Safety & Education Chair joins WILMAPCO Working GroupBy Michael Katz
Michael A. Katz, 8/7/17
WCBC Director of Safety and Education
I am pleased to have become a member of the WILMAPCO Nonmotorized Transportation Working Group representing the WCBC. Participating members of the group include a variety of constituents including representatives from the City of Wilmington, DelDOT, Delaware Health and Social Services, New Castle County Land Use, Delaware Greenway, Rails to Trails and of course WILMAPCO. Other constituents are represented but I do not yet know their affiliations.
The purpose of the group is to monitor and advise regarding transportation planning matters pertinent to cycling and pedestrian issues in New Castle County and Cecil County, Maryland.
A wide variety of initiatives are currently being undertaken or in the planning stages:
- Holloway Campus Connector – Bids are being solicited and work is imminent regarding a connector between the DHSS Campus and the Wilmington-New Castle Jack A. Markell Trail. This will create a path through the campus connecting the Markell trail with Commons Blvd in New Castle.
- Commons Blvd Connector – Plans are being finalized for solicitation of bids for a safe bike way along Commons Blvd. Ultimately this will connect the Markell Trail at Rte. 295 to the Christiana Mall.
- City of Wilmington – The 2008 Wilmington Bike Plan is currently being reviewed and updated. Draft goals are on line and comments are being solicited. For information search Wilmington Bike Council or wilmington.de.gov A bike share proposal feasibility study is underway. The City is currently talking with vendors about the possibility of smart bikes, eliminating bike stations.
- Plans are underway for pedestrian plans in Elkton, MD and Arden, DE. The Elkton plan will address sidewalks and curbs along existing roads. Cycling access and safety will be addressed in the planning. The Arden project will address primarily dirt and cinder paths though the Arden area. These paths will be for pedestrian traffic but I was told that although they will not be designed for cycling, bicycles will not be prohibited from using them.
- New Castle County Bicycle Master Plan – WILMAPCO is developing the plan. It is in its scope of work draft stage and will be posted on the WILMAPCO site wilmapco.org soon. Public comment will be encouraged.
- The Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act has been passed by the Delaware Legislature. The governor has promised to sign the bill into law and the signing ceremony is imminent. When it’s signed, I’ll notify the membership through the listserv. Among the issues addressed in the law will be:
- Bicycle traffic signals will be implemented to regulate and enhance cycling safety.
- Honking at cyclists will be prohibited unless done for safety or emergency purposes.
- Along with the three foot passing law already in effect, cars when approaching bicycles in narrow lane situations will be required to change lanes for the cyclist’s safety. This will include farm and construction, etc., vehicles as well as automobiles.
- The law will define positioning on roads and in lanes where cyclists should be riding. This is intended to create consistency so cyclists and drivers can anticipate each other’s actions.
- Stop signs may be treated as yields when roads are free of oncoming traffic.
The implementation of the Bicycle Friendly Delaware Act will certainly require driver education. I will be meeting with WILMAPCO, DelDOT and AAA to discuss adding a bicycle education segment to new Driver’s Education and Driver Safety refresher courses. I’ll also seek to have a page or two includes in the Delaware Driver’s Manual.