Frequent visitor offers Route One suggestions
I have rented a house in Rehoboth for the summer and have followed the news articles and letters regarding the traffic, the accidents, the fatalities, the drunk pedestrians and especially the bicycle issues on Route One. I have owned several summer homes here since the mid 90s and the same problems seem to have been around at least since then.
The original widening of Route One along with more limited left turn lanes and addition of bus lanes done some years ago helped a lot. While long range major plans (and major costs) are being discussed I see some low tech solutions worth proposing:
(1) Rehoboth, Dewey and Lewes could easily coordinate having all bicycles (fancy or junky) used on public roadways or right of ways be licensed and equipped with flashing lights front and rear and brake lights all with self generated power. License renewed annually. Police empowered to stop any bicycle day or night to inspect. Cities could sell the lights and lighting equipment, which is not expensive.
(2) Install markers on current painted line between driving and bus/bike lane where feasible; a rubber four or five inches that folds down if a car hits as is used to control traffic lanes in many cities. This would be a visual reminder to all drivers and bicycles. Equip with reflectors. Those markers may also stop drivers entering from side streets who use bus/bike lanes as merge lanes. At major busy signaled intersections where accidents with bikes, cars and walkers are shown to statistically have happened often put in effect "no turn on red" signage.
(3) No bicycles on roadways after some defined time i.e. 10 p.m. Put bike racks on front of all buses to encourage bike usage. This curfew would be hard on service workers thus controversial, but some ideas need to be put forth to get the mix off the road later/late at night of tired service workers on bikes and drivers who have been drinking. Perhaps there could be a van/ taxis service supplemented by cities or businesses to take service workers and their bikes home in the later hours.
Could walkers also be curfewed on Route One? Could a completed sidewalk system on Route One and Rehoboth Avenue be done quickly where now there is just grass? Forget widening sidewalks in short term to eight feet or whatever I have seen suggested which is a typical long-range go-nowhere-fast government project. Allow (per signage) bicycles on these new sidewalks of the narrow strips of Rehoboth Avenue.
5) Some sort of fencing down grass medians on Route One so walkers and bicyclists can not cross between lights/crosswalks. It could be temporary snow fencing type removed off season. Many cities have permanent decorative type median fencing to hinder pedestrians from crossing mid-block.
(6) Just as Rehoboth has effective red light cameras for cars at intersections (I am the recipient of a $112 ticket) could the cameras also be used for catching bicyclists who to everyone's frustration go through red lights, ride against traffic, ride on sidewalks, etc. Also could catch pedestrians running across traffic? My picture/ticket showed my car as a small object yet enlarged my license tag to easily identify the numbers so bicycle license plates could too perhaps show up as well?
(7) Ideas to further slow traffic down have already gotten responses along the lines of hurting Rehoboth business and certainly that is true. Car traffic per se does not seem to be an issue except in the classic complaint sense. Bicycles and cars mixed on a six-lane roadway plus wandering pedestrians seem to be the immediate problem, especially with serious or fatal consequences. Keep the traffic flowing - its slow enough in season. Work on the other issues endangering people and property.
(8) Of course it is crazy to have a long completed six-lane roadway without major overhead lighting in place from the south end of Dewey to at least Five Points but... Funding arguments, what section is done first, business interruptions, more arguments and funding again make simpler solutions worth exploring which could be in place by next season. As a long time lover of all things Rehoboth, these are my ideas.
Ft Lauderdale, Fla.
Mt Dora, Fla.