Wednesday, November 1, 2023

U-Dud: Who is driving UD's anti-bicycling sentiment?

From the Newark Post article:

"[McBride] added that another key component to improving cycling in Newark is working with the University of Delaware, which he said has fallen behind competitors like Penn State and the University of Maryland as it relates to cycling infrastructure. McBride said UD “hasn’t been all that interested in helping us,” noting that UD’s interest in cycling waned after a student was fatally struck by a bike outside the Trabant University Center in 2015."

It is no secret that Earl "Rusty" Lee of  the University of Delaware's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty is anti-bicycling. We have heard it from past students and overheard U.D. alumni saying as much. It was objectively obvious during the Shared Right Turn-Only Lane project 12 years ago. DelDOT tasked U.D. with conducting field and human factors testing and providing the data necessary to have this vital modification added to the Delaware MUTCD.

Surely, we cannot prove Mr Lee's complicity in UD's attitude in the Post article above. But their unwillingness to help Newark move toward a green sustainable transportation future is repugnant at best. Apparently, it is based this on a single bike-ped accident at Trabant Student Center that resulted in a fatality.

The University and Mr Lee should be reminded that bike collisions with pedestrians (resulting in death or serious injury) are exceptionally rare compared to cars. People dependent on cars result in 38,000 road deaths per year in the U.S. (this includes in Newark) and costs everyone many billions of dollars in medical services and property damage. There are also the health implications of driving costing 10s of thousands of lives every year. These include respiratory illness, noise anxiety/stress, obesity etc. Instead of holding a grudge, U.D. should be at the forefront getting people out of cars and into active (pdf) modes like bicycling. They should also provide a car-share system instead of minimum parking requirements for students.

The revolution in e-Bike and scooter technology alone all but mandates U.D. to act, as hundreds if not thousands of their students depend on these modes to get to class. Needless to say, oil-dependent transportation accounts for the largest share of heat trapping emissions, ultimately dooming our planet. U.D. should also provide multi-modal education and provide a monthly stipend to the Newark Bike Project. NBP is a huge asset, helping their students fix and maintain their bikes while teaching them self-reliance in this manner.

Shame on the University of Delaware for waving the environmental baton while jamming it in the spokes of people on bikes, those trying to be "one less car".

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

DelDOT's Ignorance of AASHTO Bicycle Facility Guidance

The typical DelDOT "shared use" curb cut, in clear violation of AASHTO guidance

2012 AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities (pdf)

5.3.5 Other Intersection Treatments: Curb Ramps and Aprons
The opening of a shared use path at the roadway should be at least the same width as the shared use path itself. If a curb ramp is provided, the ramp should be the full width of the path, not including any side flares if utilized. The approach should provide a smooth and accessible transition between the path and the roadway.
AASHTO No-No: Sidewalks as "Bikeways", signed as such

DelDOT's Pavement & Rehabilitation section routinely installs as little as 4' wide ramps and island cut-throughs on bi-directional shared-use pathway (SUP) facilities. According to AASHTO guidance, this practice relegates these facilities to sidewalks. Perhaps nobody even notices this, after all, "why build good bike facilities, when nobody rides because of the lack of good facilities?" ~Barry Childress (Chair, Baltimore Spokes).

According to unnamed experts in the field, DelDOT's ignorance of AASHTO makes them responsible in the advent of an accident or crash. Further, the installation of signs indicating these are bikeways, when in fact bicycle equity and safety is gravely compromised should be an embarrassment to the Department. It also indicates just how involved the various advocacy orgs (DE Bicycle Council, DE Greenways, Bike DE, etc) are in "connecting everyone with a bicycle-friendly transportation network".

All of the $44M in RAISE funds granted to DE are going into two high profile projects that will fix none of the problems with Delaware's current bicycling infrastructure. Most of what we see now is in a state of disconnect and ruin, and will stay that way thanks to the above parties. Instead of developing design guidance for SUP width and alignment through stroad intersections, for example, and turning the countless "goat paths" in New Castle County into AASHTO-compliant pathways, every dollar goes to benefit a tiny minority.

The installation of grossly inadequate "multi-modal" infrastructure continues unabated in Delaware, and will guarantee that we remain a whopping ~0.02% bicycling modeshare. The State will continue as most dangerous in the U.S. for bicyclists and 2nd most deadly behind Florida. Oil-based transportation is the #1 source of AGW emissions, as our "leaders" in govt agencies and non-profits (most of whom never actually bike, or even walk apparently) make the decisions that seal this fate. Shame on all of them.

10' wide is reduced to 5' on the Linden Hill shared use pathway at Skyline Drive in Pike Creek

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Greed, Moral Bankruptcy, and the "WaWa Effect"

The massive growth of "convenience" superstores, and their vast array of mega-gas pumps and car-infested parking lots is fast destroying any notion of a bikeable greater Newark. In the past, residents from within City limits have been able to defeat the plans of these greedy corporations and their billionaire CEOs and investors -- particularly along Elkton Rd/new S. Main Street. Such spotty success, however, sends the message that bicycling for transportation is unique to select small areas, like college towns. Yet the vast majority of car trips made in the U.S. are generated in suburbs and are less than a mile long. This is a distance easily biked or walked by at least 2/3 of Americans, but our so-called leaders in local and State govt and their supporting organizations aren't interested in that.

First of two Wawas proposed for South College Avenue advances

Key Excerpts:
Commissioner Christopher Williamson expressed dismay that Wawa is seeking to come to an area already crowded with gas stations. Wawa would be the fifth gas station in the 1-mile stretch of South College Avenue leading up to the I-95 interchange. A sixth gas station, a Dash In, is proposed for across the street at the site of the Rodeway Inn.

“Talk about a bleak landscape between West Chestnut Hill Road and the freeway. It’s disappointing it’s turned out this way. I know it meets code, I know that it’s economics that drives what you can put there,” Williamson said. “That one little shopping center and Jersey Mike’s, there’s hardly a blade of green grass in there. It’s pretty bleak looking. I just wish the city could have gotten ahead of it, but it’s too late, the train is out of the station.”

Despite expressing concerns about the project, the planning commission voted 6-0 to recommend city council approve a minor subdivision and special-use permit for the Wawa. A date for council consideration has not yet been scheduled.

The Wawa proposal voted on Tuesday is one [FOUR MORE] being proposed in and around Newark [Full article . . .]

Newark is even on board for annexing the necessary land to encourage WaWa's gross expansion. As such, the promotion and approval of these cancerous blights will be the City leader's 'legacy'. Instead of planting trees, in their minds, it is more important to destroy the environment, lock in car-dependency, and ruin any sense of placemaking. They, and their New Castle County cohorts in "Planning" and Land Use are the antithesis of One Less Car and are equally to blame for this disaster. Shame on everyone involved.

NO to Super WaWa at Apple and Elkton Roads in Newark
Is this what we really want for South Main Street?
Where is Bike Delaware on projects that really matter?

Mayor: WaWa out of the picture for Park n' Shop

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Celebration of the Life of Angela Connolly-Cunneely

From the event site | Please join us in a Celebration Of Life for Angela Connolly Cunneely, who took her leave of this earthly realm on August 4th 2023. Obituary HERE.

Angela fought a valiant 2 year battle with Cholangiocarcinoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer of the bile duct, which ended in the way that Angela always knew it would - in a draw. She always knew that her cancer would ultimately take her, but she took solace in the fact that her end would also mean the demise of her cancer.

In keeping with the spirit of Angela’s love of and connection to nature and the great outdoors, we will be gathering on Oct 8 at 2pm in Lums Pond State Park, Pavilion #3. Please dress comfortably and respectfully.

One of Angela’s favorite movie lines and frequently used quotes was “I don’t mind going if a luncheon is provided” from A Christmas Carol ❤️, and as such food and drink will of course be provided by the family, and any additional contributions are most welcome.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The Safety Of Cycling On Salem Church Road

Big shout out to BFF Productions for making this possible!

This video is a collaboration of Frank Warnock of 1st State Bikes and Mario Nappa. With Mario hosting, Frank Warnock answers questions about the hazards of riding on a 1/2-mile stretch of Salem Church Road between the I95 overpass on the north end to Old Baltimore Pike on the southern end.

At the end of the video we give you contact information so you can connect with your state representative to encourage that bike lanes are added along this section for the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

Thank you for watching and for your help in making Bike Route One a safer place to ride.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Angela Connolly-Cunneely, 1959-2023

Angela Connolly Cunneely, 64, passed away at home on August 4 after a courageous battle with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare and virulent cancer of the bile duct. Angie was born on June 22, 1959 in the Bronx, New York City, to the late Margaret (Jantek) and Edward Connolly. She married her high school sweetheart Martin when he joined the Navy, and together they lived in Tennessee, California, and Washington state before settling back in the Bronx. There, Angie was active in the PTA when her children were in school, then studied ESL at Lehman College where she helped many adult students learn English.

After the family moved to Delaware in 1989, Angie earned her Certification as a Medical Assistant and worked for many years in women's health, where she was known for her competent and compassionate care for her many patients. She became active in her new community as well, volunteering with both Bike Delaware and the Newark Bike Project. She also fought tirelessly for the preservation of the former Orphanage property on Chestnut Hill Road.

In addition to her advocacy, Angie's interests included caring for her lush garden, flying in small planes, and traveling to the Dominican Republic and throughout Europe.

Angie was predeceased by her parents and brother Edward. She is survived by her husband Martin, her son Martin Jr. (Shelley), daughter Melissa Schweitzer (Rob), grandchildren Connor, Tyler, Lilah, Jake, Eva, and Ella, and her two sisters Mary-Catherine Connolly and Marguerite Cain (Dave), as well as many nieces and nephews and her little dog Midnight. | (see it on

Editor's note: Angela was a superb advocate and activist for walking, bicycling and environmental causes in Delaware. She volunteered and served on the boards of multiple organizations that included Newark Bike Project and Bike Delaware in their early inception. Angela co-founded Save The Orphanage Property (STOP), a coalition of citizens and organizations that attempted to save green space and bring a regional park to Ogletown-S. Newark. She co-wrote and edited for several advocacy blogs that included 1st State Bikes and Ogletown Resilience. Her beautiful personality, lively enthusiasm, and embrace of the greater good will be sorely missed.

Friday, April 7, 2023

One Dozen Safety Suggestions For Wilmapco and NCC

WILMAPCO is appealing for feedback to reverse the "1st" that Delaware asked for over many decades time with poor land-use and infrastructure planning. Kudos to them for making this big step. But if our State is really serious about reducing injuries and fatals, it is going to take more than infra improvements on gov-owned roads and other public rights of way (ROW). In no particular order, here is our top 12 recommendations that SSFA (Safe Streets for All) must consider and implement to be effective:

  1. Reform the vehicle code for pedestrians. DE's code now ranks among the most inadequate and dangerous in the country. Bike Delaware fought and defeated past attempts at bringing said code in line (pdf) with other truly progressive States.
  2. Typical goat path from SR4 in S. Newark
    A holistic approach to infra that includes non-state lands and properties, e.g. abaondoned roads, "goat paths" and/or other potential buy or easement possibilities. These make critical connections e.g. Cavaliers to Christiana Mall, yet are actually discouraged! Shared-use pathways are paved parallel to shopping centers or strip commerce, but the only "connections" are goat paths traversing high curbs or over high fences. Ditto with neighborhoods and other vital destinations. This is grossly unacceptable and any safety campaign must address this issue. That said, the NCC "Safe Streets for All" interactive mapping tool is a great start; please participate.
  3. "20 is Plenty" (or similar) for neighborhoods and side streets, including replacement of all 25
    mph speed limit signs (Sen John Walsh performed a cost analysis), accompanied by an awareness campaign. This has had demonstrable results elsewhere in western society (i.e. Europe).
  4. Restrict use of radial turns and slip lanes to high speed roads only; these should never be used on streets at human scale, which DelDOT continues to do. Roads should have limited access via frontal streets only; Streets require crossroads to be safe. There is a big difference.
  5. Lower speed limits on arterial roads that have frequent red lights, crosswalks, bike lanes, shopping centers, schools etc. SR4 (E. Chestnut Hill Rd) thru Ogletown-S.Newark is posted at 50 mph, which is recklessly dangerous. Average speeds approach 60 mph, even through intersections where the East Coast Greenway parallels a deaf-blind and elementary school according to one speed study. Eliminate the 85th Percentile as exclusive guidance when setting speed limits.
  6. Carth Vader
  7. Robust laws aimed at curbing drag racing and aftermarket and modified exhaust systems. Such vehicle terrorism discourages anyone from venturing near DE's arterial roads and streets unless forced. And we all have connections that can only be made via arterial roads. Sen Walsh/Rep Williams already passed HB328 for the former, and HB35 is in process for the latter. PD and/or NCC follow-up to citizen complaints is key to enforcement. Kudos to the legislators involved.
  8. Redundant DMV driver training. Even a simple periodic quiz would help, perhaps with renewals. License and registration as a "right" has to end, replaced with the privilege to drive AND re-earning it from time to time.
  9. A gas tax to fund improvements across all vulnerable user types, given the unspeakable damage caused by people driving cars and burning fossil fuels vs non-motorists.
  10. Bike parking with ALL new commercial establishments (NCC), including refurbs -- not just ground-up construction. Find a way to incentivize existing services and establishments. Reform the land-use code in this manner.
  11. Stop using cement barriers and hanging cables instead of bollard(s) where bike/ped but not cars are permitted. This is lacking of common sense and results in tripping or crash hazards.
  12. Design, test and implement a Delaware MUTCD-specific Shared Zone signage, for use in mixed zones where speeding is notable. Examples include Creek Road north of Newark.
  13. Car-free and car-lite housing incentives at Delaware's schools, colleges and universities. This includes reducing student car parking and replacing it with car-sharing services instead.
Is there a #13 and beyond? Where is Bike Delaware and Delaware Greenways on any of these issues? Let us know in the comments section below if you have anything to add. Beyond that, this post marks the end of what we can do to help Delaware move forward in multi-modal safety and quality of life issues. Now on to populating the SSFA map.

Where is Bike Delaware on these top 5 action items?

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

DelDOT: NO to Shared Zone signage on Creek Road

Creek Road on a recent winter's day
Sadly, DelDOT has denied Advocate's pleas for Shared Zone signage on Creek Road. Creek Road is a historic, narrow, 2-lane, unimproved rural route that extends from Newark through the White Clay Creek Valley. It is especially rich with pedestrian and bicycling activity just north of Newark, given University of Delaware's vast student population. It was abandoned for auto use starting about 0.8 miles south of Wedgewood Road, as much of the asphalt collapsed into the White Clay Creek, but enough width remains for dedicated trail use.

Creek Road is not actually a road; though rural, it qualifies as a Street and shared-use path (Pomeroy Trail) system. Upon our initial ask, Delaware State Parks eagerly embraced the idea and installed Shared Zone signs on DSP-managed roads open to automobiles. However, despite Creek Road having the highest mode-share by far, DelDOT wouldn't allow it. In a response from a DelDOT spokesperson:

DelDOT has implemented the low stress bikeway practices and designs. The Newark Bikeways signs was collaboration between Bike Newark, Wilmapco, Delaware Greenways, City of Newark and DelDOT. Traffic’s view is that this portion of Creek Rd is dedicated to highlight the low stress Newark Bikeway as far as signage is concerned. We don’t recommend any additional signage at this time. We can engage the City of Newark to see if they would like to include any in their limits along Creek Rd.

Traffic Studies also worked with Captain McDerby and Park Superintendent Lee with the posting of additional 25 mph speed limit signs. They stated it is a huge help with providing pedestrian, bike safety on this road for visitors entering White Clay Creek State Park.  

Sure, speed limit signs where before there were none helps. But DelDOT is citing the small, brown, relatively inconspicuous "Low Stress Bikeway" sign as adequate. We disagree, especially since bikes are the minority of  non-motorized users, and cars -- many speeding -- are expected to mix with majority walkers, hikers, runners etc.

Delaware is ranked the most dangerous State to bike in, and consistently ranks top 3 in pedestrian fatalities. As of March 1, 4 bicyclists have already been killed in Delaware. At this rate it'll be 24 for the year -- annihilating past (annual per-capita) totals of any State. To make matters worse, Delaware has no Statewide advocacy organization fighting in the interests of bike/ped safety.

If DelDOT is so mired in regulations that they cannot make this simple improvement, then they must develop, test and approve a similar custom sign for Delaware's MUTCD (traffic devices manual pdf). Advocates have offered to help, similar to the W11-1-DE project, but DelDOT has declined to answer.

When common sense is defied in such a manner, we cannot help but question the State's sincerity in terms of non-motorized encouragement and safety, climate mitigation and the greater good. Let's hope things change, and that DelDOT engineers and planners are given more autonomy to create safe streets environments.

Shared Zone implemented throughout White Clay Creek State Park -- except on Creek Road where it's needed most.