FENWICK ISLAND – While the town took its first steps last week to address traffic concerns along Fenwick’s side streets, officials say they are seeking community involvement as they consider other calming measures.
Last Friday, the Fenwick Island Town Council voted unanimously to approve an expenditure request of $659 for the purchase of temporary speed bumps. Councilman Richard Benn, chair of the town’s infrastructure committee, said the speed bumps would be placed along Maryland Avenue and Island Street, where residents and town officials have reported problems with cut-through traffic.
“These speed bumps will go in during the season and come out when it’s not in season, and it should help us with people speeding and blowing through the stop signs near the water park …,” he said. “The speeding isn’t so much an issue as the people going through the stop signs.”
Earlier this year, the town began working with an engineering circuit rider with the Delaware Center for Transportation to observe traffic conditions along Bunting Avenue, Maryland Avenue and Island Street and produce recommendations that the town could discuss. Benn told community members last week that those recommendations were just that, a recommendation.
“I know this has gotten controversial, and it shouldn’t because it’s just in the discussion stage,” he said.
In August, the Fenwick Island Infrastructure Committee began discussing the proposed traffic recommendations. Among those recommendation was an idea to address cut-through traffic on Maryland Avenue and Island Street, a popular route for motorists traveling from Coastal Highway to Route 54.
While speeding is a major concern along the side streets, officials noted failure to stop at stop signs was also an issue. To that end, the committee proposed a raised crosswalk or speed bumps to slow motorists.
“They have been requested by the neighbors on Maryland and Island streets where we are having problems with cut-through traffic,” Benn told the council last week. “The traffic engineer actually recommended making that a ‘No Left Turn’ there at Island and actually creating a big, narrow median, which would have been expensive … Regardless, we decided the simplest solution was to put speed bumps in.”
Officials noted that one set of speed bumps would be placed on Maryland Avenue and another set would be placed on Island Street in an effort to slow motorists approaching the stop signs.
“The best thing about the temporary speed bumps is we can take them out in the wintertime and that way we don’t have snowplow issues as well,” Benn said.
In an update last week, Benn also shared traffic recommendations for Bunting Avenue. One of the suggestions presented to the infrastructure committee was a plan to convert Bunting to a one-way street, with vehicular traffic on one side and a bike and pedestrian pathway on the other.
“The concept that we need to talk further about would be a shared street concept similar to what Lewes has on Bay Street,” he said. “The pedestrians and bicycles could go both ways, but the cars can only go one way and there’s no through streets. That would limit the traffic that’s on Bunting Avenue, especially Friday afternoons during the season.”
Officials noted one of the biggest problems along Bunting Avenue was the amount of cut-through traffic. Benn said motorists, particularly those visiting the town, are not always cognizant of bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Those are the inconsiderate drivers,” he said.
After hearing concerns from the public, Benn encouraged community members to attend the town’s infrastructure meetings and continue sharing their opinions.
“There are multiple options,” he said. “This is just one of many options.”
Traffic recommendations for Maryland Avenue and Island Street, as well as Bunting Avenue have been posted on the town’s website.