Coming on the heels of the Emerson Bridge project completion in 2022, the City is moving forward with plans to construct two off-road paved trails, one through Kershaw Park and the other through Olan Thomas Park, which will connect the bridge with the Pomeroy Trail. The project began in January 2023 with a meeting of engineering representatives from Pennoni Associates, City staff, and members of BikeNewark to discuss design project issues and parameters, around which Pennoni will design.
This project had long been in BikeNewark’s plans for connecting the bridge, once built, to Curtis Mill Park and then adding wayfinding signage north and east along Old Paper Mill Road to complete the Northeast Bikeway segment of the Newark Bikeways network. This segment will provide lower-stress options for residents in neighborhoods along Old Paper Mill Road to bike in a couple directions, either downtown or to points north and west of Newark.
Along with generous funding from New Castle County, project funding has been earmarked in the City’s 2023 budget.
One could argue that 2022 was a “slower” year for BikeNewark in terms of progress, but there were a lot of positive happenings with which we’ve either advocated for or been directly involved in that have recently come to fruition. Below is a list of our activity during 2022.
Received $625 in funding from the White Clay Bicycle Club to be applied to the Newark Bikeways project.
Witnessed and helped publicize the completion of the Delaware Avenue two-way protected bikeway, the result of a project BikeNewark (in its prior manifestation as the Newark Bicycle Committee) had advocated for in 2014 with partner organizations Bike Delaware, the City of Newark, DelDOT, and the Wilmington Area Planning Council.
Created a new two-page bicycle-safety document, which is both downloadable and available as a handout; it includes a Delaware Avenue bicycle-infrastructure graphic produced by DelDOT, “4 Safety Tips for Bicyclists,” along with ticklers (with QR codes) for a Main Street sharrows video, a Main Street contraflow-lane video, and the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act.
Highlighted National Bike Month in May with our annual Bike to Work Day event on the campus of the University of Delaware, in coordination with UD, DelDOT, Newark Bike Project, and others.
Supported John R. Downes Elementary School for its annual Bike to School Day celebration in May.
Reviewed project proposal options for bicycle improvements along the Wyoming Road corridor as part of the City of Newark’s bicycling Innovative Infrastructure Grant it received from the Delaware Bicycle Council.
Began work with the City of Newark on its renewal applicationfor “Bicycle Friendly Community” status.
Executed an order and paid for wayfinding signage for the South Bikeway and for signage that will complete the Central Loop Bikeway.
Partnered with University of Delaware Police and DelDOT to hold two successful bike-safety events on campus, during which about 40 sets of bike lights were installed, about 15 bike helmets were given and fitted, and bicycle-safety information was distributed.
Partnered with University of Delaware Police and Newark Bike Project in a UD-sponsored event where bicycle-safety information was distributed.
Participated with Newark Bike Project at a Newark Center for Creative Learning fair, where safe-cycling materials were distributed to students and parents.
Organized and held three First Friday Rides community events—slow group rides that are meant to encourage those of all ages to enjoy bicycling and practice good group-riding etiquette.
Supported and participated with Delaware State Parks in trail-etiquette events at White Clay Creek State Park.
Attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony (during which BikeNewark support was cited) for the Charles R. Emerson Pedestrian & Bicycle Bridge over the White Clay Creek, for which we had advocated.
Participated in and hosted a booth at the annual Newark Community Day event.
Increased membership by 52% (added a net of 14 new members) during the calendar year.
Members participated in (and continue on) The Newark Partnership.
A member participated (and continues) on the City of Newark’s Transportation Improvement District Committee.
A member participated (and continues) on the City of Newark’s Conservation Advisory Committee.
On Thursday, November 10, 2022, DelDOT officially opened to bicycle traffic the completed two-way protected bikeway (a.k.a. cycletrack) on Delaware Avenue. Eight days later on November 18, dignitaries came together for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
This brought to a close a nearly $8 million project that was first thought about in the 1990s, included as a recommendation in the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan, and advocated for by BikeNewark’s predecessor entity in 2014.
The primary motivation for such a project was to provide a safe, legal way for bicyclists to move westbound through Newark’s downtown area. Previously, the only legal way for bicyclists to get from Library Avenue or Kirkwood Highway to South Main Street, West Main Street, or New London Road was to use Cleveland Avenue or East Main Street—both higher-stress options for cyclists, even with the recent improvements to those two major streets.
Amenities for bicyclists along Delaware Avenue that were included in this project:
a two-way protected bikeway from Orchard Road to the Pomeroy Trail, separated from the traffic lane by a 3-inch-high beveled concrete barrier
one-way elevated bike paths on either side of the road from the Pomeroy Trail to Library Avenue
separate bicycle-specific traffic signals in both directions
green surface paint through intersections and at conflict points (e.g., driveways)
bike boxes at the eastern and western ends of the project (Delaware Avenue / Library Avenue intersection and the Amstel Avenue / South Main Street intersection)
This completion of this project finishes the final segment of the Central Loop Bikeway, the hub of the Newark Bikeways low-stress bicycle network. Wayfinding signage for the Delaware Avenue portion of the Central Loop will be added in 2023.
Thanks to these partner organizations—Bike Delaware, DelDOT, the City of Newark, and the Wilmington Area Planning Council—for their support and involvement in the conception and construction of this infrastructure, pretty much a unique feature in Delaware.
What began as a dream at a BikeNewark (then Newark Bicycle Committee) meeting in 2014 is finally taking shape as part of DelDOT’s Delaware Avenue pave-and-rehab project. Coming on the heels of the massive Main Street renovation, this project includes a major amenity for bicyclists—a two-way separated bikeway (a.k.a. cycletrack)—on the north side of the road.
These photos, taken on July 27, 2022, show the progress along various sections of this major eastbound route through the heart of Newark.
This new cycletrack feature, which will be a first of its type in Delaware, will enable legal westbound bicycle traffic from the Pomeroy Trail to Orchard Road. Bike traffic on the western end of this project will be shuttled to/from Orchard Road and Amstel Ave. as a continuation to/from South Main Street.
East of the Pomeroy Trail all the way to Library Avenue, there will be one-way raised lanes on either side of Delaware Avenue.
The other notable new feature will be the raised-profile intersection at South College Avenue. This feature will help pedestrians walk across at the sidewalk level, eliminating potential curb missteps and will also act as a traffic-calming aid.
On October 19, DelDOT officially awarded a $7.66 million contract for its Delaware Avenue rehab project, which will include 1) a two-way protected bike-lane configuration (a.k.a. cycletrack) on the north side of the road from Orchard Road to the Pomeroy Trail, 2) one-way separated bike lanes on both sides of the road from the Pomeroy Trail to Library Avenue, and 3) separate signals for bicyclists.
It has been more than seven years since BikeNewark’s previous incarnation (the Newark Bicycle Committee), with encouragement from Bike Delaware’s James Wilson, had agreed during a monthly meeting to press for a cycletrack on Delaware Avenue (see artist’s conception of a potential amenity below).
In 2015, then–UD graduate student Kirsten Jones, who was a member of the then–Newark Bicycle Committee, created an informative ride-along video to illustrate the many reasons why a robust solution to increase safety for bicyclists along Delaware Avenue is needed.
A few of those reasons include…
…vehicles obstructing the current bike lane in preparation of making a right turn onto South College Avenue.
…dangers posed by contraflow (i.e., illegal westbound) cyclists in the eastbound-only bike lane.
…cars parking in the bike lane in front of Newark High School, forcing cyclists to merge into vehicular traffic.
Of course, the DelDOT project is not expected to be completed before 2023, but the awarding of such a large contract is a sign that progress is indeed on the way!