Saturday, February 14, 2015

Cross-county bicycle route(s) proposed for Cecil

1st State BIKES advocates have been discussing how to make Cecil County Maryland more bicycle friendly. Many view Cecil as being "orphaned" and in a world by itself when it comes to State bicycling improvements and Complete Streets. It shows in the lack of even minimal infrastructure. Yet, for both DE and MD bicyclists alike, it provides some of the best scenery in tri-state area. It is the first choice for several area bicycle clubs, as they head out for both weekend and weeknight rides from Newark.

Advocates began by asking Michael Jackson, Maryland DOT's Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, for "Share the Road" signs along the 1/3 mile stretch of Route 896 in Maryland. His department not only obliged, but recommended the use of  "Bicycles May Use Full Lane" warning signs instead. The discussion then shifted to Barksdale Road, given its existing high volume of bicyclists - many that ride to and from Millburn Orchards. Barksdale Road in Newark already has some bike lanes and warning signs (MUTCD W11-1) which abruptly end at the Cecil County line where the road narrows to 2 lanes with no shoulder.

From there, the discussion shifted to the fact that Cecil County in general is long overdue for more widespread improvements, including the establishment of a few marked bicycle routes. As most are aware, DelDOT has been installing Share the Road signs (now W11-1 warning signs only) throughout New Castle County for many years - maybe even decades. Many were focused around the Bike Route 1 corridor. That resulted in many more connecting roads in New Castle County having at least 1 or more signs in each direction, and the majority of bicyclists will agree that they have made a difference and may have saved lives we will never know about.

Michael then put us in touch with Maryland advocates, who are eager to assist in this project. A meeting will be scheduled to discuss several route possibilities and appropriate signage. Stay tuned for more info as the project unfolds. You can also view the Cecil County Bicycle Plan, an amazing project that was thoughtfully organized by Wilmapco with very few bicyclists supporting them.

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