|by Mark Aguirre|
|Getting In and Out of Town
Last year the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) appointed members of state, county and municipal officials and business, civic, environmental, community and emergency service leaders to serve on the Rehoboth Beach Entrance Improvement Work Group. I feel fortunate to have been asked to be a part of this group and would like to provide an update on our work.
This work group has been providing suggestions, reviewing alternatives, building consensus and making recommendations regarding improvements needed to the transportation system at the entrance to Rehoboth Beach. The study area focuses on the Rt. 1 and Rehoboth Avenue Extended SR1A intersection and connections between Rehoboth Beach and its surrounding communities.
Our goal is to consider the competing transportation needs and expected growth while preserving and protecting environmental resources in the beach area. The objectives for the project include considering safety, mobility/congestion, land use planning, aesthetics, natural and historic environment, and public outreach to determine suggestions to improve entrances to the city.
Public workshops, interviews, and work group meetings produced a series of major alternatives and a number of minor independent options that were considered ways to improve the entrances. Many of these alternatives and options have been eliminated from consideration because of public input and new information that weakened their effectiveness in meeting the project goals and objectives.
The work group has recommended a phased implementation plan that would address the most pressing traffic needs and keep critical issues from delaying important portions of the project. This approach will also allow for DelDOT to move forward with right-of-way property acquisition now while funding other parts of the improvements over several budget periods. Four phases have been suggested.
Phase 1 will include constructing a new connection near the Canal Bridge through the Suburban Propane property on the north side of Rehoboth Avenue Extended, SR1A. The Canal Bridge will be improved to accommodate four travel lanes, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes. Sidewalks on both sides of Rehoboth Avenue Extended, SR1A will also be included. The Junction and Breakwater Pedestrian/Bike Trail would be extended between Hebron Road and Rehoboth Avenue Extended, SR1A.
Phase 2 would temporarily complete the alternative route from Rehoboth Beach to the Camelot/Kmart area. Currently a private developer is building a connection between Hebron Road and Holland Glade Road. This connection provides the middle link. The final link to Rt. 1 would be the construction of a new road to be called Canal Boulevard behind Tanger Outlets Seaside between Holland Glade Road and the Camelot/K-Mart Traffic signal. Also an extension of the Junction and Breakwater Pedestrian/Bike Trail will be provided along the north end of Canal Boulevard to the signal at Camelot/K-mart.
Phase 3 would include a more direct connection between Hebron Road to Holland Glade Road without using the privately built road. For this stretch of roadway two alternatives previously presented are still under consideration. Both of these provide a connection between Hebron Road and Holland Glade Road through the parkland and three ways to enter Rehoboth Beach from southbound Route 1. The key differences are Alternative 5 provides a connection to the Shuttle Road/Ames Intersection. Alternative 8 has partial traffic signal at Holland Glade Road to accommodate southbound Route 1 left-turns to Holland Glade Road.
The Rehoboth Beach Entrance Improvement Work Group is concerned about land acquisition costs associated with Alternative 5. Therefore while the work group has recommended Alternative 5 to DelDOT, Alternative 8 is also an acceptable solution if financial constraints make Alternative 5 difficult to implement.
Phase 4 would include installation of a third northbound Route 1 travel lane through the intersection of Route 1 and Rehoboth Avenue Extended SR 1A. Improvements to this intersection will not include an overpass. After observing the new second left-turn lane onto Rehoboth Avenue Extended SR1A it has been determined that such a measure would not improve traffic congestion.
Independent Options have also been suggested to improve the connection from Route 1 to State Road SR 1B. The committee has asked that the state install traffic calming devices on State Road, to help control speeding as motorists enter the residential neighborhood there. Also the panel has recommended that the Bay Vista traffic signal should not be removed. Finally, a pedestrian/bike path along the north side of the canal may be potentially constructed by nominating the site into DelDOT's bicycle and pedestrian program.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 5 May 20, 2005