Looking into a crystal ball, state transportation officials envision a low-stress network of bicycle routes linking Warrington Road to the Junction and Breakwater Trail near Rehoboth Beach.
With all the studies and major Delaware Department of Transportation road projects taking place in the Cape Region, a Route 1 Low-Stress Bikeways Study has been flying under the radar.
DelDOT had a workshop on the study June 20 at Cape Henlopen High School to discuss updated plans and road projects in the study area, including Plantation Road, Old Landing Road, Miller Road, Route 1 and Munchy Branch Road.
The goal of the study is to improve safety conditions for people who bike in the vicinity of Route 1 and develop a system of low-stress bike and pedestrian pathways linking trails, neighborhoods, shopping areas and safe crossings of Route 1.
Ultimately, the plan is to provide low-stress connections between the Junction and Breakwater Trail to Warrington Road. Leah Kacanda, a consultant with Whitman Requardt & Associates, said with more pathways, fewer cars would have to use the roadways. Currently, there are very few access points for cyclists or pedestrians to reach shopping areas.
Kacanda said the study is aimed at the majority of people who are interested but concerned about cycling in the area. She said this group is often not comfortable with traditional bike lanes and sidewalks, and prefers off-street or separated bike paths or traffic-calmed residential roads. She said this group may not bike at all if facilities do not meet their needs for perceived comfort.
Objectives of the project include: identification of low-stress Route 1 crossings; identification of locations for continuous low-stress bikeway routes on either side of Route 1 that connect to low-stress crossings; and development of recommendations for which segments should be prioritized for design and construction.
Kacanda said a recent public survey showed that a safe crossing at Five Points was the No. 1 priority, followed by Shuttle Road, Miller and Munchy Branch roads, and Phillips Street, all in or near Rehoboth Beach.
In the Five Points area, significant pathway, sidewalk and traffic improvements will be provided as part of three projects: Phase 1 of Plantation Road improvements from Robinsonville Road to Route 9 and Phase 2 completing the improvements to Route 24; realignment of Old Orchard Road at Savannah Road and Wescoats Corner; and Route 1-Minos Conaway Road grade-separated interchange with connections to New Road, all in the Lewes area.
She said operations at the Five Points intersection will be evaluated after the improvements are completed. Additional improvements to the intersection will be planned on that data.
The Minos Conaway-Route 1 project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.
While the workshop focused on improvements in the vicinity of Munchy Branch Road and Miller Road, and a crossing of Route 1, other pending projects were also discussed.
Projects in the area include improvements at the Kings Highway-Dartmouth Drive and Route 1 intersection, and Kings Highway widening from Dartmouth Drive to Freeman Highway; Phase 2 of Plantation Road improvements; Old Landing Road and Warrington Road intersection improvements; Airport Road extension to Route 24 via a new road adjacent to Sterling Crossing and the Beebe Healthcare campus; Phase 2 of the Munchy Branch pathway project; and a possible bike-pedestrian crossing across Route 1 linking Miller and Munchy Branch roads.
Phase 2 of the Munchy Branch Road improvements includes installation of a 3,700-foot, 10-foot-wide concrete shared-use path along the west side of Munchy Branch Road, linking with access to the Wolfe Neck trailhead; additional improvements at the Field Lane intersection; and drainage upgrades. A workshop will take place this summer, with construction starting in fall 2024.
A bike-pedestrian bridge crossing at the Marsh Road-Shady Road intersection near Lewes is under evaluation.
For more information, go to publicinput.com/sr1bikewaystudy, and to make comments via phone, call 855-925-2801 using code 5467. Written comments will be accepted through July 31.