Route 1 fatality demands response

June 11, 2013

We’ve said it before, but it ap­pears we need to keep saying it.

Route 1 is not safe for pedes­trians. As yet another weekend accident shows, Route 1 is deadly.

The latest death involved a man walking his dogs who apparently stepped into the path of an oncoming Jeep.

Route 1 is by nature a dangerous roadway. Through traffic is always in a rush to get through the lights in the commercial areas; joining them are thousands of people ready to shop or eat, changing lanes or turning sud­denly to get to their destinations.

Adding bicycles and pedestrians to this volatile mix is especially deadly, as the grow­ing list of fatal accidents shows – and the 2013 season has not yet even seen Fourth of July traffic volume.

Delaware Department of Transportation of­ficials say most of the accidents occur at night, frequently when people try to cross Route 1 mid-block. DelDOT has promised improve­ments: a $10.3 million pedestrian safety project will complete sidewalks along Route 1 and increase the number of crosswalks from two to 12 in the congested area. But these changes will take time; DelDOT is still purchasing rights of way.

In the meantime, DelDOT should move quickly on urgent temporary measures. Light­ing is critical, especially in dark areas near Route 24 and from Bay Vista Road to Dewey Beach, a stretch where two serious accidents occurred in the past two weeks.

Traffic signage from Five Points to Dewey Beach should warn drivers to be alert for pedestrians and cyclists. Speed limits must be enforced.

Where a bicycle lane exists, a physical bar­rier is needed to better protect cyclists.

While such improvements will help, noth­ing will change the fact that driving on Route 1 is dangerous; as summer visitors arrive, the hazards increase. Safety is everyone’s respon­sibility.

Reducing Route 1 fatalities will take not only critically needed DelDOT improvements, but also increased vigilance – by drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

  • 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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