Fenwick Committee Talks Traffic-Calming Measures

FENWICK ISLAND – Proposed calming measures along three side streets, including the implementation of one-way traffic and raised crosswalks, highlighting a town committee meeting this week. Bottom of Form

On Tuesday, Councilman Richard Been, chair of the Fenwick Island Infrastructure Committee, presented members with possible traffic-calming measures along Bunting Avenue, Maryland Avenue and Island Street.

Among the recommendations presented by the engineer, he said, was a plan to convert Bunting Avenue to a one-way street, with traffic moving southbound.

“Basically, he’s saying the status quo is okay for now …,” Been told committee members this week. “This other option he gives us is to suggest making Bunting one way. I personally like that.”

Benn pointed out the dangers along Bunting Avenue, a popular oceanside street heavily traversed by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. He said the suggestion to implement one-way traffic could improve safety.

“I think the biggest problem is we have too many bicycles and pedestrians and cars using the same narrow strip of pavement,” he said.

Officials noted one of the biggest problems along Bunting Avenue was the amount of cut-through traffic. Benn said those motorists are not always cognizant of bicyclists and pedestrians.

“The only traffic we see that goes from Lewes Street all the way to Atlantic Street is the cut-through traffic,” he added. “And we have to find a way to cut down on that, because that’s the inconsiderate, unknowing driver, and that’s the one that poses the greatest risk to our pedestrians and bicyclists.”

In addition to one-way traffic, committee members this week also discussed the possibility of implementing “No Thru Traffic” signage along Bunting and mandatory turns onto James and Dagsboro streets.

Committee member Tim Bergin, however, warned against that suggestion.

“I wonder if that’s more trouble than it’s worth,” he said. “We have a problem … but we can easily make it worse.”

Committee members this week also talked about the possibility of converting Bunting Avenue to a one-way street, with vehicular traffic on one side and a bike and pedestrian pathway on the other. Benn said the group’s ideas would need to be discussed with both the engineer and the community.

“This is where we’re going to need a lot of community involvement,” he said.

The committee this week also looked at traffic-calming recommendations along Maryland Avenue and Island Street, side streets frequently used by motorists traveling from Coastal Highway to Route 54.

While speeding is a major concern along the side streets, Police Chief John Devlin said failure to stop at stop signs was also an issue.

“There seems to more of a problem with stop signs than there is with speeding,” he said. “They run stop signs all day long there. And you have a waterpark there with little kids crossing.”

Benn suggested the town approach the Delaware Department of Transportation to install a raised crosswalk near the waterpark. He noted those streets were outside municipal limits.

“For all of these issues, let’s get our thinking caps on and let’s get more information,” he said.

Benn this week also presented committee members with an update on a town-wide resiliency study.

While the town has received grant funding from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to complete the study, officials say they are still awaiting the necessary approvals to proceed with the project.

“Now it’s sitting on the secretary of DNREC’s desk … I reached out to Ron Gray over the weekend and asked if he could call [Shawn] Garvin, the secretary of DNREC, and let’s get this thing moving please.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.