Schwartzkopf Task Force Makes Recommendations to Improve Pedestrian Safety Along Route 1

DOVER – Increased lighting, hybrid pedestrian signals and sidewalk and roadway improvements are among several recommendations a legislative task force announced Tuesday to improve pedestrian safety along the Route 1 corridor in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

Chaired by House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, the Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Task Force outlined the problems and dangers facing pedestrians and cyclists traveling along the busy highway from Five Points to Dewey Beach town limits, particularly during the summer. A Delaware State Police review of pedestrian and cyclist accidents along Route 1 from 2011 through August 2013 showed 14 injuries and five fatalities. The majority of those crashes occur after dark in unlit areas.

“Since my time as a State Police Troop 7 commander, I have seen the steady increase of traffic along Route 1 and the increased danger that pedestrians and cyclists face every day trying to travel along the road,” said Rep. Schwartzkopf, whose Rehoboth Beach district includes much of the study area. “The task force had to deal with the challenge of improving safety for pedestrians without causing huge traffic backups and working within the existing roadway. But we determined that there are several steps we can take to help people travel safely along Route 1 and cut down on the number of accidents.”

In its 27-page report, the 14-member task force listed several recommendations, including:

    • Add more overhead lighting throughout the corridor;
    • Add bicycle-friendly rumble strips between through lanes and right-hand turn lanes to denote where drivers should enter the turn lane;
    • Update all of the road striping throughout corridor to improve visibility and clarity;
    • Add a flashing caution pedestrian sign at the north end of the “Forgotten Mile.”
    • Reduce access points to Route 1 by considering reconfigurations of current access points and not allowing the creation of new access points
    • Support DelDOT plans to:
      • Add six new ADA-compliant crosswalks;
      • Add two pedestrian hybrid signals (HAWK beacons);
      • Add continuous sidewalks from just north of the Five Points (U.S. 9) intersection to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal Bridge;
      • Evaluate road signage along the corridor;
      • Align bus stops with new crosswalks.

The task force also noted that several areas require further study, such as a light audit along the “Forgotten Mile,” a stretch of Route 1 running from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal to the town limits of Dewey Beach. The panel also called for more education, enforcement and monitoring of existing rules and safety measures.

The task force was created last spring by House Resolution 22.

Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Task Force Report 2014.pdf439.29 KB