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April 11, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 11, 2008
 

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Route 1 Continued frompage 1 And they didn't dispute most of what they heard. "The shared lane is a terrible nightmare," said Tony Pezone of Rehoboth Beach. "The only peo- ple who like it is DelDOT. It's not w.orking." He said motorists speed in the lane with no intention of turning. He said it has become a safety hazard for those who try to obey the law and merge into the lane to make a turn because of those who refuse to get out of the lane. The complaints come as DelDOT officials are ready to open another three miles of shared lane on May 20, when the Route 1 expansion project, from Route 24 to Five Points, is completed. Pezone, who is president of Sussex Cyclists, said one way to observe the violations taking place is to take part in one of the organization's safety pit stops. "We have to hurry and get the bikes off the road before they get run over," he said. It's dangerous even though the bikes are technically in a lane reserved for bicycles and buses at the pit-stop location. Cole disputes any hint that DelDOT officials do not care about safety. "This is always our first priority," he said. "We are also putting in sidewalks and crosswalks along Route 1 - for the safety of pedestrians." Stepping up enforcement Enforcement is also an issue. Lt. Roger Willey, Delaware State Police Troop 7 deputy com, mander, Said .he is aware of viola- tions in the multi-use lane. "I'm not aware of any serious accidents in the lane, but it has the potential," he said. Willey said motorists should only enter the lane about 300 feet before they turn right. "But we see people driving an excessive peri- od of time in the. lane," he said. "And as traffic becomes more congested, people will be blowing down the lane in an attempt to get around traffic." He said he plans to have offi- cers on duty to catch those who choose that plan of action. He said the worst problem area is between the traffic lights at Old Landing Road and Munchy Branch Road. He said police routinely patrol the road and ticket violators, and patrols will step up as the summer season approaches and the Route 1 expansion project concludes. "We may even step it up with greater focus," he said. Ron MacArthur photo Vehicles speed by in the Route 1 multi-use lane far ahead of making a right turn. Rehoboth Beach 302-22%1766 CAPE GAZETrE - Friday, April 11 Willey said when motorists are stopped they usually tell officers they were preparing to make a turn. That is not going to deter enforcement. "We'll make the Stop and let the courts work that out," he said. Willey .said police would take part in the Sussex Cyclists 'safety checkpoints this summer. Cole said all the signs and enforcement in the world would not stop all bad drivers who con- tinue to use the lane as a through lane. "We don't have the com- plete answer to that because it's aggressive driving and it's a chronic, serious problem that is bigger than Route 1," he said. "We see this type of driving all over the state. People who want to violate the law will continue because they can and nothing will get in their way to get five or six spaces ahead." phase of the Route 1 widening project with the DellX)T traffic section and the Delaware Bicycle Council, it was agreed to change the line to a dotted line and create a shared, multi-use lane. Leidy said overhead signs were discussed, but there were prob- lems with the existing span wires' load carrying capacity for the additional signs. Cole admitted that the shared lane is not the ideal situation. He said the best possible scenario would be to have dedicated lanes for through traffic, buses and bicycles - and even trains. Signs and lines Pezone said the dotted line marking the lane served no pur- pose and he also said signage was not sufficient marking the lane. He suggested a solid line might mean more to motorists. Joel Leidy, DelDOT engineer in charge of the Route 1 expan- sion"project, said he had wit- nessed the same violations Pezone talked about and under- stood his concerns. Leidy said the line on the lane was originally supposed to be an 8-inch solid line to define the lane as a shoulder. After meetings prior to the completion of the first Monday, April 14, 2008 - 17 "That's not possible on Route 1 because of the cost and we would have to start eliminating business- es" to accommodate it," he said. "But this configuration has worked south of Route 24 and it will work north of Route 24." Cole said when the current Route 1 expansion project is com- pleted in late May, DelDOT offi- cials will continue to monitor traf- fic. "Enforcement and education are next and we will continually look at the corridor for ways we can improve it," he said. Contact Ron MacArthur at ronm @capegazette.com. For Baby ! Darling Sentiments In Sterling Silver For Your Fa orite Little Someone! Now...50% Off! 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