Letters: July 15, 2005

Route 26 needs help now with traffic
Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), directed to vehicular traffic planning, and to the Bethany Beach town manager’s office. It was forwarded to the Coastal Point for publication.

I have watched with interest, fear and foreboding the development of both the summer and winter traffic patterns on the soon to be, if not already, “notorious highway 26.”

This road is the only east west entry and egress from Bethany Beach, Ocean View, Millville and a multitude of ever-increasing small developments that have sprung up in the “country-side outside of these larger municipalities.”

My wife and I live in Bethany Beach and are forced by logic and now by gasoline consumption to use 26 for most of our travel both locally and when leaving our local area. While the summer traffic (June 15 through Labor Day) has been atrocious for the past 25 years, this year has been by far the worst.

I attribute this leap backward from progress to the new traffic light installed in early June at the corner of West Avenue and Highway 26, one block east of the light at Highway 26 and Central Avenue in Ocean View. All traffic, whether east or west bound, must deal with both lights within one block of each other.

And since the lights are not coordinated, or coordinated by some mystical code, this double light just adds to the sometimes miles of backup along 26 both eastbound and westbound. The back up frequently reaches to the intersection of Highway 1 to the east; and to the traffic light on Highway 17 to the west.

I don’t know the logic used to install the new light at West Avenue but regardless of the logicused or the engineering studies utilized — It ain’t working!

I suggest that the light at 26 and West Avenue be either removed (preferably with the reinstatement of manual traffic control by Ocean View, Millville or State Police for the 30 minutes each Sunday morning when members of the Church of Christ exit their Sunday-morning worship) or changed to flashing amber except for the same hours as suggested above.

I realize that 26 is slated for overhaul in 2007 or 2008 but it seems to me that the intersection of 26 and Central will always be a problem, growing only larger year by year as more people move to new developments east of the Assawoman Canal.

The ever-expanding population of our area makes some major modification of this intersection almost mandatory.

(Soon, we may not have to worry about tourists. Their experience with this summer’s traffic may convince them that Ocean City, Rehoboth/Lewes, or Dewey Beach are better alternatives — certainly their beaches are presently far superior to what we can offer in Bethany Beach or along the shore from Dewey to Fenwick.)

I am sure that you have file cabinets full of complaints and maybe a few suggestions about what to do with 26. While I hope my letter gets a little consideration before being filed away to be forgotten, maybe something can be done about this twin traffic barrier before next summer.

Roger L. Street
Bethany Beach

Bethany parade Committee says thanks

I am writing this letter on behalf of all committee members to express a special thanks to all those who devoted their time to make this 21st parade a special event.

We would like to extend a special thanks to Bethany Beach officials, their staff and town employees, Bethany Beach Police Department, Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company and Ladies Auxiliary, the fire police, the Public Works Department and their crew.

Thank you also to St. Ann’s Church and the Christian Center for the use of their facilities and grounds. A special thanks to those who sold T-shirts and who purchased them, and to Jennifer Carter, a very talented local artist, for her help in the design of the T-shirts and her donation of a painting for the grand prize winner.

Without the support of all of these parade components for the months leading up to and after the parade, this event could not be a success. In addition, thanks to the local businesses who provided trucks for our musical groups, which are G & E Hocker’s, Millsboro Ford and 84 Lumber.

Although the town of Bethany Beach does not provide financial assistance, they do support us with a great deal of logistical help. The funds to cover the cost of this event were realized from donations by civic-minded friends in the community and the sale of T-shirts. Thank you for your generous support.

A special thanks to the scores of bicyclists who used their decorating talents and then entertained all along the parade route, and to the number of community groups and businesses who entered floats, and, of course, to the walking organizations.

In addition, thanks to those who participated in the horseshoe throwing contest.

From everyone connected with this annual fun and successful show of small town Americana, our sincere thanks.

Philip C. Rossi
Bethany Beach
4th of July Parade Chairman

Art League thanks those who helped

On behalf of the Art League of Ocean City (ALOC) we would like to thank everyone involved with our first Sand Castle Home Tour. We would not have had such a successful event without their help.

There are too many names to list separately — but as groups we would like to thank the hostesses, parking attendants, advertisers, house artists, donors, the media, the Town of Ocean City and all other ALOC volunteers.

We would especially like to thank the 10 home owners who so generously opened their “sand castles” for us. All of these people made it possible for the ALOC to raise in excess of $10,000 that will go toward the building fund.

The ALOC currently is housed in a small, inefficient facility owned by the Town of Ocean City. Members of the ALOC are grateful to the town but the dream is to build an art facility that will accommodate exhibitions, workshops, storage, classes, etc.

The ALOC has been able to provide varied art experiences for the community under less-than-ideal circumstances. However, outreach to area youth is somewhat limited, as is adequate exhibition space because of building restrictions.

Plans are under way for our second annual Sand Castle Home Tour. We would be happy to receive comments and suggestions from anyone who attended this year. Seeing our event through your eyes will help us make the next effort an even greater success.

E-mail us at ocart@interco.net or call (410) 524-9433. For additional information on the ALOC, visit our Web site at www.artleagueofoceancity.org.

Art League of Ocean City
Sand Castle Home Tour Committee

It’s not representation. It’s about accountability

Adding more members to the Sussex County Council is not necessarily the solution to Sussex County’s uncontrolled growth. Growth in Sussex County is inevitable, and that isn’t all bad. However, new homes bring additional residents and the requirement for additional infrastructure and services.

Sussex County is already behind the power curve on sewer systems. We can not continue to rely on septic systems. At the rate we are going, Sussex and septic will soon become synonyms.

The only rational solution to the county’s increased sewage processing requirements is centralized sewer systems throughout the county. Why not build them, or as a minimum, lay the required pipe, as part of the development process?

Primary roads are already overloaded. Secondary roads are next. The council’s answer to the problem of congestion is to blame the state. Why can’t the county work with the state to improve the highways and roads as part of a coordinated development plan?

Builders and developers should be required to fund a portion of the costs for the support system they are profiting from. After all, they can pass the costs on to buyers, and that is only fair. Newcomers should expect to pay their share of costs for services.

The county commissioners brag that they haven’t raised taxes in years.

Funding county operations on the income from property transfer fees is nothing to brag about. How many miles of sewer lines haven’t been planned, much less built? How much right-of-way has been purchased or road improvements planned? (Oh, I forgot. That’s the state’s problem. Since when is Sussex County not part of the state?)

Growth is good. However, the virtually uncontrolled growth we see today, with little or no thought to the impact of development on services, traffic, etc., is totally unacceptable. It is not only unacceptable. It is irresponsible.

Since the Sussex County commission has final approval authority, it is their collective responsibility to ensure that development will not have an adverse impact on the immediate neighborhood or the county as a whole.

The county council has the authority and ability to take action as appropriate to control growth, and improve support systems and services for all residents of the county.

Sen. Adams sees the representation issue as a power grab by the Republicans. The current county council, supported by Sen. Adams, is concerned about losing power. The Progressive Growth Alliance, which has joined in fray, is concerned about losing money.

Citizens for Better Sussex, a non-partisan group, wants the council to be more responsive to the needs of Eastern Sussex County and has focused on increasing the number of council members. So do I.

However, as a tax payer and voter, I see the issue is really one of accountability. We taxpayers and voters of Sussex County are entitled to rational, reasonable, responsible representation on the county council and we aren’t getting it.

The solution is simple. Write to the council as a whole. Voice your opinion, and if they don’t change their ways, replace them.

Homer A. Purdy