Exercise in Newark while social distancing

Check out Newark’s low-stress Central Loop Bikeway.

photo of bicyclists on Central Loop (Pomeroy Trail)Feeling restless at home? Want to get some outdoor exercise at appropriate social distances? Consider dusting off that bike in your garage and heading out along Newark’s recently signed Central Loop Bikeway*.

Wayfinding signage was introduced along this bikeway last fall as phase 1 of a multi-year project to develop a connected network of paved roads and trails in Newark, which is designed to encourage use of low-traffic, low-stress streets and off-road multiple-use pathways (like the popular James F. Hall Trail) by bicyclists of all ages.

photo of bicyclist reading wayfinding signage on Hall TrailBikeNewark has been and is working with the City of Newark’s Department of Public Works & Water Resources staff as well as its Department of Parks & Recreation to plan a network of eight bikeways. These will enable low-stress connections to in-city destinations and trails outside of Newark (such as those in White Clay Creek State Park). BikeNewark plans for its phase 2 signs to be implemented this year, comprising three new bikeways. See Bikeways plan (PDF).

photo of wayfinding signage on Orchard Rd. northbound at Winslow Rd.Newark Bikeways will also serve as the way through Newark for the East Coast Greenway (“ECG” on the signs), a designated bicycle corridor from Maine to Florida.

Local or visiting cyclists will be able to use the Newark Bikeways system as a way to travel around Newark for shopping, work, or recreation. Bicycle-specific signs designed by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are placed to guide them along the mix of paved off-road trails and city streets. DelDOT generously contributed the cost of the Central Loop Bikeway signs.

Phase 2 signage is being made possible through proceeds from last September’s Community Fun Ride as well as generous contributions from former Newark Mayor (and BikeNewark member) Polly Sierer and the White Clay Bicycle Club.

BikeNewark is helping raise funds to cover costs of signage for the additional four planned Bikeways routes (phase 3). If you’re interested in helping fund this project, see BikeNewark.org/donate.

The nonprofit BikeNewark is a partnership of interested cyclists and organizations working to improve bicycling in Newark, Delaware, and a founding member of The Newark Partnership.


graphic of Central Loop Bikeway
Central Loop Bikeway

*Note: The Central Loop includes a portion of Delaware Avenue, which we understand can’t be considered “low stress” at this time and can only legally be ridden by bicycle eastbound. When DelDOT’s next major work project in Newark is complete, Delaware Avenue will feature a two-way protected bikeway, which will make the Central Loop completely low stress in both directions.

Accomplishments in 2019

Delaware Greenways logo2019 was another busy year for BikeNewark. Following up on its successful endeavors in 2018, there were many opportunities for interacting with the public and working with our partner organizations. In fact, by the close of the calendar year we had formalized a partner relationship with Delaware Greenways—our seventh and newest partner. This first article of the new decade summarizes the various ways we contributed toward Moving Bicycling Forward in Newark, Delaware, last year. We hope you’ll consider supporting BikeNewark this year as we continue working for the good of the community.

OK, here’s the summary.

With respect to its core mission of bicycle-advocacy work, BikeNewark:

photo of “Central Loop” sign

  • Continued to consult with and provide input to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson on the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bike-lane project, as engineering plans were finalized.
  • Completed wayfinding signage design work and oversaw production and application of signage, in coordination with the City of Newark and DelDOT, on “phase 1”—the Central Loop Bikeway—of the developing of the low-stress bicycle network—“Newark Bikeways.”
  • Began and completed wayfinding signage design work on “phase 2” of the Newark Bikeways project, which includes a North Bikeway, Northwest Bikeway, and West Bikeway.
  • Formally added Delaware Greenways among its official partner organizations.
  • Advocated on behalf of the bicycling community at various City Council meetings, including supporting 1) the Emerson Bridge (over White Clay Creek) project and 2) the preservation of the bike lane on Delaware Avenue during DelDOT’s Main Street construction project.
  • Submitted two New Castle County Bicycle Plan “priority project” proposals for funding consideration—Newark Bikeways development and protected bike lanes along Wyoming Road.

photo of Christine Schultz and Matt Kinservik and others arrivingBikeNewark-organized and/or -supported events held during 2019 included

  • The annual Bike to Work Day event (co-organized with the City of Newark) on the University of Delaware campus on May 17. More than 80 participants came to the event, which was sponsored by Bloom Energy and four in-kind contributing organizations. The event featured coordinated rides to the venue, free breakfast, speakers from the University of Delaware community and city and state government, the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award presentation, and random prizes (including a Trek hybrid bike).
  • Community Fun Ride logoA weeklong series of events called “Community Bike Days” from Sept. 3–7, culminating in a Saturday morning Community Fun Ride comprising a 2.25-mile “Family Fun Ride” and a 8.25-mile “Newark Loop Ride.” This signature ride event included 97 participants and raised more than $4,000 from sponsorships, which will be used to improve bicycling in Newark. The weeklong series included 17 in-kind contributing organizations.
  • Two Community Nights—June 22 at Handloff Park and October 26 at Wooden Wheels—to familiarize the public with BikeNewark and highlight its ongoing projects. Each included free food and drink.
  • Two Bike Central events in cooperation with the University of Delaware, Newark Bike Project, and DelDOT, one in the spring and one in the fall. The fall event was particularly successful, during which more than 20 sets of lights were installed and 5 helmets were given out free of charge.
  • Nine First Friday Ride events (March through November). These social slow rides through Newark averaged about 15 participants.

4 bike safety tips in Mandarin ChineseOur public service work involved:

  • Executing and posting results of a City Council and Mayoral candidates survey in advance of the April municipal election.
  • Redistribution of bike-safety flyers in four non-English languages—Spanish, French, Chinese, and Arabic—to the English Language Institute. These were based on the “4 Safety Tips for Bicyclists” cards that had been printed in English in 2018 for use by partner organizations.
  • Volunteering at and helping sponsor the Walkable/Bikeable Delaware Summit in May, which was organized by Bike Delaware, one of BikeNewark’s partners.
  • Hosting an information table during Newark Community Day (September 15).
  • Developing a budding relationship with The Newark Partnership.
  • Participating on the city’s new Transportation Improvement District (TID) committee.

Urgent support needed for bridge project

City Council meeting this Monday, July 8, at 7 p.m.

engineering artist's rendering of Emerson BridgeThe White Clay Creek/Emerson Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Cost Estimate and Funding is on the agenda for the Monday, July 8, Newark City Council meeting. The Emerson Bridge will be located over the White Clay Creek immediately west of the existing Paper Mill Road vehicular bridge (see figure above).

The meeting will be held at the City of Newark Municipal Building, 220 South Main Street and the will begin at 7:00 p.m. Along with Council voting on allocating additional funding for the project, there will also be discussion on potential cost saving measures that was a part of value engineering completed for the project. One of the potential cost saving initiatives includes a reduction in the width of the proposed 194 ft.-long structure from 12 ft. to 10 ft. for a $60,000 savings. Attached is informational material on the project that was included in a public workshop that was held in April.

This will likely be the last time you will be able to comment on the bridge project with City Council.

Newark Bikeways map detail showing Bridge project and proposed conduit trailNote: The current plans contain no physical connector to the Pomeroy Trail, which is part of our proposed Newark Bikeways low-stress network; however, we’re told it is included in the city’s 2021 Capital Improvement Project budget. We’d also like your support for voicing the need for associated funding for this paved off-road conduit from the Pomeroy Trail to the bridge approach pathway (see figure), so that low-stress connections can be made to the Newark Reservoir and trails beyond.

Accomplishments in 2018

2018 proved a challenging year for BikeNewark, as a number of issues began to compete for our attention. Though we know that there is so much more work ahead, there were a lot of things we accomplished last year with our partners’ support.

Let’s take a look at what we did.

Bicycle-advocacy work involved

  • consulting with and providing input to Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson on the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bike-lane project.
  • further refining Newark low-stress bicycle network concept and map in advance of initial production and application of signage on a “Central Loop.”
  • several members attending a series of UD-led Newark Futures workshops.
  • presence on behalf of the bicycling community at various City Council and city Traffic Committee meetings.

In terms of helping the City of Newark promote itself nationally, BikeNewark

  • Bronze seal art from the LAB for Bicycle Friendly Communitysubmitted LAB Bicycle Friendly Community application on behalf of the City of Newark. Newark received its third consecutive bronze-level designation, this time for 2018-2022.
  • submitted Places for Bikes application on behalf of the City of Newark. According to the data gathered by People For Bikes, Newark ranked 39th overall nationwide and 7th among cities with a population of 100,000 or less in terms of bikeability.

BikeNewark-organized or -supported events held during 2018 included

  • photo of 2018 Bike to Work Day participants (photo by Kathy Atkinson, courtesy of UD)the annual Bike to Work Day on University of Delaware campus on May 21 (successfully rescheduled due to poor weather). Keynote speaker was New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. More than 70 participants came to the event, which was supported by 6 corporate sponsors. During the event, the annual Bicycle Friendly Community Leader Award was presented, and a Trek hybrid bicycle was given out as a random prize.
  • nine First Friday Rides (January and March events were cancelled due to poor weather). These social slow rides through Newark averaged about 25 participants.
  • two Newark Historical Buildings Bicycle Tours in the fall, in cooperation with Newark Bike Project. Each event drew between 10-20 participants.
  • photo of bike lights night volunteers and customera Bike Lights Night event on October 25 at the corner of North College Avenue and Main Street, during which 25 sets of lights, courtesy of UD, were installed free of charge.
  • four Bike Centrals in cooperation with the University of Delaware, Newark Bike Project, and DelDOT:
    • Spring event, during which 10 sets of bike lights were installed free of charge.
    • August 25, in coordination with UD’s 1743 Welcome Days, during which 6 sets of lights were installed free of charge.
    • September 12, during which 20 sets of lights were installed and 6 helmets were given out free of charge.
    • October 25, during which about 20 sets of lights were installed free of charge.
  • two BikeNewark Community Nights—June 21 at Handloff Park and October 26 at Wooden Wheels, attended by 31 and 50 participants, respectively.
  • the annual Mayor’s Fun Ride on June 2, which was a big success in terms of funding raised for bicycle-related projects.

4 bike safety tips in Mandarin ChineseOur public service involvement included

  • distributing bike-safety flyers in four languages—English, Spanish, Chinese, and French—to the English Language Institute. These were based on the “4 Safety Tips for Bicyclists” cards that were printed in January 2018 for use by partner organizations.
  • executing and posting results of a City Council candidates survey in advance of the April municipal election.
  • volunteering at the Walkable/Bikeable Delaware Summit in May, which was organized by Bike Delaware, one of BikeNewark’s partners.
  • hosting an information table during Newark Community Day (September 16).

Accomplishments in 2017

BikeNewark has been incredibly active this past year. It all began with redefining ourselves and becoming an official Delaware nonprofit corporation. Take a look at some of what we’ve done in 2017:

  • photo of BikeNewark chair Mark Deshon with grant check from White Clay Bicycle ClubThanks in large part to the efforts of our ad hoc organizational committee and a generous grant from the White Clay Bicycle Club, the partnership formerly known as the Newark Bicycle Committee became BikeNewark—a Delaware nonprofit corporation dedicated to local bicycle advocacy. BikeNewark.org was launched, as were our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • Participated on engineering-related committee with regard to the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bikeway project (a.k.a. “cycletrack”), scheduled for completion by summer 2019.
  • Advocated for green-backed sharrows to be added on both lanes of Main Street between the Pomeroy Trail and the Deer Park as part of the Main Street pave and rehab project, scheduled for completion sometime in 2019.
  • Supported recommendations of the Cleveland Avenue improvements Task Force before City Council, which it unanimously voted to approve on Aug. 14; scheduled for completion by 2021. A parking restriction and pedestrian scramble have already been implemented.
  • photo of BikeNewark members installing bike lights on a student's bike at nightIn conjunction with DelDOT, WILMAPCO, Newark Bike Project, and UD, we held several bike safety–related events primarily aimed at students (“Bike Central” and “Bike Lights on Demand”), during which bike lights were installed, bikes registered, and safety information distributed.
  • ON ROADS? obey signs and signalsSuccessfully executed a bicycle “civility” campaign with message posters designed by UD design students and co-organized UD Bike Days with the UD Student Government Association in cooperation with the City of Newark.
  • Helped organize the third annual Mayor’s Fun Ride and Newark’s annual Bike to Work Day event, both held in May each year.
  • Helped organize Bike to School Week at John R. Downes Elementary School, including a pop-up buffered bike lane demonstration, bike trains on the initial day, and a user-experience survey. Also involved in discussions related to the school’s Safe Routes to School grant.
  • Worked with DelDOT and the City of Newark to initiate a trial contraflow lane and related infrastructure on Main Street between North College Avenue and South College Avenue. Produced an educational video (see below) and related educational flyer showing how to properly use this new amenity. Performed post-installation data gathering.
  • With help from a new citizens’ group and the City of Newark, co-organized the implementation of a two-week pop-up mini-circle demonstration at the intersection of Orchard Road and Winslow Road to help show the positive effects of slowing while not stopping traffic at this and similar intersections.
  • diagram on satellite photo showing proposed trail connectorSupported two of the City’s Department of Parks & Recreation projects at City Council—2018 completion of the “Pomeroy Connector” trail between Creek Road and Fairfield Crest and the longer-range bike-ped Charlie Emerson Bridge to be built over White Clay Creek.
  • Organized monthly First Friday Rides in downtown Newark to combine the encouragement of bicycling downtown (especially on Main Street) with a social agenda. Co-organized a Newark Historical Buildings Bike Tour with the Newark Bike Project.
  • card art: 4 safety tips for bicyclists in NewarkPartnered with UD Police Department to design safety cards for bicyclists and pedestrians.
  • On behalf of the City of Newark, began working on Bicycle Friendly Community application to the League of American Bicyclists. The goal is for Newark to become the first city in the state to achieve “Silver” status.

We look ahead to 2018 and working toward achieving our stated goals as well as continuing with many of the above-noted activities. Want to help support BikeNewark? Get involved or support our efforts monetarily.