Friday, May 23, 2014

Cape Gazette: Cyclists say new rumble strips unsafe

This rumble strip has destroyed the shoulder and bicycle
safety in the process. It should never have been installed.
(photo by Ron MacArthur)
Cape Gazette -- Some cyclists are about ready to rumble over new safety strips installed on Cape Region roads, saying the strips have made the roadways unsafe. Meanwhile state transportation officials are scrambling to find a way to remedy the problem.

Since March, more than 70 miles of rumble strips have been placed along Sussex County roadways, including strips on Route 24 and Route 9 and along the Route 1 corridor.

Mike Tyler, a bicycling advocate from Lewes, said strips in some sections of routes 9 and 24 make the bike lanes so narrow they are not safe to ride. “We hate them,” Tyler said. “They ought to be removed and put closer to the white line.”

This week, Delaware Department of Transportation officials admitted the contractor improperly installed strips along some sections of the two roads, resulting in shoulders and bike lanes less than 4 feet wide, the acceptable safe minimum width on state highways.

Correctly designed rumble strips hug the white
line, and maximize shoulder space for bicyclists.
Mark Luszcz, DelDOT's chief traffic engineer, called the problem a glitch in the contract. Luszcz said two possible remedies are under consideration: to patch or pave over a total of about 1 mile of rumble strips along the two roads. One of those sections is the eastbound lane of Route 9 in front of Lewes Landing, where the shoulder is less than 3 feet wide.

Luszcz said beginning in early June, contractor Safety Improvements LLC of Kennedyville, Md., will test a new patching product along a 200-foot section of road. “If that doesn't work, we will do the more expensive process of milling out and paving over the rumble strips,” Luszcz said. “We will fix them as soon as possible.”

When completed, the $1.3 million project will cover 310 miles; so far, rumble strips have been installed along 140 miles of roadway.

Tyler said cyclists were caught off guard by new rumble strips over the past few weeks. “I was dismayed that they even put them down,” he said. “I can't believe any forethought was given or review done about what is appropriate.”  [Full article ...]

Read prior posts on this issue, including a call to action.

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