Install pedestrian safety improvements on Route 1

May 28, 2013

A chill was in the air Friday, yet by the time Sunday rolled around, Memo­rial Day weekend was in full swing, kicking off the summer season. The beaches were slightly less than jammed, but Rehoboth Beach’s Boardwalk was busy, and the outlets were overflowing.

If the weekend traffic was an indication of things to come, the Rehoboth Beach com­missioners may want to rethink the scooter policy. Why issue free permits to homeown­ers for their cars, but charge the very same people for scooter permits?

Rehoboth officials should instead do every­thing they can to encourage homeowners to leave their cars home and ride bikes or scoot­ers around town.

It’s even more urgent to convince visi­tors to park at the Park & Ride. While local businesses appear to be focusing on scooter rentals, the time has come for a bike station at the Park & Ride so visitors can leave their cars and rent bicycles for their day at the beach.

Despite cool temperatures, the weekend’s biggest chill was news of a pedestrian struck while walking on Route 1 north of Dewey Beach. A man walking with a group along the highway was struck by a state trooper driving a fully marked patrol vehicle.

People walking near Dewey Beach at night are likely to have enjoyed the town’s nightlife. But at least they are walking and not endan­gering anyone else.

In this stretch of highway and other con­gested areas from Five Points to south of Dewey Beach, a visual barrier should be installed immediately, separating pedestrians from traffic. These barriers are in place in other cities and towns; Delaware transporta­tion officials must take action to place them on dangerous Cape Region roadways.

If a state trooper can’t avoid hitting a person walking in a group along the roadway, it’s hard to imagine an average driver will fare better. Route 1, the Main Street of the Cape Region, is a hazard.

This has to change. The time for safety improvements is now.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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