Delaware Avenue taking on new shape

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.

photo of Del. Ave. WB
westbound between S. College Ave. and Orchard Rd., showing concrete protected-lane separator
photo of Del. Ave. EB
eastbound between Academy St. and Haines St., showing concrete protected-lane separator

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.

photo of island at Pomeroy Trail WB
new island at Pomeroy Trail crossing westbound, marking change from two-way to one-way (WB)
photo of Del. Ave. curve WB
westbound at the curve toward Newark Transit Hub, showing raised bike lanes (in black)
photo of Del. Ave. curve EB
eastbound at the curve toward Newark High School, showing raised bike lanes (in black)

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.

photo of Del. Ave. raised intersection (south section) at S. College Ave.
raised intersection (south half) at South College Avenue, level with sidewalks

> see related Newark Post article

Good day for two service projects

Friday, June 10, was a beautiful day for BikeNewark volunteers to engage in a couple bike-related service projects.

At John R. Downes Elementary School on Casho Mill Road, three BikeNewark volunteers joined those from partnering groups to assemble and install new bike racks.

photo of volunteers assembling bike racks
photo of volunteers anchoring bike racks

At a recent BikeNewark meeting, BikeNewark’s Helga Huntley, who is on the city’s Conservation Advisory Council (CAC), asked for suggestions for additional CAC funds. Heather Dunigan, who represents both the Wilmington Area Planning Council (WILMAPCO) and the Newark Bike Project, suggested using funds for bike racks for local schools.

photo of bike racks at north end of school

Huntley’s husband Dave, who works at the University of Delaware’s Center for Environmental Monitoring & Analysis, made arrangements with the school to receive the order and organize the work crew. The City’s Jayme Gravell and Jeff Martindale and BikeNewark‘s Bob McBride and Mark Deshon joined the Huntleys to assemble and install the new racks, two adjoining racks on the southeast corner, adjacent to the school gym, and two on the northeast corner of the school.

photo of new signage for Christina Valley Stream Trail
close-up of signpost at the Church Road trailhead

Another project that was being completed today involved installation of wayfinding signage along the Christina Valley Stream Trail, from its north trailhead at Church Road to Rittenhouse Park.

BikeNewark’s Dave Saunders had worked with the Wilmington Trail Club’s Gary Kirk and Delaware State Parks’ David Bartoo to design the signage for this natural surface, single-path bike-ped trail that runs follows the Christina River in Newark.

Months earlier, the posts had been set. Today, Saunders and Kirk were adding the new wayfinding signage sleeves, which completes the project.

photo of signage at junction of trail and Downes footbridge
signage at junction of trail and Downes School footbridge

Although this trail is unsuitable for road bikes, those with mountain bikes can access this trail where it intersects BikeNewark’s Southwest Bikeway on the south side of the bikeway’s bike-ped bridge over the Christina River.

Phase 2 signage completed

photo of signage at the corner of Amstel Ave. and South Main St.
Westbound on Amstel Ave. at South Main St.

Just before the new year, the City of Newark completed installation of wayfinding signage for the West Bikeway segment of the Newark Bikeways low-stress network.

photo of view in the railroad tunnel looking west
Westbound entry to Hillside Park from the railroad tunnel

This work came on the heels of the opening of the long-awaited Hillside Park, built on the former grounds of the University of Delaware’s Rodney residence halls complex.

photo of signage in Hillside Park looking toward Dallam Rd.
Westbound Hillside Park sign looking onto Dallam Rd.

As a result of this work, bicyclists can take a low-stress route from Orchard Road on the Central Loop westward to Casho Mill Road—down Amstel Ave., through the railroad tunnel, Hillside Park, and the Oaklands and Nottingham Green neighborhoods.

photo of signage at end of West Bikeway
Terminus of the West Bikeway at Casho Mill Rd.

On Casho Mill Road, just south of the end of the bikeway segment is John R. Downes Elementary School. This segment should be widely used by elementary school children who can bike to/from school through the neighborhoods it bisects. Buffered bike lanes on Casho Mill Road will help keep young bicyclists safe on the short ride to/from Lafayette Road.

photo of destination signage eastbound on Dallam Rd.
Destination signage eastbound on Dallam Rd.

Eastbound (i.e., toward the city center and Central Loop Bikeway), signage includes directional symbols or destination information.

graphic map of the West Bikeway
Map of the West Bikeway segment

Thanks goes to Delaware Greenways for its generous grant to BikeNewark, which partially funded our “phase 2” signage—for the North, Northwest, and West Bikeways segments—as well as to the White Clay Bicycle Club for its monetary support, and to the City of Newark for installing the signage.

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.

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