LETTER TO THE EDITOR: DelDOT ignores safety concerns of Dover City Council

An important safety feature is missing from the long-awaited West Dover Connector, now named POW/MIA Parkway. A shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists parallels the road. Users of this path will be required to cross the roadway, which has a posted speed of 40 mph, at an unsignalized intersection.

Last April, the Dover City Council wrote a letter to DelDOT Secretary Cohan expressing concern about this crossing and requesting installation of a traffic control device (signal light, or flashing beacon) or at least a study of the hazard to pedestrians and bicyclists before the road opens.

In May, Secretary Cohan replied, stating that DelDOT “will be monitoring and studying the intersection once the roadway and multi-use path is open to the public.” Cohen stated that no action will occur for at least six months (and possibly many years) after the road is opened.

Further, she did not reveal that “monitoring” (in DelDOT language) refers to counts of automobiles and NOT to counts of pedestrians or bicyclists. It seems that DelDOT does not take action to protect pedestrians until one or more is killed.

In May, Delaware State Rep. Sean Lynn and Sen. Brian Bushweller generously offered funding to pay for a signal. Because the underground infrastructure needed to support the signal has already been installed, the only thing missing is the will of the Transportation Department.

Chris Asay

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Delaware Department of Transportation spokesman Greg Layton, “The department has previously attended the City of Dover Bike/Ped Council meeting and corresponded with the council on this issue.

“We have explained in depth that the non-signalized crossing of the multi-use path will be signalized when warranted. Currently, the third leg of the intersection as it exists today has zero traffic. It has yet to be connected to the development and given the lack of construction activity, we have no timeline for when this will be warranted.

“The department has also explained at length that users of the multi-use path will cross one lane of traffic to a large refuge in the median and then proceed to cross the other lane of traffic. They do not have to look both ways and cross the entire facility at once.

“The department has committed to monitoring the crossing as use of the facility grows and addressing any safety concerns should they arise. This includes monitoring the use of the facility by all modes of travel to include bicyclists and pedestrians contrary to the comments of Mr. Asay.”

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