Possible changes coming to Atlantic Drive in Lewes

Homeowners tired of speeders using as shortcut
September 18, 2019

Story Location:
Atlantic Drive
Lewes  Delaware  19958
United States

Henlopen Gardens residents are tired of drivers speeding through their community to get from Kings Highway to Savannah Road.

Located just east of Cape Henlopen High School, residents often see drivers seek an alternate route when the roads back up. They reached out to city officials to fix the problem, which dates back to when the community was built in the late 1980s.

The plan is to paint lines on Atlantic Drive, which is city-owned. Deputy Mayor Fred Beaufait, chair of the traffic safety committee, said travel lanes would be 10 feet wide, leaving shoulders about eight feet in the single-family home portion and four feet in the condo section. The city is also planning to add rumble strips to the outside of the lanes.

The traffic committee engaged the University of Delaware Center for Transportation to review its options for the street. Residents sought to lower the speed limit from 25 mph to 15 mph, but the UD consultant said the drivers would not obey it unless there was a police presence to enforce it.

To gather data, the city placed a portable radar sign on Atlantic Drive. For one week, the drivers’ speed flashed as they approached. Another week, the monitor was turned off, but still recorded speed.

What it found, Beaufait said, is that most people drive at, below or within a few mph of the speed limit. But there are some drivers who seriously exceed the limit.

“That happens on almost every street we’ve done a traffic study,” he said.

City Manager Ann Marie Townshend said most of the work can be done by the city’s streets department, so the cost should be minimal. The unknown expense is the rumble strips. Rather than disturb the pavement, the city is exploring rumble strips that can be glued to the pavement about four feet apart. If they become a problem, they can be easily removed.

The city also plans to add signs at each entrance restricting access for large trucks.

Townshend will send the plan to the city engineer for analysis. If the projected cost is higher than expected, Townshend will bring it back to council for further consideration. 

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