Speeding worries residents in Rodney Village

Rodney Village residents Gladys Bishop, left, and Michelle Guerrein stand on the corner of John Clark and Charles Polk roads and discuss the increase in traffic entering from the POW/MIA Parkway. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — Every time Gladys Bishop and Michelle Guerrein look out their front window, they are fearful that a tragedy might occur at any moment right before their very eyes.

The two women, who live on David Hall Road in the Rodney Village development, say that speeding through Rodney Village has been an issue ever since the POW/MIA Parkway opened in 2017, as motorists cut through their neighborhood to get to Webbs Lane, or vice versa.

Ms. Bishop and Ms. Guerrein are afraid that if the speeding continues that a child might be struck by one of the vehicles.
“We have a radar sign out there that flashes, but it’s run by solar, so it doesn’t work half the time,” Ms. Bishop said. “The sign says 25 miles-per-hour on it, but they still fly up-and-down this road at 45- and 50-miles-per-hour.

“The kids here in Rodney Village walk in the street because our sidewalks are a little bit tore up — they just recently fixed our sidewalks about a year or two ago — but the kids still walk in the street when they get off the school bus. We also have neighbors’ kids who play just off the street or in the street sometimes, and with these people flying up and down the road I’m afraid that one of these little children are going to get hit.”

That’s why they are seeking help from State Rep. Andria Bennett, D-Dover, and Kent County Levy Court Commissioner George “Jody” Sweeney in trying to bring low-profile speed bumps to their Rodney Village neighborhood.

The task has proven to be difficult to complete during the COVID-19 pandemic, from acquiring the necessary funding for the traffic-calming devices to organizing civic meetings, according to Ms. Bishop and Ms. Guerrein.

“We can’t seem to get anybody to help us,” said Ms. Bishop. “We’ve called several people, including our representative (Ms. Bennett) and she said that she might be able to help us get low-profile speed bumps, and that’s what we need, but because of the virus we haven’t been getting too much help.”

Ms. Guerrein said that Rep. Bennett explained to her that they need to get a majority of people on their street who agree to put their names down and request the low-profile speed bumps.

“Our civic association meeting is very weak, and we don’t have any phone numbers or email addresses,” Ms. Guerrein said. “We have some, but it basically means that we have to take these flyers and place them on people’s doors, which is good, but there might be some confusion because most people are used to high-profile (speed bumps), where the car has to go over them at like 3 miles-per-hour.

“The low-profile speed bumps really do slow people down and it doesn’t do anything to ruin their car.”

Louise Holt, spokesman for the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), said the department is still evaluating and searching for what would be the best solution for the Rodney Village speeding issue.

Traffic enters and exits the Rodney Village development at Charles Polk Road and the POW/MIA Parkway.

“At this time, the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) are evaluating speed bumps, collecting speed data, and discussing traffic calming measures at the POW/MIA Parkway and Rodney Village,” Ms. Holt said.

Ms. Bishop and Ms. Guerrein both say they didn’t have a speeding issue in their neighborhood until the POW/MIA Parkway opened.

“I’ve been living here for 20 years and (Ms. Guerrin’s) been living here for 18 and people will fly up and down the road from this POW/MIA Parkway through our development, at I’ll say at least 40- or 50 miles-per-hour, said Ms. Bishop. “People realized they could cut through our development from the POW/MIA Parkway to get to Webbs Lane and they come through our streets very fast.”

Ms. Guerrein had issues with the POW/MIA Parkway before it was built, as she and several of her neighbors tried to keep several homes on Charles Polk Road from being torn down because they wanted to put the road in. She added that the road was built on a flood plain when it shouldn’t have been.

“When they did open (the POW/MIA Parkway), people realized they could cut through David Hall Road,” said Ms. Guerrein. “At first it didn’t seem to be a problem, but as time went on, we began to see cars going faster and faster and it makes the development — especially these two roads — very dangerous.

“We are part of the Kent County Crime Watch and we had gone and asked what we could do, and it’s wonderful that the state police come out and help. They’ve been putting their vehicles out there to prevent (speeding) from happening, but they can’t stay there all day, and traffic concerns are often put on the low-burner sometimes.”

Ms. Bishop just wants people to stop speeding down her road before somebody gets hurt — or possibly killed.

“We haven’t been able to have a civic meeting regarding this because of the COVID-19 virus,” she said. “We definitely need to get something done about it because they’re still speeding up and down the road and we’ve called the state police numerous times. They’ve come out every time we’ve called, but they’re very busy and they just can’t sit here and watch the streets.
“I just hope we are able to find a solution to this speeding problem — and soon.”