BikeNewark-related Projects

Delaware Avenue two-way protected bikeway

schematic of Del. Ave. project road cross-sectionOne of the recommendations in the 2014 Newark Bicycle Plan was to create a two-way protected bikeway (a.k.a. “cycletrack”) along Delaware Avenue. This would enable legal contraflow bicycle traffic flow from east to west in the heart of the city, which is needed as a lower-stress alternative to riding west with the sharrows on Main Street.

This project began to gain traction in June 2015 as BikeNewark (in its former incarnation as the Newark Bicycle Committee) agreed to make the Delaware Avenue cycletrack a top infrastructure priority. The City subsequently hired Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) to do the feasibility study. BikeNewark members and partner liaisons were involved in JMT’s collaborative stakeholder work group.

The concept plan is now complete, and the project is now moving forward into detailed design. The “rough” schedule is to begin construction on Delaware Avenue in 2019. During the detailed design, DelDOT will work out the sequence of construction along Delaware Avenue. The repaving of Main Street is scheduled for 2018, so this project will follow the Main Street repaving.

Experimental Main Street contraflow bike lane

diagram of intersection with contraflow laneIn May 2017, the City of Newark Traffic Committee heard a proposal for and discussed the trial of a contraflow bicycle lane on East Main Street between North College Avenue and South College Avenue.

photo of contraflow laneAfter much discussion and some compromising on BikeNewark’s proposal, the Traffic Committee OK’d a contraflow-lane trial from mid-August through the spring 2018 semester.

The concept agreed upon is that bicyclists would remain in the current bike lane southbound on North College Avenue and be allowed to make a left into a designated contraflow lane onlyduring the pedestrian-scramble signal phase (solid red+red arrow) and only while yielding to pedestrians (understanding that while cyclists are moving through the scramble on that signal phase, they are legally considered “pedestrians”).

During that phase, they may also either turn right heading west on West Main Street or move straight across the intersection and then dismount, in accordance with University of Delaware rules and Newark law. Once in the contraflow lane, bicyclists will have to yield to pedestrians crossing South College Avenue in the East Main Street crosswalk before turning right into the South College Avenue bike lane.

During the other two signal phases (solid red and green right arrow), only right turns can be made from the North College Avenue bike lane and only after a full stop on solid red (just like cars).

DelDOT applied paint and installed signage, and BikeNewark produced a short educational video to share with the community. It is our hope that UD and the City of Newark will promulgate the above video on social media. BikeNewark’s aim is that, combined with the educational piece, this infrastructure amenity will have a positive effect on behavior and safety at that intersection while providing bicyclists with a legal means of navigating north to south without having to dismount.

Old Newark pop-up mini-circle demonstration

photo of completed demonstration mini-circle at Orchard Road and Winslow RoadThe Friends of Newark Neighborhood Streets (FONNS) citizens group and the City of Newark are developing a pop-up mini-circle demonstration at the intersection of Orchard Road and Winslow Road in the Old Newark neighborhood. BikeNewark has been represented at FONNS project committee meetings to consult on and support the project.

This project came about as a combination of long-standing resident concern over frequent traffic-speed and stop-sign violations (need for traffic calming) and BikeNewark’s longer-term vision that Orchard Road become part of a comprehensive low-stress bicycle network in Newark (fewer four-way stop signs in a quiet neighborhoods). For details on the project, see the mini-circle demonstration page.

Take the mini-circle user-experience survey.

Downes Safe Routes to School grant

photo of students arriving by bike at John R. Downes Elementary SchoolPublic Workshops

DelDOT will attend the John R. Downes Elementary School open houses on Sept. 18 (grades K-2) and Sept. 19 (grades 3-5), give a 5-minute overview talk, and provide visuals and opportunities to give feedback at tables in the foyer. DelDOT will also present something at City Hall for community members who aren’t affiliated with Downes. Megan McGurigan will figure out when would be a good time for DelDOT to present; she recommended a separate meeting, instead of piggy-backing onto a Council meeting.

The SRTS Committee will also present the three options on the table to the city’s Traffic Committee, making clear that this is informational only and not up for a vote by the Traffic Committee, although we do welcome feedback, of course.

DelDOT will put up a project website that will contain contact information for providing comments.

Educational Efforts

Downes already has a lot of educational efforts in place, such as punch cards for kids arriving on foot or by bike, “Trek” (walking during recess); a Healthy Heart Night with information about road safety, fire safety, etc.; and Walk-to-School Day with an organized walk with the school’s mascot.

Two new ideas were thought to be promising:

  1. An art contest around the theme of road safety, with the winners’ pictures being printed as posters or stickers for folder
  2. A Golden Sneaker Award, given quarterly to the classroom with the most trips to school without a car or bus, as counted by Sandy Hudson’s punch cards.

UD’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders will create the physical award, to be passed around each quarter.

Cleveland Avenue improvements

aerial view of Cleveland Ave.-Paper Mill Rd. intersectionAhead of a planned DelDOT pave and rehabilitation project along the length of Cleveland Avenue, slated for 2017-18, BikeNewark (in its former incarnation as the Newark Bicycle Committee) came up with a list of potential improvements to the corridor (New London Rd. to Kirkwood Hwy.) and urged the City to form a task force of stakeholders to help make some preliminary decisions that would benefit all.

The Cleveland Avenue Improvements Task Force met several times during an eight-month period and subsequently presented its final recommendations to the City’s Traffic Committee for its consideration. In October 2016, the Traffic Committee approved all ten recommendations to be sent to City Council for its deliberation and decision.

On Monday, July 10, 2017, City Council voted 6-1 to ban on-street parking between North College Avenue and North Chapel Street. This was a key ordinance change that was part of the approved set of recommendations and that will facilitate the success of the changes proposed for this corridor.

City Council voted unanimously to approve the entire slate of recommendations at its August 14, 2017, meeting.

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