ped commuters.

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.  In addition, the Mall is a flagship destination in northern Delaware.  It is unacceptable that in a state ranked by the LAB as the fifth most bike friendly in the nation, we cannot get cyclists and pedestrians safely to such an important destination.

It is hoped that by joining forces, Bike Delaware and the Delaware Bicycle Council can change this unfortunate situation and help our wonderful state to continue to make progress towards becoming truly bike friendly.

Poster's note: The two organizations have had few such opportunities, given differing views on bicycle advocacy. Bike Delaware's prime focus has been on segregated bicycle facilities, while the Delaware Bicycle Council takes the holistic, all-inclusive approach as seen in the League of American Bicyclists 5 Es.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

We Love Senator Karen Peterson - Here's Why

Because she has an eye on our safety and gets things done.

On November 10th, I contacted Senator Peterson concerning bicycle and pedestrian safety, crossing Route 273 at Red Mill Road in Ogletown. I live about a half mile from this arterial intersection, which hasn't changed much since the highway was built almost 20 years ago. The following email exchange took place between the Senator, myself, and DelDOT.

From: Frank Warnock
Sent: Sunday, November 10, 2013
To: Peterson, Karen (LegHall)
Subject: Rt.273/Red Mill Road Intersection

Hi Karen,
Maybe you can help. I have been advocating for pedestrian/bicycle facilities at the Rt.273/Red Mill intersection for close to 10 years, with little to show for it. I see folks all the time crossing there on foot, and it is my usual way home on the bike. It is very dangerous, especially since the green light phase coming from Old Ogletown is so short, one can't make it through on time without running. And lately it hasn't even been detecting bikes. Twice I asked DelDOT, and they had someone do counts - once 8 years ago and once recently - which apparently didn't produce enough people. Yet it seems common that I see folks out there. I will attach a few photos I took at or immediately adjacent to where there should be a crosswalk.

Let me know what, if anything you can do, or how I can better advocate for safety improvements at this location. It's a pretty straightforward intersection and should only be a matter of an upgrade or adding the proper facilities.

Thanks so much, Karen,

From: Peterson, Karen (LegHall)
Sent: Tuesday, November 12
To: Shockley, Tina (DelDOT)
Subject: FW: Rt.273/Red Mill Road Intersection

Tina --
Is there any way to make this intersection safer for pedestrians and bicyclists? There might not be a whole lot of pedestrians and bicyclists who try to navigate this intersection (probably because it would be life-threatening to do so) but it sure would be nice to make it less dangerous for those who must use it.


From: Shockley, Tina (DelDOT)
Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013
To: Peterson, Karen (LegHall)
Subject: RE: Rt.273/Red Mill Road Intersection

Sen. Peterson:
Thank you for your email. This location is near the Newark to Wilmington Pathway Feasibility Study, so we can potentially look at it as part of that.  However, there is not a plan for any specific bike/ped changes to this specific location because as you noted the bike/ped numbers don't indicate a need. Unfortunately, when SR 273 was "upgraded" to a quasi-limited access style road 20 years ago, multi-modal infrastructure was not a focus and  not incorporated in the project. Also given the character of the road, we may not have wanted to encourage bike/ped traffic at that time, and I am sure the traffic has even gotten heavier since then.

Unfortunately I don't think there is a whole lot DelDOT can do at this location.

Mr. Warnock is welcome to write to Tom Meyer and request an explanation of the outcome of the recent traffic study....that may provide him with more information on DelDOT's position on this location. He is at 165 Brick Store Landing Road, Smyrna, DE  19977.

Tina Shockley

From: Shockley, Tina (DelDOT)
Sent: Wednesday, November 13
To: Peterson, Karen (LegHall)
Subject: RE: Rt.273/Red Mill Road Intersection

Sen. Peterson:
Update on Rt. 273/Red Mill Road Intersection…..Our TMC is dispatching a signal tech to "tune" the loop detectors along Old Ogletown Rd and Red Mill Rd for bicycle actuations. 

With respect to pedestrian safety and signal timing, there's an upcoming traffic system improvement project at this intersection that can include the installation of a signalized pedestrian crosswalk across SR 273. This project will likely begin this coming winter/spring. Additional signal timing adjustments are not recommended until the pedestrian signals and pushbuttons are installed.


The above explains just why the residents of Senatorial District #9 are very fortunate to have Senator Peterson representing them. Studies conducted by DelDOT show that only a small number of pedestrians and cyclists are using this potentially dangerous intersection to help them get where they need to go. However, in our own experiences, and as shown in these photos, we know that folks cross this way by foot and bicycle often. Convincing the Senator of the urgency of the situation was unnecessary. She understands that even a handful of these vulnerable people are worthy of efforts to make them safer. To many people, existing dangerous crossings are the only options available. By helping to resolve this issue so quickly, Senator Peterson has proved once again how dedicated she is to the Constituents she serves, and to the people who travel through her district. On behalf of these people, we thank her!

We also thank Tina Shockly for her investigative efforts on this issue. She took a problem off of the back burner and obtained information for us quickly. Not too long ago, we would have had less confidence in DelDOT's response to bicyclist and pedestrian needs in these circumstances. What a difference a few years have made, since the adoption of a Complete Streets policy, the election of a bicycle-friendly Governor, and the appointment of a Transportation Secretary who not only bikes, but has solid MPO (Metropolitan Planning Org) experience. Hopefully, these positives will remain permanent, and we see the election of many more Karen Petersons in the years to come!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bike Delaware Surveys Newark's Mayoral Candidates

Good job on this by Bike Delaware. The candidates appear fairly close, but some are a little stronger for bicycling than others. In my opinion, Amy Roe clearly takes the top spot with Mark Morehead not far behind.

It appears none of them oppose bicycling or its part in the transportation system, and should be a friend to advocates. Visit HERE to read their answers to 4 basic questions, including comments.

Public repair stands showing up at UD

The University of Delaware putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to bike parking - and RepairSTAN outdoor repair stations.

This photo was taken behind the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, not far from the Creamery:

From their website:

RepairSTAN™ is a convenient way for cyclist to service their bikes while on the go. The RepairStan™ has basic tools for cyclist to keep their bikes in good riding condition. RepairStan™ includes manual air pump with Presta and Schrader valve head, Phillips screwdriver, straight screwdriver, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8mm Allen wrenches, headset wrench, pedal wrench, 8, 9, 10, 11mm open wrenches, 8, 9, 10, 11mm open wrenches, tire lever (1), adjustable wrench.

Stay tuned with Newark Bike Project's Facebook page for continued coverage, including whereabouts of this fabulous amenity.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why we need DelDOT Funding Pools

Above: Paper Mill Road bike lanes, brought to you by DelDOT funding pools (of the past).
A proposal by the Delaware Bicycle Council and DelDOT Planning to begin funding smaller bicycle and pedestrian projects sits in limbo. Funding Pools, as they are known, are basically a slush fund 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 between Newark and Pike Creek.

The Route 72 Sidepath in red
My favorite example is the Route 72/S. Chapel Road sidepath. I have been advocating for the repave-rehab of this facility since I first started commuting on it 10 years ago. There has been little to show for it. Before my time, Route 72 (aka S. Chapel Rd between Route 4 and Old Baltimore Pike) was widened to 4 high speed lanes, curb to curb with no shoulders. It was also repaved in recent years, and that project should have included the sidepath. The path was originally 8' wide but is now significantly narrower in many places do to erosion, crumbling and grass encroachment. It is also full of utility cuts, potholes, and follows the contour of driveways and pedestrian curb ramps for a very un-bike friendly experience. All of this, yet it remains very popular with walkers, runners, transit users, and bicyclists alike. It even has painted bike lane symbols. Replacement of this facility with Delaware's first true cycletrack is something that could come under Funding Pools, if users mobilize and solicit legislator support.

We should also have our eye on Route 72 between Route 4 and Library Ave in Newark. Traffic routinely backs up on this stretch, and what's there to stop this from going to 4 lanes in the future? When it was last reconstructed, DelDOT left a narrow pathway on each side behind the guardrails, which is now so overgrown and full of trash, it is hardly usable even by pedestrians. It is also designated as the East Coast Greenway. Should we ever see 4 lanes here, the road itself would have to shift over, and make way for a much wider sidepath on one side (west side) that meets safety specifications. It could also connect to the pathway mentioned above, running south of Route 4. For now though, wide shoulders do exist here but use caution as they are usually covered in debris.

Unfortunately, Funding Pools are still not reality, and we know that Bike Delaware does not endorse them. Support or no support, we will continue advocating for the complete resurfacing of this facility, or in a best case, replacement with a standard cycletrack along Route 72/S. Chapel Road. Watching this one and others like it deteriorate to the point of being hazardous should raise concern when it comes to maintenance of Trails and Pathways. It is for this reason, as well as riding contraflow, that we normally don't advocate for multi-use pathways in alignment with roads unless conditions absolutely call for it (i.e. limited ROW, high speed/no shoulder). IMO, Route 72/S. Chapel calls for it.

Route 72/S. Chapel Road at I95. One of a very few truly safe crossings of I95 anywhere in New Castle County. Below are other conditions typically found along this facility, extending between Route 4 and Old Baltimore Pike.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Follow Delaware Bikes by liking us on Facebook

Check out Delaware Bikes Facebook page and consider liking us. And please invite others to join as well. Here, you will find Greater Newark's #1 source for bicycling news and advocacy.

Our goal is to offer a balanced approach to bicycle advocacy. Trails and pathways will play an integral role in Delaware's bicycling network, and it would be foolish not to cover some events and news about these facilities. However, road bicycling will still take center stage, as we must rely on our built environment for many years, maybe generations to come. In the meantime, we must strive for bicycling to become a truly accepted and respected part of our current transportation system.

In the meantime, follow us, and enjoy the ride!

B.E.S.T. November Meeting Agenda

By Ceci McCormick

This is a reminder that our next B.E.S.T. Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 13th, at 7:00 PM, at Nemours Health and Prevention Services, in Newark (see map below). Our Next Steps for this meeting were/are:
  • BEST Members are invited to work on curriculum development for the November meeting.
  • Doug, Amy, John & Ceci to report on their efforts to obtain sponsors for our group.  Other BEST Members are encouraged to locate sponsors that can support our active transportation goal.
  • Additional item:  Discuss getting on the agenda of the Wheels and Heels Summit in March.
We hope to see all of you next week. If you can't attend but have information to share on the above Next Steps, please send it before the meeting so we can incorporate it during our discussion.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Goodbye "Share The Road" (clarification)

In a recent post on Bike Delaware's website, we find the following:

In August, Bike Delaware asked DelDOT to permanently discontinue its use of the “Share The Road” plaque in Delaware. The article on our ask, which can be read HERE, was viewed on the web more than 15,000 times, “liked” more than 1,800 times and generated many thoughtful comments. (Bike Delaware shared all these comments with DelDOT.)

We feel that this post leads readers to believe that Bike Delaware initiated, facilitated, and achieved the removal of the "Share The Road" plaque. These are commonly found under the standard bicycle sign, and are now being phased out. While Bike Delaware did offer support in the form of a letter and reader comments, it was hardly their initiative. Both Mark Luszcz, DelDOT's Chief Traffic Engineer (then assistant) and Anthony Aglio, DelDOT's Bicycle Coordinator, had been pushing this idea for years - well before Bike Delaware became involved. Suffice it to say, Bike Delaware participated as one spoke in the wheel, joining with multiple other organizations (including Delaware Bikes) who were solicited by DelDOT for comments and letters of support.

Among the corrective comments found under their blog post:

"This wasn’t initiated, worked on, and achieved by Bike Delaware. The idea was started in DelDOT years ago and only recently did DelDOT’s Chief Engineer decide to move on it. Multiple stakeholders - including Bike Delaware - were asked to comment and write letters and they did. Instead of taking all the credit and making it appear as a Bike Delaware project, apply it equally among all of those involved." -FW, Newark

"This is a great thing for cyclists - I’m glad it’s happening! But to get the record straight - the first people to initiate this idea in Delaware were DelDOT engineers. More than one of them has been pushing for this change for years, going around to the advocacy groups, requesting input and support. Other biking advocates also wrote letters. I look forward to biking on roads with the new signs, but I will be grateful to the many people who made the effort to get them there." -BB, N. Wilmington

This was not a singular victory as their post appears to suggest. Successes like this demonstrate the importance of cooperation and communication among advocacy organizations, citizens, and local government, who help make decisions that affect those who bicycle on Delaware's roads. We encourage Bike Delaware to appreciate the efforts of all parties involved. Only when we work together, and appreciate each others' contributions, will successes like this continue. We ask Bike Delaware to consider and acknowledge the cooperative actions by other stakeholders when covering the many efforts that are ongoing in the journey to make our State's roads safer for all cyclists.

Read Delaware Bikes' opinion on the subject, posted back in August. It includes some different reasoning for why the plaque must go, along with a suggestion to visit Bike Delaware's website to submit comments.