Accomplishments in 2021

photo of beginning of bike lane buffer on Casho Mill Road

It’s been a relatively busy year for us, particularly in the advocacy department. Here’s a brief look at what we accomplished this year. As always, we would very much appreciate your support. Certainly, some of the things you’re seeing now in and around Newark would not have happened without our advocacy, and certainly not without the help of our partner organizations.

  • Surveyed candidates for the April City Council election as a public service.
photo of signs at the beginning of the Northwest Bikeway
  • Completed wayfinding signage production for “phase 2” of the Newark Bikeways low-stress network project, and the City of Newark ordered the signage for the North, Northwest, and West Bikeway segments.

  • Received a $2,500 Delaware Greenways’ Future Trails of Northern Delaware Coalition trail amenities grant, which defrayed most of the cost of the aforementioned signs. With BikeNewark’s assistance, the City installed the signage on the North and Northwest Bikeways.

  • Received $625 in funding from the White Clay Bicycle Club in May to be applied to the Newark Bikeways project.

  • Highlighted National Bike Month in May with an encouragement blitz, which included a photo contest, a weekly area-bike-ride suggestion via social media, and a “pop-up” in-person event with T-shirt giveaway.

  • Participated in a University of Delaware Police–organized safety event on campus in May by handing out bike safety–related information.

  • Partnered with Delaware State Parks and Wilmington Trail Club to plan, create, and install wayfinding signage for the Christina Valley Stream Trail.

  • Advocated successfully to the state legislature to support a bill to eliminate the sunset clause on the “Delaware Yield”–provision portion of the 2017 Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act.

  • Worked with City staff to help the City submit three project applications for Delaware Bicycle Council’s bicycling Innovative Infrastructure Grant.

  • Organized an ad hoc committee of University of Delaware staff and faculty to apply on behalf of the University to the League of American Bicyclists for “Bicycle Friendly University” status.

  • Coordinated with the East Coast Greenway Alliance’s area representative, City of Newark staff, and DelDOT personnel on signage plans for the Southwest Bikeway and subsequently ordered wayfinding signage through the City of Newark for this “phase 3” segment of the Newark Bikeways low-stress network.

  • Partnered with University of Delaware Police and DelDOT to hold a successful fall bike-safety event on campus, during which 20 sets of bike lights were installed and seven bike helmets given and fitted.

  • Successfully urged the City of Newark to eliminate on-street parking along a portion of Casho Mill Road that is part of a soon-to-be-completed Safe Routes to School project (see photo at top of page).

In addition, BikeNewark gained a net of four members this year. We have members who also participate in one or more of the following groups:

  • University of Delaware’s BikeShare Task Force
  • The Newark Partnership
  • City of Newark Transportation Improvement District Committee
  • City of Newark Conservation Advisory Committee

Contract awarded for Del. Ave. cycletrack project

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.

Finally.

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).

2015 concept photo of possible configuration on Delaware Ave.

(Read the Sept. 2014 Bike Delaware article, written by BikeNewark’s Mark Deshon.)

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.

photo of cars moving into bike lane to turn onto South College Ave.

…dangers posed by contraflow (i.e., illegal westbound) cyclists in the eastbound-only bike lane.

photo of dangers of current contraflow (i.e., illegal) bicycling on Delaware Ave.

…cars parking in the bike lane in front of Newark High School, forcing cyclists to merge into vehicular traffic.

photo of cars parked in bike lanes in front of Newark High School

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!

If you are interested in supporting BikeNewark’s nonprofit advocacy efforts, please get involved at the level comfortable for you, become a member, and/or make a donation today.

City Council candidate weighs in

Upcoming Vote for City Council graphicAs a public service, BikeNewark issued a bicycle-related survey to the candidates who were to compete for the Newark City Council District 2 position as well as to one who is unopposed and will be sworn in as a new City Councilwoman for District 4.

The aforementioned individuals were given the opportunity to weigh in on seven specific items related to their policy positions, knowledge, and experience. The survey items and links to candidates’ responses (if received) follow.

The election for Council District 2 has been cancelled due to the withdrawal of one of the two candidates.

Survey Items

  1. In countless published lists of the best places to live, a common characteristic is a vibrant walking and biking culture. Why do you think that is?
  2. Do you consider Newark a walkable, bikeable community? Why or why not? If yes, how do you plan to sustain this? If not, what can be done to make our city more walkable and bikeable?
  3. What do you see as the opportunities for bicycling to make a positive impact in Newark? What do you see as the problems associated with bicycling in Newark?
  4. What are your ideas (if any) for how to improve the bicycling experience in Newark for occasional cyclists, bicycle commuters, recreational cyclists, and avid (very experienced) cyclists? (Please be as specific as you can for each group mentioned.)
  5. If elected, what criteria will you apply in order to decide whether to support a major road project (like improvements to South College Avenue and Wyoming Road)? What about for small road projects (e.g., addition of bike lanes, low-stress bike-route signage, or crosswalks)?
  6. Are you familiar with the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan? If so, what do you think are its most important recommendations?
  7. Briefly describe your experience as a bicyclist (if any) over your lifetime and specifically in Newark.

Candidates’ Responses

District 1:
James Horning (unopposed incumbent*)

District 2:
Sharon Hughes, did not respond
Brenden Moore, withdrew

District 4:
Dwendolyn “Wendy” Creecy (unopposed)

*was not surveyed this year

Signs for 3 new Bikeways

Coming soon to Newark!

Planning is now underway for implementation of the wayfinding signage for the next three segments of the Newark Bikeways low-stress network. BikeNewark is working with the City of Newark to complete this second phase of its network wayfinding project. Routes along existing low-stress roads and pathways will soon be signed and connect to the Central Loop Bikeway—the network hub, the signs for which were installed in 2019.

graphic of North, Northwest, and West Bikeways signsFunding for signage for the project’s second phase, which includes the North, Northwest, and West Bikeways, was secured with proceeds from the 2019 Community Fun Ride event, as well as a recent grant from the Delaware Greenways’ Future Trails of Northern Delaware Coalition (FTNDC).

In fact, BikeNewark received from the FTNDC an unexpected 66% more in funding than it had requested. Why?  Executive Director Mary Roth of Delaware Greenways (one of BikeNewark’s partner organizations) explains:

graphic of Newark Bikeways map“BikeNewark made a request of $1,508.87 with matching funds drawn from BikeNewark’s prior events and donors,” Roth said in a recent email to BikeNewark chair Bob McBride. “Our committee felt strongly that we should fund the project with the maximum grant possible of $2,500, giving [BikeNewark] more of an opportunity to continue the work of this and future phases.”

photo of “Central Loop” sign
sign example (NB on Orchard Rd. at Winslow Rd.)

BikeNewark will begin an effort to garner funding for the final, albeit most-prolonged, phase of the project, which will include the Southwest, Northeast, South, and East Bikeways (see Bikeways map).

BikeNewark’s Engineering Committee will begin planning wayfinding for the Southwest Bikeway segment over the next few months, in anticipation of the completion this year of DelDOT’s Elkton Road off-road bike/ped pathway, part of its major overhaul of Elkton Road from Gravenor Lane to the Maryland state line.

Unsolicited Project Kudos

Thank you for all of your work over the years to improve the bike trails and signage to make Newark such a bike-friendly place. From my house, I bike to the underpass by Amstel Avenue then take Orchard to Phillips Park to access the Hall Trail. As someone who is just getting comfortable riding on roads, the Newark [Bikeways] signage helped me find the access point from Ritter Lane. I now feel safe making a big loop from the Hall Trail to the Pomeroy Trail to Creek Road. I’m a very cautious biker, so these low-stress routes have enabled me to really enjoy& biking safely in Newark. Thank you!

—a female Newark resident in her 30s

Support HB36, keep the “Delaware Yield”

excerpt from BikeNewark’s BFDA brochure that highlights safe yieldingBikeNewark asks that you contact your Delaware state legislators and urge them to support HB36, the bill that, if passed, would permanently add the “Delaware Yield” to the state’s Code.

The Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act (BFDA) that was signed into law by Governor Carney in 2017 was sponsored by multiple state agencies, including the Delaware State Police, DelDOT, Delaware Greenways, and many others. Part of this act includes the “Delaware Yield,” which makes it lawful for bicyclists to safely yield at stop sign–controlled intersections. However, there was a ”sunset clause” within the BFDA, meaning that the aforementioned feature can be removed from the law.

Similar versions of the law have passed in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, with resolutions pending in other states and municipalities. One study from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development showed that “yielding to managing the intersection by cyclists is often safer than having them stop at the intersection” and “it makes laws more realistic for bikers that they can more realistically follow.”

Delaware has seen its own benefits, as data (below) from the Delaware State Police below compares bicycle crashes before and after the law was enacted in 2017.

“Delaware Yield” safety data from Delaware State Police