Citizen activism gets the job done
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead, American scientist
Ray Quillen rides his bicycle a lot. He likes getting outside, understands the importance of exercise, and appreciates the camaraderie that comes from riding with others. Like most sensible people, Ray also enjoys his riding more when he feels safe doing it.
But that’s not how Ray feels when he has to cross busy Route 1 to make his way from the Red Mill Pond neighborhood where he lives to New Road, which he rides into Lewes.
With few shoulders, New Road is no safety picnic, but it’s also not the Russian roulette experience crossing Route 1 on a bicycle presents.
The Lewes-to-Georgetown rail-with-trail project will eventually provide a constructed trail passing beneath the Nassau overpass. That will provide a safe bicycle route from Minos Conaway Road to Nassau. But that’s years away.
Not one to sit back and wring his hands, Ray decided a makeshift trail following state rights-of-way could be cleared in the meantime. He contacted local elected and transportation officials and worked with a local lawn contractor. All agreed on a proper route.
Now it’s in place and is already providing safe passage. Yes, it’s a little rough, but who wouldn’t trade a little rough for safety?
Ray and all concerned deserve the community’s thanks for taking a proactive, economical and common-sense approach to this problem.
On another safety front, it’s time for some entity to prepare signs for the ends of the Cape Henlopen State Park and Junction and Breakwater trails advising walkers and cyclists of the safest routes into and out of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.
The most glaring need is at the Lewes end of the Junction and Breakwater Trail, where unfamiliar cyclists need instructions to keep them on the trail leading to Freeman Highway and Cape Henlopen High School for their entry into town and to avoid the dangerous Gills Neck Road route along the canal.