Dewey Beach seeks to calm traffic

Council approves West Street speed bumps, considers study
April 22, 2014
Dewey Beach Town Council approved installing  speed bumps on West Street to slow cut-through traffic during the summer months. The council also decided to move forward with a traffic study for all of the north end of town. BY CHRIS FLOOD

Dewey Beach Town Council took steps towards calming traffic in the north end of town during an April 12 meeting.

Temporary speed bumps were approved on West Street for the 2014 summer season. This will slow traffic that uses the street as a cut-through from King Charles Avenue to Route 1.

West Street resident John Taulane said there was a major, major issue with cars traveling at high speeds using West Street to get to Route 1.

“We are truly the only street with access to Route 1,” he said.

Taulane's said his goal was to give the kids who live and visit family who live on the street a safe place to play. He said over the past couple of years the number of kids regularly on the street has grown from five to close to 15.

Taulane asked the council to have the speed bumps in place prior to May 15. Marc Appelbaum, Dewey Beach town manager, said it will be done by 4 p.m., May 15.

“Lets button it down tight, since we do everything else so tight around here,” he said.

Council also agreed to move forward on discussions with Delaware Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study for the north end of town to see if traffic calming measures are needed on other streets.

Town commissioner Anna Legates and Len Read, Public Safety Ad Hoc Committee co-chair, recently met with Mike Sommers, DelDOT senior transportation planner, to discuss the town's options for calming measures.

Read said during the council meeting that one low-cost solution could be to put down rubber speed bumps that are no longer being used by DelDOT on state roads because the state agency was replacing them. Read said Sommers had  suggested DelDOT may be willing to give the town the excess speed bumps.

On Tuesday, April 14, Sommers said he was still reviewing whether the excess speed bumps would be available to Dewey or to any town. He said DelDOT has a disposal process for most things, and he was checking to see if use by a municipality was acceptable.

Appelbaum said if the DelDOT speed bumps aren't available, the town will use speed bumps used on West Street in past summers.

Sommers said the style bumps that may be available are called speed cushions, which accommodate emergency vehicles better than other types of bumps.

Sommers said the traffic study would be done free of charge and would take a full week to complete. He said hose counters that record speed and volume would be placed at specific locations to see where traffic is going.

It's not a full-blown traffic study, Sommers said, but the counters will produce a report, and the town will take that information and decide what to do from there.

Sommers recommended establishing a working group that would come up with the goal of study.

Read said even if a traffic study shows calming devises are necessary, it doesn't mean they'll be installed. He explained that after the study was completed, a questionnaire would be sent to property owners asking if they want the traffic calming measures and 67 percent of the respondents would have to vote in favor.