Reader offers thoughts on safety in Bethany

Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to the mayor, town manager and council members of Bethany Beach and was sent to the Coastal Point for publication.

Last year, I came to one of the public meetings and expressed my concerns for the safety of bikers and pedestrians on Pennsylvania Avenue. I am back again this summer, and my concerns are even stronger.

It is your duty to protect the safety of the residents and visitors of Bethany Beach. I am sure you know that is your No. 1 duty. It is more important than protecting home values and the aesthetic of Bethany.

You simply have to take action.

In last year’s meeting, there was a lot of agreement and many comments like “We looked at that idea before,” or “the State has control.” These are excuses and not solutions for your town.

Once again, here are some thoughts.

(1) This is absolutely the best. Go to one-way south on Pennsylvania south of Garfield. This puts all the northbound on Route 1 and creates space for designated bike path both directions and a good size walking lane as well.

(2) Use the parking spots on one side of the street. Create bike and walk lane with the space. I am sure you can sustain or create another revenue source. One simple solution: raise parking fees across the board to increase revenue to make up for the shortfall.

(3) A stop sign at every intersection. You all know darn well the speed limit should not be 25. This will slow everyone down and make people go to Route 1 because of frustration. (This is mandatory on the south side of Garfield.)

(40 Petition the State to make it a city road and not under state control, and lower the speed limit to 15.

The State being in control is no excuse. Find a lawyer that can navigate our needs.

I live at 9 South Pennsylvania. It is simply frightening to sit on my porch and watch people go by on busy walk/bike days at 25 mph. You know someone is going to get hurt or worse, and it will likely be a kid, and the driver doing 25 will be innocent. The kid will be on a bike or a little guy/girl walking was out on the street. And they were out on street dodging other walkers and bikers. When that happens, it is on you.

You all did a nice job on Atlantic. Pennsylvania needs it much more than Atlantic.

A couple things that are very disappointing: Last year you said the traffic coming north will no longer be able to merge off of Route 1. That would have made people stay on Route 1, hopefully much longer. It was a good step (not enough) in the right direction. What happened and why didn’t you do something else?

You did a nice job with Atlantic, but the job could have been much better by doing the same on Ashwood (walk and bike path) and putting up a sign redirecting bikes to go right to Atlantic. At a minimum, please put that sign up now — simple prominent sign saying “Bike Traffic” and a right arrow. I would also recommend after the sign is up, to use the cops on bikes to direct bike traffic that way every Saturday and Sunday until people get used to it.

You as a group need to come up with a three-step plan to get Pennsylvania Avenue safe by next summer, and you need to do Step 1 with directing to Atlantic now and have excellent Steps 2 and 3.

Thank you for reading this, and please make something happen.

Sean Belanger
Clearwater Beach, Fla.