Fenwick Lowers Side Street Speed Limit; Bayside Street Parking Study Tabled Until Cost Is Known

Fenwick Lowers Side Street Speed Limit; Bayside Street Parking Study Tabled Until Cost Is Known

FENWICK ISLAND – As a result of recommendations passed forward by a new Parking Committee, the speed limit on all side streets through Fenwick Island will become 15 mph, and the town is researching a right-of-way survey to stripe available parking on bayside streets.
The first Parking Committee meeting was held a couple of weeks ago when members passed forward a couple of favorable recommendations to the Town Council for consideration.
Last Friday City Manager Merritt Burke announced the Parking Committee recommended extending parking striping and signage to the bayside side streets.
“Essentially the parking committee recommended approving the hiring of a contractor to stripe the bayside, and I believe at that meeting they were interested in all east-west side streets and some north-south,” Burke said.
Burke has met with two striping contractors who both estimated the project to be a little over $5,000.
“If you do approve this … I think it would be prudent that we conduct a right-of-way survey, so we know the exact width of all the streets where we can stripe for cars to park instead of intruding on private property,” he said.
Burke pointed out that it is his understanding Delmarva Power light poles mark the right-of-way line, which would make it easier in conducting a survey.
During the survey, Mayor Audrey Serio requested property owner’s trash containers and landscaping be moved out of the town’s right-of-way.
“While we are doing it, we need to get everything where it should be. We need to look at the issue because it will be a problem once we start this,” she said.
Councilman Todd Smallwood warned the mayor such a request of homeowners would open a whole new proverbial can of worms.
“You can look at the issue but you can’t back that onto this as far as bringing it onto the homeowners,” he said.
Smallwood questioned what brought the concept on to stripe available parking spaces on the bayside streets.
Council Secretary Diane Tingle responded cars have become a nuisance in blocking trash containers at times of collections as well as driveways.
Councilman William Weistling pointed out a cost estimate for a right-of-way survey still needed to be brought to the table before the council could move forward with a decision.
Tingle made a motion to table the discussion until staff conducts further research on costs associated with a survey of right-of-ways as well as work with Delmarva Power over the issue. The council voted unanimously to approve the motion.
The second item passed forward by the Parking Committee was the recommendation to reduce the speed limit on all side streets to 15 mph.
“There are some inaccuracies in town where some streets are 15 mph and some streets are 25 mph. I did some research and I could not find out why that was done,” Chief William Boyden said. “I think over the years as the streets were developed and new houses were going in the sign was just put up. I think all the streets in Fenwick, besides Coastal Highway, be 15 mph throughout the town.”
The chief is currently on the search for a source of funding to purchase battery-powered speed equipment that can be moved from one location to another in town to capture motorist speed. The police department applied for a grant through State Farm Insurance to cover the cost of $2,500 for the unit.
“This will not only alert you are speeding but will also capture data so that we can go to homeowners, or the person who makes a complaint and confirm there is a problem in the immediate area and we can focus on enforcement, or no we don’t have a problem with speeding,” Boyden said.
Serio used South Bethany as an example where speed limits signs are posted at the entrance of the area notifying the speed limit is 20 mph on all streets throughout the town.
“That would help save from having to post multiple signs on a street,” she said.
Vice Mayor Gene Langan made a motion to approve the speed limit reduction to have all streets in Fenwick be uniform at 15 mph and to purchase new speed limit signs to be posted where needed. The council voted unanimously to approve the motion.
The next Parking Committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. in Town Hall.