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?