We need to solve Route 1 traffic woes

June 27, 2014

Traffic conditions on Route 1 between Nassau and Rehoboth Beach are going from bad to worse. Right now, a mile from the highway, sirens go off most of the day and night. The thing is, we are not talking about a highway so much as about an access road for the outlets, businesses, offices and residential communities that line the corridor; a road that must also provide intersections for east/west traffic and serve as a through route for vehicles traveling to points north and south. And then it must accommodate pedestrians and travelers on bicycles.

It seems to me that we must all accept the idea that it will take a while to get from here to there, by whatever mode of transportation, if we are to be the least bit safe. A first step would be to slow things down. Why should speed limits be 45 here and 30 or 35 in Dewey Beach and Bethany Beach? What about slowing down for yellow lights instead of trying to beat the reds? Do we need more stringent police enforcement and more traffic cameras in actual operation?

As we add to our wonderful bike trails and build bridges across marshes, do we need to think too about cyclists on Route 1 traveling a few feet to the right of vehicles driving 50 miles per hour. How about extending sidewalks to keep pedestrians out of the roadway? And should people be crossing eight lanes of traffic without dedicated walk signals?

Longer term, we probably need overpasses or tunnels. Perhaps the Tanger Outlets could think about helping with these when they budget for edifice work, landscaping and lighting. Obviously, alternate routes are required. So much can be done. It should go without saying that the governor, DelDOT and our legislators need to act now.

John W. Stewart

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