Bicyclists will still have to use a certain amount of caution, but making a left turn from Rehoboth Avenue Extended onto Church Street has gotten a little easier. The Delaware Department of Transportation painted a bike box at the congested intersection west of downtown Rehoboth Beach during the week of June 14.
In an email June 17, Kathryn Beasley, DelDOT spokesperson, said the road-sign-green bike box was done in conjunction with the recently completed section of the Junction & Breakwater Trail connecting Rehoboth Avenue Extended and Canal Crossing Road. Bike boxes allow bicyclists who want to turn left to move to the front of queuing traffic at the signal so they can safely make left turns, she said.
Beasley said there are already bike boxes in Wilmington and Dewey Beach. However, those are smaller, she said.
“This is the largest by far,” said Beasley, of the new bike box.
The green paint certainly catches the attention of passersby, but Beasley said it’s not extra reflective. There is just a lot of it and the green may enhance that reflective effect, she said.
Overall, the trail connection project included a 10-foot-wide asphalt trail through private property and the development of a two-way buffered bicycle lane along Rehoboth Avenue Extended to Grove Park, within the city. The work also included paving, concrete sidewalk, signage, striping, site amenities and fencing. Prior to the new portion’s completion, trail users had to go to the Church Street intersection to stay on the trail.
Rehoboth in charge of trail extension maintenance
The new section of trail is outside city limits, but during a commissioner meeting June 18, Rehoboth Beach City Manager Sharon Lynn said the city would be performing its day-to-day maintenance. She said former Mayor Paul Kuhns signed an agreement, that goes into perpetuity, with DelDOT in August 2020.
The agreement would have been one of Kuhns’ last acts as mayor. According to Lynn, Kuhns signed the document Aug. 20. By that point, he had lost to current Mayor Stan Mills in the city’s 2020 election.
The city has already placed two Bigbelly solar-powered, trash-compacting containers along the trail.
Following the meeting, Lynn said Kuhns agreed to the maintenance because it’s easier for the city to do it than DelDOT. The city is not getting anything in return, she said.
Mills said he didn’t have a strong opinion on Kuhns’ decision to make the city responsible for maintaining the trail section. However, he said, he probably would have brought it forward for a public discussion.
Beasley said it is not uncommon for DelDOT to enter a maintenance agreement with outside agencies. DelDOT has similar agreements with Lewes, Georgetown and New Castle County for trail maintenance, she said in a follow-up email June 22.
Trail extension ribbon cutting
DelDOT announced June 23 it will host a ribbon cutting for the new trail extension at 10 a.m., Friday, June 25. This event had been previously scheduled, but was postponed due to weather.
DelDOT to host bike safety checkpoints
The Delaware Department of Transportation and Delaware State Police announced June 22 they will be hosting two bicycle safety checkpoints in Rehoboth: from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, June 24, and 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, July 1.
The checkpoints will be located on Route 1 southbound near the Nike Outlet and on Route 1 northbound at the Royal Farms on Holland Glade Road.
Both events are free and will include basic bike repairs, tire pressure checks, and seat and handlebar adjustments. DelDOT bicycle mechanics will be on hand to perform major repairs if necessary and to install bicycle lights for those who need them. Bicycle helmets will also be available. Repairs, lights, and helmets are free of charge.
All 2020 DelDOT bicycle safety checkpoints were canceled due to COVID-19. Bicycle safety laws are strictly enforced in Delaware. For more information, go to deldot.gov/Programs/bike.