Route 1 task force working
Just to keep the dialogue going on Route 1 - Delaware Cape Region’s main street - a few comments on the most recent meeting of the task force working toward a safer and friendlier highway.
First, out of that meeting came news from DelDOT that it has doubled the number of new street lights it plans to install - from 62 to 127. Those street lights will illuminate intersections and provide the measure of safety added visibility will give to drivers and pedestrians alike at nighttime. The planned lights will provide continuous illumination for two of the most heavily traveled stretches of the corridor: between Midway and Old Landing Road, and between Sea Air Avenue and Bay Vista Road in the thick of the outlets.
Second, Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf reaffirmed that the committee wants to install multiuse paths for cyclists and pedestrians but is concerned that the paths could take years because of required property acquisition and moving utility poles. That’s a legitimate concern but no reason to not get that process started. The Coastal Highway will be a vital part of our region for a long, long time. Start pecking away now. Every little bit of multiuse pathways installed will make the route incrementally safer.
Third, Schwartzkopf said he has not forgotten the Forgotten Mile of Route 1 between the canal bridge and Dewey Beach town limits. He suggested flashing signs to slow motorists and make them more alert to cyclists and pedestrians. DelDOT Secretary Shailen Bhatt said such signs don’t always work, and he suggested heavy police enforcement is the best way to slow cars. That’s 20th century thinking.
We’re in the second decade of the 21st century. Delaware’s behind the curve on speed cameras. They will slow traffic for a lot less money and make pedestrians and cyclists safer in the process.
Finally, Bhatt said the additional lighting planned and other changes in DelDOT’s approach to the Route 1 safety problem came as a result of public input at the task force’s previous meeting in August. The process is working, and it’s a marvelous thing to watch.