New street redesigns could mean even less parking in Rehoboth Beach
The concepts for expanding Rehoboth Beach’s street redesign are out, but issues surrounding parking remain.
Rehoboth Beach is looking at a complete overhaul of Wilmington and Baltimore Avenues, the streets directly off of Rehoboth Avenue.
The purpose is to bring people off the main street, improve traffic flow and make room for future commercial development.
The city’s streetscape committee took a first look at a design firm’s concepts Wednesday, showing how the streets could be laid out to maximize sidewalk space and improve traffic.
But parking remains an issue, says Mayor Stan Mills.
“I think this project will be the impetus for looking at additional parking opportunities because if you add up all the numbers here the total reduction in parking is estimated at 85 parking spaces but we gain an estimate of 46 scooter parking spaces,” he said.
Mills wants to see a city-wide parking inventory, because removing so many parking spaces means people need to go elsewhere in a city where parking is already a challenge in the summer months.
Similar to the grandstand at the end of Rehoboth Avenue, designers are also looking at capping off these adjacent streets with their own mini plazas.
But the beach patrol building at the end of Baltimore Avenue is putting a damper on those plans, says Mills.
“We can’t buy the Grotto building next door for $3 million and put our restroom facility there and our beach patrol there,” Mills said. “The beach patrol, they’re in a strategic location, there are no other locations it can go — so we have to work within what we’ve got.”
The plan now is to completely rebuild the beach patrol building, making it two stories to put the beach patrol on top, and larger restrooms on the bottom.
That would leave space for a small plaza, but block views of the beach.
Committee members suggested alternatives - such as moving the entire building one street north — to Maryland Avenue. That street currently has a small gazebo and natural garden at its end, and putting the building there could free up room for a larger plaza.
Those suggestions and concerns about removing parking spaces will be discussed in August ahead of a public information session in September.
Roman Battaglia is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.