Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Our Comments on the Churchmans Crossing Plan

Project boundary (click to enlarge)
Greetings, Wilmapco. Please add our comments below to the Churchmans Crossing Plan, before the Sept 2021 deadline. Upon generations of failed elected leadership, and climate catastrophe now looming, the need to facilitate active and green transport modes could not be more dire. Thank you very much.

In no particular order:
  • The project scope contains several bi-directional SUP facilities (Shared Use Pathways) that were built decades ago. Along SR4 and SR58 is the East Coast Greenway (ECG). These need to be improved and/or rehabbed using best design & engineering guidance (APBP/NACTO compliance) esp where crossing through intersections.
  • Where SUP facilities exist, or will be added, these should never go off-alignment with acute zig-zagging through intersections via narrow sidewalks; SUPs should maintain their full width (min. 8' wide asphalt, buffered where possible) and continue in parallel to the road they are on, including through radial turns. Look to DelDOT's "SR299, SR1 to Catherine Street Project (pdf)" as a good example, or APBP/NACTO guidelines.
  • An 8' asphalt SUP facility should replace the narrow sidewalk on SR58/Churchmans Rd from just east of Christiana Hospital to at least Cavaliers, and include a marked, button actuated crosswalk (of equal width) under SR7/1. A SUP currently exists along the Christiana Hospital property, and there is a well designed bike-ped bridge over I95 further east on SR58 as you approach Cavaliers. These should all be connected in one contiguous 8' bi-directional facility, as an improvement to the ECG.
  • Upgrade/improve/rehab the following SUP connectors using best design & engineering guidance (APBP/NACTO compliance):
    => Lisbeth Rd to Brennen School parking lot
    => Old Ogletown Rd to SR4-Salem Church Jct
    => Prides Crossing to SR4 SUP/ECG
    => E. Cherokee Dr to Johnson Rd
    => SR4 SUP/ECG continuity at Augusta
  • Convert abandoned roads into SUPs:
    => Old Harmony Rd from north of Greenridge Rd to Old Capitol Trail
    => S. Wakefield thru Leathermans Run
  • Dearth of parks: Streets used as ball courts
    A park that includes ball courts, walking & biking paths, benches and other forms of place and destination-making is desperately needed for Harmony Woods and the region in general.
  • Add a shoulder bike lane on Salem Church Rd between I95 and Old Baltimore Pike, on what is technically "Bike Route 1". Cars and trucks cannot safely pass cyclists here without entering the opposing lane, and road rage commonly ensues.
  • Reduce the speed limit on SR4 from 50 mph to 40 mph, and 35 mph in school zones: DE Deaf-Blind, Kirk MS. Several speed studies over the years have shown rampant speeding along this corridor, in access of 57 avg mph. Investigate the use of traffic calming measures such as median vegetation plantings, signage, and other means to protect the children from these schools, as well as the surrounding neighborhoods. They often cross SR4 at Augusta, going to and from 7/11 for snacks. Reducing the speed limit cannot be emphasized enough. Delaware is now ranked #1 deadliest State in the nation for biking, and near #1 for walking, largely due to abject failure in this regard.
  • Recognize and honor the passing of Thomas Ogle, founder of Ogletown, who died exactly 250 years ago on 12/23/1771. This should include a spur pathway connector from the existing SR4 SUP aka ECG, along with a historical wayside and some bike parking (as seen at regular intervals along, e.g. the Markell Trail/Indus Track). This article in Delaware on-line from 2015 highlights that very need, which went ignored.
  • Typical "goat path" from the ECG in S. Newark
    Reduce neighborhood street speed limits from 25 to 20 mph, led by a "20 is Plenty" safety campaign or similar. Cost estimate HERE.
  • Assess, formalize and convert all "goat path" connections into SUPs. These are commonly visible coming off existing SUPs, usually connecting to adjacent shopping centers and strip malls. These occur when numerous people walk or bike across grass that eventually erodes and forms its own trail. These should be upgraded to pathways.
Please advise how we may track our comments through the process, to verify if they are being considered for implementation or not. Thank you for listening.

SIGNED: Angela Connolly and Frank Warnock

Friday, August 6, 2021

Our comments on the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan

Greetings, DE State Parks. Please add our comments below to the White Clay Creek State Park Master Plan, before the 8-2-2021 deadline. Thank you very much.

In no particular order:

  • There is only 1 park bench/rest stop along the paved Tri-Valley SUP (Shared Use Pthway). There needs to be more, at equal distances, so people can stop, rest and take in the views.
  • "Shared Zone" (or similar, MUTCD) signs need to be added along Creek Road and Wedgewood Roads where these are paved and shared with motor vehicles. See attached image (right). Presently there is no signage, and cars -- sometimes speeding -- are weaving between bike-ped traffic.
  • We do NOT agree with the others who are against using stone dust, fine gravel or limestone or other packing materials on trails. Please continue to use these as a proven means to control erosion and formalize trails as needed.
  • Please REMOVE the hanging cable that is blocking bike-peds from Judge Morris Estate turning in from Polly Drummond Road. This is a trip or crash hazard, and should be replaced with a removable bollard(s) or partial gate with clear bike-ped access, e.g. along Creek Rd.
  • Tell DelDOT to replace the unsightly concrete barriers on Creek Road at the Pomeroy Trail bridge curve with something more aesthetically pleasing. These are an eyesore and detract from the park's otherwise beautiful scenery.
  • With the advent of "Gravel" bikes and wider trail riding, park trails and pathways should be sub-grouped into the following categories, and mapped as such, e.g. 1. PAVED  2. GRAVEL  3. MTB
  • The Tri-Valley SUP is very overgrown between 9 foot Rd and its southern terminus at Thompson Station/SR72, and is reduced to about 2/3 width. This is hazardous for bi-directional bike-ped traffic. Please perform maintenance, including mowing and edging. At 8', this is the min recommended width for such a facility according to FHWA.
  • Improve safety for the bike-ped crossing between Creek Rd (gravel section) and Tweeds Mill (nature center). A large-sized MUTCD-approved R1-5 in each direction would be a big improvement. As it stands now, most motorists continue through the marked crosswalk, even with people standing there waiting.
  • Connect via SUP the Carpenter Area with the Pomeroy Trail, and that with the Possum Hill and Middle Run Areas.
  • Continue working on a WCCSP-Fair Hill connection via SUP, if that is still being considered.
Thank you so much for listening. Please let us know if there is a way to track our comments, to verify whether or not they are being considered.

--Frank Warnock & Angela Connolly


Above: A hanging cable blocks the entrance to Judge Morris Estate at White Clay Creek State Park. Bollard(s) should always be used where foot & pedal traffic is permitted. Users -- especially the disabled -- should not have to lift their bikes, step over, or cycle around a lengthy stone wall to access the Estate.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

U.S. News & World Report: Delaware #1 Deadliest For Bicycling

... but a new report by StreetLight identifies the most dangerous states for cyclists by fatalities per capita and miles traveled, accounting for states where biking is more commonplace. By this definition, Delaware is the most dangerous state, followed by South Carolina and Florida, which has the most fatalities per capita. On the other side of the list, Massachusetts, New York and Illinois were among the safest states for cyclists. [Full Article ...]

Though shocking, this comes as no surprise really. Despite all the goodwill, and what appear numerous efforts to shore up safety, Delaware's #1 level of service (LOS) priority is still motor vehicles. This includes uninterupted travel at highest possible speed, inducing more and more demand with endless widening of roads, and providing parking craters at the expense of commons and place-making. Combined with infrastructure, retail and civil services that are anything but inviting and safe, almost nobody bikes for transportation in Delaware -- and the few that do are often times in grave danger. To make matters worse, we have a State's advocacy org that is corrupt and has little appetite to do anything meaningful about it.

In Massachusetts, for example, bike-ped crossing enforcement is taken very seriously -- and the results show. With few exceptions, cars begin stopping immediately when bicyclists or pedestrians approach a crossing facility. This sign (right) is but one tool in their toolbox. Instead, however, Bike Delaware quashed any efforts to move in this direction which included updating the vehicle code. Better enforcement with fines of up to $200 go a long way toward increased safety and respect of bicyclists and pedestrians. This, in turn, results in fewer injuries and fatalities, and promotes a culture of awareness and responsibility.