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Rehoboth weighs changes to city bus drop-off points

Chamber to discuss possible changes April 16
April 13, 2018

Congestion near the Bandstand has prompted Rehoboth Beach officials to consider establishing a consistent DART bus drop-off point and to restrict deliveries near the Bandstand.

The commissioners asked City Manager Sharon Lynn to look into those two issues, but set no timetable for a report.

John Sisson, CEO of Delaware Transit Corporation, which runs DART, said customers have complained that, “Every time we have an event at the Bandstand, they close the Boardwalk access and move the stop to the Bandstand.”

Sisson said the complaint usually comes from visitors from out of town waiting at the Boardwalk for a bus that doesn’t stop there. He asked the commissioners to make the Boardwalk a permanent stop.

Sisson said DART’s increased services led to a 21 percent increase in ridership last year. He said the Lewes Transit Center has made it easier for people to use DART get into Rehoboth. The base fare is $2, and 80 cents for seniors.

While the commissioners were amenable to Sisson’s request, it sparked discussion of pedestrian safety when DART buses, private charter buses, the Jolly Trolley and pedestrians all occupy the same space. Chief Keith Banks said on busy Saturdays, several buses may be letting people off, combined with cars dropping off and picking up people plus delivery trucks all competing for the same space.

Banks said he supports a consistent DART stop, but he is concerned about so many vehicles and people in the same place. He said delivery trucks should not park around the Boardwalk and Bandstand.

Commissioner Toni Sharp said the issue of delivery trucks in town has been a problem for years, but there seems to be no simple solution. The main issue with delivery trucks has been their taking up one side of the roadway and double parking, but the problem has long been what can be done about it, as the businesses need to get their deliveries, and Rehoboth lacks back alleys or parking areas where the trucks can stop.

Mayor Paul Kuhns said the first determination is whether to establish a permanent Boardwalk bus stop. After that, the next issue is delivery trucks, he said. Kuhns said the city could employ someone to monitor the bus traffic to keep everything moving.

On delivery trucks, he said, “We’ve got to figure out some kind of a solution.”

Commissioner Jay Lagree suggested closing delivery truck access to the Bandstand area during certain periods, allowing only pedestrian, passenger vehicle and bus access. Commissioner Kathy McGuiness said the city could make the Bandstand the permanent stop instead of the Boardwalk.

Commissioner Patrick Gossett said the city should hire a transportation consultant to work with Jolly Trolley, DART and police and fire departments to come up with solutions and deliver a report. He said this would give the commissioners a roadmap for finding and implementing solutions.

Kuhns supported Gossett’s idea, although no action was taken. Commissioner Stan Mills favored deferring action for further study. The commissioners agreed to let Lynn present an action plan.

The Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce will hold a downtown advisory committee meeting at 2:45 p.m., Monday, April 16, at the Cultured Pearl, to discuss potential changes regarding deliveries and bus stops.

Library to use parking for fundraiser

The Rehoboth Beach Public Library will be conducting a new kind of fundraiser this summer.

The library will sell parking privileges in the parking area behind the library from Memorial Day until two weeks after Labor Day. Spaces can be purchased for $300 per space for the metered period and are on a first-come, first-served basis. Local businesses have also been extended the opportunity to purchase a space.

For more information, contact Library Director Alison Miller, 227-8044, Ext. 108 or alison.miller@lib.de.us.