Sunday, October 12, 2014

Crossing I95 in the Newark Area: Route 896 (College Avenue)


The 3rd of an eight part series, we are examining every I95 overpass/underpass in the greater Newark area from a bicycling safety perspective. Crossing I95 is a major impediment for City and area bicyclists, and a show stopper for many who might otherwise consider commuting or riding for basic transportation. Of the eight, we already know the following:
  • 2 are equipped with a truly safe, segregated pathway intended for non-motorized use - but are not necessarily safe to reach on a bike.
  • 2, including this one, contain access ramps to and from I95 in both directions, rendering them totally unsafe.
  • 6 are direct crossings with no I95 access, but contain little or no bikeable shoulder space.
  • By request of Delaware Bikes Advocates, 4 are under consideration for Bicycle Warning Signs.

The Route 896/College Avenue I95 overpass
is just east of Welsh Tract Road, and is very dangerous for bicycles. A safe crossing of I95 here has been the wish of Newark area bicyclists for decades. As a result, bicycle warning signs were recently installed leading up to, along, and beyond the span.

Tips for crossing I95 on Route 896:
  • None. In the interest of safety, avoid this crossing. Try and use Welsh Tract or Route 72 instead.
  • If you must do it, south to north is slightly less dangerous, only because it doesn't contain a cloverleaf merge.
  • If at all convenient, consider using DART Transit. The 55 bus crosses I95 between Newark and Peoples Plaza (map).

On occasion, bicyclists can be seen using the Route 896 crossing over I95. We seriously do not recommend using this road. When most of these bridge spans were built, little or no consideration was given to the non-motorized.

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