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

Accomplishments in 2020

Though activity was definitely slowed in 2020 and several events were cancelled because of the pandemic, BikeNewark did manage to accomplish the following:

  • Was awarded $1,000 in funding from the White Clay Bicycle Club in the winter to be applied to the Newark Bikeways project.
  • Executed and posted results of a City Council candidates survey as public service in advance of the April municipal election.
  • RideShare Delaware "Biking 101" title slide graphicPresented two online seminars on bicycle commuting—“Biking 101” and “Commuting Safely by Bike with Children”—as part of co-host RideShare Delaware’s Delaware Commute Solutions Series.
  • Completed wayfinding signage design work for “phase 2” of the Newark Bikeways low-stress bicycle network project and ordered signage, in coordination with the City of Newark, for the North, Northwest, and West bikeway segments. Submitted a 50-50 matching-grant application to Delaware Greenways’ Future Trails of Northern Delaware coalition, which, if awarded, would defray half of the cost to BikeNewark of the “phase 2” signs. Plans for the East Bikeway segment were pushed to “phase 3.”
  • Partnered with the City of Newark on a grant request to the Delaware Bicycle Council for a bicycle-improvements project along Wyoming Road. A $15,000 grant was awarded to the City in Decemberfor a feasibility and preliminary design study of this corridor.
  • Designing Delaware Intersections for People event graphicHelped support promotion of the online Designing Delaware Intersections for People conference (held in November), which was organized by Bike Delaware, one of BikeNewark’s partners, and highlighted two intersections in Newark.
  • Began partnering with the Wilmington Trail Club and the City of Newark to plan for appropriate improvements to the Rittenhouse Trail, from Rittenhouse Park to Church Road.
  • Supported the A.I. Whoo COVID Vision Trail Safety Analysis that began in the fall.
  • What is a Sharrow? title frame showing sharrow symbolCompleted design and production of a three-minute safety PSA video on sharrows, which focused on the new greenbacked sharrows on East and West Main Street in Newark, partnering with WILMAPCO and the City of Newark and using raw video contribution from Caffé Gelato.
  • Participated with presence on The Newark Partnership and the city’s Transportation Improvement District (TID) committee.
  • Successfully revamped BikeNewark’s bylaws to more accurately reflect current operations and redefined official membership in the partnership—“Individual Member”—based on a fee paid per calendar year.

Safe Routes to School project takes shape

aerial photo of Casho Mill Road in front of Downes School
photo submitted to and published by Newark Post

photo of beginning of bike lane buffer on Casho Mill Road
Beginning of actual buffered lane

Nearly four years after initial meetings about submitting a Safe Routes to School grant application for a project on Casho Mill Road, things are finally taking (physical) shape. Striping has been added recently, and more will be added until this initial phase of the project is complete.

The project area is between Church Road and Pickett Lane.

photo of pop-up demonstration protected bike lane
Buffered lane demonstration, 2017

For a Bike to School event at John R. Downes Elementary School back in 2017, BikeNewark worked with volunteers from the University of Delaware’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders, who created pop-up buffered bike lanes to demonstrate how a finished project might look along this busy suburban road on which the school is located.

photo of a Bike to School Week bike train
School children arriving by bike, 2017

City of Newark staff have repeatedly noted that motorized traffic continues to dash along Casho Mill Road above the posted 30mph speed limit. Public Works & Water Resources Director Tim Filasky, who is one of BikeNewark’s partner liaisons, says, “It just feels like a freeway. This will tighten it up and slow traffic.” Ultimately, the City would like to have the speed limit reduced to 25mph, as it is on sections of Casho Mill Road on either end (north and south) of the project area.

photo of motorist's view of buffered lanes on Casho Mill Road
Motorist’s view of buffered bike lanes along Casho Mill Road, showing only a slight reduction in vehicle lane width while providing ample buffer for cyclists

BikeNewark has been involved from the inception of the effort, in coordination with the City, the school, Downes parents, WILMAPCO, and DelDOT. The idea is to make bicycling safer (especially for school children and their parents) and encourage more students in this vast residential area to ride a bike to school, rather than be transported there by car.

When the project is completed near the end of 2020, it will include a new crosswalk, a pedestrian-refuge island, curb ramps, traffic-calming islands, and radar-detected-speed signs.

BikeNewark’s planned West Bikeway (a segment of its Newark Bikeways low-stress network project) will intersect Casho Mill Road (and these SRTS amenities) at Lafayette Road and provide signed low-stress access to the school through the Oaklands and Nottingham Green residential neighborhoods.

> read related Newark Post article

Green is good, more green is better!

No, we’re not referring to the environment here, although bicyclists do contribute to lowering carbon emissions every time they ride. We’re talking visible surface paint.

Sharrows (shared-lane markings)

You may be already be familiar with the bicycle markings along Apple Road between South Main Street and West Park Place. Now we’re seeing greenbacked sharrows on East Main Street, and more green surface paint is on the way!

photo of newly applied greenbacked sharrowAs part of DelDOT’s nearly two-year-long major rehab of East Main Street, greenbacked sharrows have been applied to both lanes along this westbound route through downtown Newark. These are meant to communicate to motorists that they should expect bicyclists in either lane along the mile-long stretch of road. They are also meant to let bicyclists know that they can and should take the middle of either lane (heading west, of course).

Many thanks to the City of Newark and DelDOT (both of which are BikeNewark partners) for including this amenity.

What about safety?

Speed is limited to 25 mph on East Main Street, but very often, due to traffic volume and traffic signals, speeds slow to those much more in line with the speed of a typical bicyclist (anywhere between 10 and 20 mph). Plus, the rehab project included parklets, features new to East Main that will act as traffic-calming (i.e., -slowing) devices.

So, get out and bike on East Main Street. The more that bicyclists use this street, the safer—and more comfortable—it will be for all.

What’s next?

The next major DelDOT rehab project in downtown Newark promises to be somewhat unique in Delaware and will bring with it a lot more green surface paint! Delaware Avenue will be reconfigured to include a two-way separated (and signalized) bikeway from Orchard Road east to the Pomeroy Trail and one-way lanes in either direction from there to Library Avenue. This project will begin as soon as DelDOT’s Elkton Road project is completed.

> More on the Delaware Avenue project

photos by Heather Dunigan

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.