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Lewes biking committee looks at underuse of bike racks, parking safety

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media

Members of the Lewes bike committee discussed the under-utilization of bike racks throughout the city.


The committee was briefed on new projects underway to boost bike traffic in Lewes, including the placement of bike racks throughout the city. 


City manager Ann Marie Townshend says many bike racks are not being used as much as anticipated.


“I think the most underutilized unfortunately is the bike corral," she said. "But we’re trying to improve the use of that and to get more use.”


The bike corral was installed back in 2016 along Savannah Road to alleviate bike traffic downtown.  It was  designed to hold up to 68 bikes.


And the utilization of some bike racks is a mystery, according to Townshend, especially ones along the beachside.


The committee agreed to implement greater monitoring of the bike racks throughout the city this summer, to figure out where the racks can be shifted in the future to see greater use.


The committee also voted to recommend the installation of a new bike rack in the Third Street public parking lot to encourage more bike traffic directly downtown. 


The committee also delved into bike safety along the town’s beach side roads.


Some members of the public are extremely concerned about the situation along Cedar Street, where day visitors take advantage of free parking along the shoulders, forcing bicyclists into traffic.


Committee member Robert Fischer says parking on those streets is too dangerous for bikes.


“We should give consideration to sending a recommendation to the city council that we feel, again, based strictly on cycling and pedestrian safety that parking in those areas should be prohibited," he said.


He adds angled parking spots are dangerous because of reduced visibility, especially as drivers pull out of spaces


The committee also wants to look at finding ways to adjust parking to create a safe route for cyclists to get from one side of Lewes to the other.


Possibilities include adding more bike lanes, and modifying or banning parking in some places


They voted to recommend examining parking and bike lanes both along Cedar street, and city wide.


The recommendations head to the City Council for its consideration.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.