Candidates for City Council Weigh In

As a public service, BikeNewark teamed with Bike Delaware, one of its valued partners, to issue a bicycle-related survey to the candidates for the upcoming Newark City Council election.

Upcoming Vote for City Council graphicAll candidates were given the opportunity to weigh in on five specific position statements and provide any specific comments or elaboration on their positions. The survey items and candidates’ responses follow.

The election for Districts 3, 5, and 6 will be on Tuesday, April 10.

Survey Items

  1. Given the increase in traffic and demand for parking, I believe that the City of Newark should encourage bicycling and walking as viable means of transportation.
  2. I believe that improved infrastructure, better education, and reasonable enforcement will help make our streets, sidewalks, and other shared spaces safer and more comfortable for those who bicycle or walk.
  3. I support the recommendations in the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan.
  4. I support greater effort by the City to make Newark more bikeable by increasing “low-stress” (i.e., safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities) bicycle connectivity among and within the main areas of Newark, the University of Delaware, and outlying neighborhoods.
  5. I support making South College Avenue—the key connection from UD’s STAR Campus and future train station to Downtown Newark—safe and comfortable for all modes of transportation.

Candidates’ Responses

Richard Nietubicz (District 3)

Answer 1: Strongly Agree
Answer 2: Strongly Agree
Answer 3: Strongly Agree
Answer 4: Strongly Agree
Answer 5: Strongly Agree

Comment:

Cycling is an important mode of transportation for my wife and I around Newark. In fact, I was a full-time cycle commuter during my time working for the City, and we continue to bike or walk to destinations around town whenever we can. Newark’s compact and mixed-use development patterns are very well suited to walking and biking, and the City has made great strides toward building complete streets that accommodate all modes of transportation. We can, of course, always make more improvements, especially where we can leverage traditional transportation improvement projects to provide significant additional utility at minimal cost. I’m looking forward to implementing more cost-effective improvements so that Newark’s transportation network is inclusive and efficient for all users.

Jennifer Wallace (District 3)

Answer 1: Strongly Agree
Answer 2: Strongly Agree
Answer 3: Strongly Agree
Answer 4: Strongly Agree
Answer 5: Strongly Agree

Comment: [none given]

Neel Barua (District 5)

Answer 1: Agree
Answer 2: Agree
Answer 3: Neither Agree or Disagree
Answer 4: Agree
Answer 5: Strongly Agree

Comment:

In regards to question #3, I have only briefly skimmed over the plan. I did not want to answer without reading through the details first.

Jason Lawhorn (District 5)

Answer 1: Strongly Agree
Answer 2: Strongly Agree
Answer 3: Strongly Agree
Answer 4: Strongly Agree
Answer 5: Strongly Agree

Comment:

I had not seen the 2014 Newark Bicycle prior to today. I have read through a good portion of it and plan to complete it. As a biker myself, I am familiar with some of the improvements that have been made since this document was published. I was knocking doors in Fairfield Crest this past weekend and the Pomeroy connector trail was brought up more than any other issue with the shopping center being the only other issue close in count.

Biking has always been a part of my life and is an easy and fun way to work exercise into our children’s lives as well as adults. My feeling has always been that the lack of safe passage was the biggest deterrent and the data in the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan seems to prove that. Newark and surrounding areas does have many safe and enjoyable routes and the plans to connect those is exciting to me. Some listed in the plan, I am familiar with and others I am eager to follow up on.

I also want to talk to members of Bike Delaware about the overall progress on completing the recommendations in this report. I am particularly interested in the inclusion of biking friendly development in the cities planning process. As you may know the University of Delaware plans to add thousands of students over the next 5-10 years. This presents the city with development challenges and biking, in my opinion, can be part of the solution. None of our residents want to see increased automobile traffic and smart development including designs that promote walking and biking will be crucial to successfully accommodating the cities growth.

As I touched on earlier biking is also an easy and quick way to have a fun healthy family experience with no planning other than grabbing the bikes out of the shed or garage and shoving off for a ride. Creating enjoyable and safe routes promotes this behavior and is a smart way to maintain and improve the unique advantages that Newark provides to bikers.

I am interested in talking to someone about some of the progress that has been made and any barriers that are preventing progress since the plan was published. Mark Deshon is in my district and I talked to him recently. I will follow up with him.

Lena Thayer (District 5)

Answer 1: Strongly Agree
Answer 2: Strongly Agree
Answer 3: Agree
Answer 4: Strongly Agree
Answer 5: Strongly Agree

Comment:

Overall, I believe that making Downtown Newark and the surrounding area safer for both pedestrians and bicyclists will not only decrease some of the traffic and parking issues we experience, but also help Newark to be more green efficient. Being a community that embraces other forms of transportation only increases our culture and viability of being a safe and welcoming community.  I did mark agree for the 2014 plan as we are now in 2018; so I would like to dig deeper into what is left to be done in order to accomplish the goals set out in that plan.

Stuart Markham Jr. (District 6 – unopposed)

Answer 1: Strongly Agree
Answer 2: Strongly Agree
Answer 3: Agree
Answer 4: Strongly Agree
Answer 5: Agree

Comment: [none given]

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BikeNewark hosts its initial Community Night

graphic for 2017 BikeNewark Community NightOn Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 7–9 p.m., BikeNewark will be hosting its initial Community Night. This will be an open house–type gathering held at the Newark Bike Project, 136 South Main Street, in Newark.

Come out and learn more about BikeNewark—the work we’ve been doing and the work ahead of us—and how you can become involved in “moving bicycling forward in Newark, Delaware.” Come and go as you please, meet and talk with members and partner liaisons, grab a bite to eat, sign up to volunteer, give us your suggestions, and maybe support our advocacy efforts monetarily.

Can’t make it in person but would like to show your support for BikeNewark? If you’re interested in helping by making a tax-deductible donation to help improve bicycling in Newark, Del., you can either use Pay Pal (click button below) or mail a check (payable to “BikeNewark”) to:

BikeNewark
75 West Mill Station Drive
Newark, DE 19711

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Newark’s New Contraflow Bike Lane

photo of contraflow laneThe City of Newark has a new feature on East Main Street for bicyclists—a pocket contraflow bike lane. Unique in Delaware, this trial project was a result of a partnership among BikeNewark, the City of Newark, the University of Delaware (UD), and the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT).

DelDOT completed the work of striping and signing this contraflow lane in July, and, now that UD students are back on campus, the lane will get its first big test. BikeNewark created an educational video and a one-page flyer to help show how this contraflow bike lane can be used safely and legally.

BikeNewark will be evaluating the success of this trial project, which will run through the 2017-18 academic year.

Download the flyer (PDF).

 

National Bike Month Local Events

League of American Bicyclists National Bike Month logoMay is National Bike Month. BikeNewark is involved in several events to help celebrate Bike Month locally. Take a look at the following events and see how you can participate and show your support for bicycling in Newark.

May 1–5
UD Bike Days events occur all week, as a partnership with UD’s Student Government Association.

May 3
The second spring Bike Central on The Green will be held from 1:00–3:00 p.m.

May 5
This month’s First Friday Ride will be a critical mass event in conjunction with UD Bike Days. Gather on The Green at Delaware Avenue at 5:15 p.m.

May 8
City Council reads resolution proclaiming National Bike Month in Newark during its event meeting.

May 8–12
Bike to School Week at John R. Downes School will encourage bicycle participation and emphasize bicycle safety throughout the week.

May 19
Newark celebrates National Bike to Work Day at Mentors’ Circle on the UD campus from 7:30–9:00 a.m.

Event Sponsors

BikeNewark thanks Bike Month event sponsors:

  • Bagelmania
  • Barnes & Noble UD Bookstore
  • Bike Line
  • DelDOT
  • Fusion Fitness
  • Lieberman’s
  • Main Street Movies
  • Newark Deli and Bagels
  • Saxby’s
  • The Ski Bum
  • UD College of Health Sciences – STAR Health
  • WILMAPCO
  • Wooden Wheels

In addition to the above local events, check out the following:

May 4
The annual Walkable Bikeable Delaware Summit will take place all day in Dover.

May 10
The annual Delaware Legislators Ride—a 58-mile ride from Pike Creek Valley that will end on the Legislative Mall in Dover—will be led by Newark’s own Sen. Dave Sokola beginning at 7 a.m.

May 17
The annual memorial Ride of Silence will take place in Wilmington at 7:00 p.m., hosted by the White Clay Bicycle Club and Bike Wilmington.

May 19
Wilmington will hold its Bike to Work Day festivities downtown at H.B. du Pont plaza from 8:00-9:30 a.m.

May 19–21
Bike Month will again see the three-day event known as the Wilmington Grand Prix, which features the Monkey Hill Time Trial, Criterium Races & Festival, and the Governor’s Ride and Gran Fondo.

Community Feedback Needed

illustration of pencil and paperBikeNewark would like to get some feedback from the community on a few items. This is an opportunity for you to do your part to help advance bicycling in Newark.

First, BikeNewark is supporting the City of Newark with its application for a Places for Bikes grant, a PeopleForBikes program. It involves sort of an information crowd-sourcing effort. Please take about 10 minutes and rate bicycling in Newark.

Second, BikeNewark is in need of a Secretary, a BikeNewark volunteer Board position. We are looking for an organized, detail-oriented individual who is enthusiastic about biking and community development. The time commitment is roughly a few hours a month (see full position description). Contact BikeNewark if interested.

Third, the State of Delaware and other organizations are working on a bicycle policy plan to support the development of a safe, connected, and equitable network of bicycle facilities throughout the state! Your input will help planners better understand where people want to bike as well as problematic locations and corridors for people trying to bike. Your responses to the Blueprint for a Bicycle-Friendly Delaware–A Statewide Policy Plan survey will help DelDOT set priorities for this plan.

Last, but not least, whether you walk your dog on trails each day, or would like to find an off-road option for commuting to work or going shopping, you are an important part of the trail-development process in northern Delaware. Delaware Greenways wants your ideas and suggestions for developing trails and pathways that will serve your needs and will become a valuable resource to your community.

Thanks, bicycling community!