Sidewalk proposed for Robinson Drive near Rehoboth

Street’s residents recognize need for safe pedestrian travel on busy road
September 22, 2017

Story Location:
Robinson Drive
Rehoboth  Delaware  19971
United States

Robinson Drive runs from Just in Thyme on Route 1’s Forgotten Mile to Silver Lake Drive, just outside of Rehoboth. Recently it has become something it wasn’t intended to be – a cut through to Rehoboth from Route 1.

To that end, the Delaware Department of Transportation hosted a workshop Sept. 20 in the Rehoboth Public Library to gather comments on a proposed sidewalk for Robinson Drive.

Jason McCluskey, maintenance engineer with DelDOT’s South District, was one of half a dozen DelDOT employees on hand at the workshop. He said the plans call for a five-foot-wide sidewalk that runs along the north side of Robinson Drive, about 1,600 feet.

“Basically, the idea is to give people a sidewalk so they don’t have to be in the street,” said McCluskey, adding the north side was chosen because it provides better connectivity to adjacent sidewalks at intersections, and there is less drainage work needed.

To a person, attendees of the workshop recognized the continued growth in cut-through traffic – vehicle, pedal-powered and pedestrian – over the past few years. They also recognized the safety issues that traffic brings.

It’s how those safety concerns are addressed that brought disagreement.

Maria O’Shea owns a house on the corner of Robinson Drive and Blackstone Avenue. She said a lot of landscaping along the southern edge of her property would be affected by the sidewalk. She also said sidewalk would reduce available parking.

“It is all about the safety of the road,” said O’Shea, “but I don’t know if this is the only way to do it. I’d just like to explore all options.”

Beth Wilson lives on the exact other end of Robinson Drive from O’Shea. Having lived on the street since 1988, she said she’s seen the conditions of Robinson Drive get more dangerous over the years. She blamed much of the deteriorating road conditions to a change allowing commercial trucks to use the bridge on Silver Lake Drive.

“I know when it’s 7 a.m. because I can hear the trucks driving by,” she said. “Thank goodness we haven’t had a fatality.”

As for property owners who have grown accustomed to having the state’s right-of-way as part of their property, Wilson doesn’t have much sympathy.

“It’s all about public safety,” she said.

Pam Cranston and Sandy Neverett live near Robinson Drive and use the street all the time to get into Rehoboth.

Changes need to be made, said Cranston. “It’s crazy. I’m really happy to know something like this is in the works,” she said.

Cranston said the plans do not show something she would like to see: bike lanes.

McCluskey said Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, and Speaker of the House Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth, asked state transportation engineers to work up a proposal for constituents to look at and discuss. He said if there was general consensus on the project, it could be added to DelDOT’s Capital Transportation Program.

“There is no funding for this project yet,” said McCluskey.

Lopez said everybody at some point realizes some safety measures have to be taken on Robinson Drive. He said there are the familiar pedestrian concerns, but he said also brought up were concerns about how to slow vehicles down. He said traffic enforcement, speed bumps and solar-powered signs that blink were traffic-calming measures people suggested.

“The speed of vehicles was something that hadn’t really come up before,” he said.

For further information on the project, contact DelDOT Community Relations at 1-800-652-5600 or 302-760-2080. Comments can be mailed to DelDOT Community Relations, P.O. Box 778, Dover, DE 19903.