Saturday, November 22, 2014

Greenville Village Study fails to address on-road bicycle safety

Above: Bicyclists riding through Greenville on Kennett Pike - the only efficient means in which to to do so.
(picture courtesy of the Greenville Village Plan)

From Delaware Greenways -- Partnering with the New Castle County Department of Land Use and the Delaware Department of Transportation, Delaware Greenways conducted the first of several public meetings for the Greenville Village Study and Special Area Plan on May 8, 2014 at A. I. DuPont High School. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce the public to the study and solicit input on four questions which the study and the resultant special area plan will address.

Assisting at the meeting were volunteers from the Board of Directors of both Delaware Greenways and the Kennett Pike Association and the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway Partnership. [Full article ...]

Poster's note: The next workshop for this project will likely be scheduled early next year. You can view the latest workshop notifications on DelDOT's website. Transportation and recreation bicyclists who depend on roads like Kennett Pike need to attend. As more pathways are built in view of motorists, their tolerance of bicycles using the roads will decline. The only mention of bicycles so far was the following: "A village square or central park was suggested as a missing element as were better bicycle and pedestrian connections so residents can walk and bike to the commercial and other areas, open spaces and schools and perhaps a trail along the railroad". Straight away, it appears that the emphasis is on off-road pathways, which will serve limited needs for most transportation and recreational bicyclists traveling the Route 52 corridor.

The State of Maryland is already using
this sign. DelDOT is considering
something similar.
It should be noted that road bicycling advocates have thrown their full support behind the First State Trails and Pathways Plan (FSTPP) since its inception, because we know that off road facilities are a vital part of any balanced bicycle-friendly community or network. Unfortunately, advocates for bike paths and trails are weak on reciprocation.

Advocates have maintained for years that Kennett Pike through Greenville is a hostile environment for bicyclists, given 4 lanes of curb to curb traffic and no shoulder. Despite aggressive drivers and a lack of bicycle facilities, it is still commonplace to see folks riding this stretch of road in the right lane, usually traveling to and from Centerville and points north and west. Advocates have asked repeatedly for the right lane in each direction to be designated as a shared bike lane/car lane, or at the least, have "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" signs installed. A recent improvement did include the addition of bicycle warning signs, but this is much less effective compared to a bicycle lane or even Sharrows. Bike Delaware has opposed the latter idea because of the 35 mph speed limit, even though MUTCD guidance makes this exception.

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