A new Bike and Walker Safety Committee has been launched by Town of South Bethany, and transportation safety — including more protection at crosswalks, directional signage and clearing rights of way for bikers and walkers — was a new topic on the town agenda. Communications and Public Relations Council Liaison Edie Donder is spearheading the local effort to make passage easier for all.

South Bethany Town Council convened last week to talk about ongoing sea level rise issues. The council will entertain two proposals from Anchor QEA, the original engineering firm which provided consulting six years ago on stormwater, and GMB Engineering (George, Miles, Buhr, LLC) with new ideas on controlling water.

“We have new bids from both Anchor and GMB,” said Mayor Tim Saxton. “The second bid from Anchor came in the evening before our council meeting, right on the deadline. Our Chairman of Canal Water Quality Derek Abbott reminded us some work was done six years ago and he thought it was important to look at both firms.” South Bethany must apply for ARPA funding very soon if it hopes to gain federal funding for stormwater and sea rise management.

“There are cost considerations with each engineering firm and quality of the work to review, as well as the return on our investment to be considered first,” said Saxton.

“Climate change is here; you can argue about what is causing it; but no question we have climate impact now in South Bethany,” added Saxton. “I drove from Dewey to Bethany over the weekend and the back bay was already pretty full.”

The South Bethany community is impacted by water coming from both Bay and Ocean sources.

Bike safety, rights of way

Saxton also complimented the work of Town Manager Maureen Hartman and Public Works Manager Jon Stiffler in clearing access for riders and walkers in South Bethany. “People must respect the rights of way and trim back their shrubs. I wanted to thank Jon in particular for his team’s great work on the canal,” he said at the council meeting.

“People really enjoy biking and walking here,” said Mayor Saxton in a follow-up interview with Coastal Point.

“The roads here are not really wide enough to accommodate larger vehicles and bikers and walkers,” he noted. “Our public-works team really takes notice when things are blocking the rights of way. People are allowing their shrubs to over-grow the roadways. We want bikers and walkers to be able to get off the roadway (and onto berms) with open edges.”

Town of South Bethany owns many of the canal ends. “We need to take the lead on bike and walking safety and trim where we see overgrowth or shrubbery,” said Saxton.

Stiffler reported on several actions to open these rights of way:

• Removing an old dock from Plymouth canal end;

• Replacing eroded stone at the end of S. Anchorage;

• Pulling four junipers from canal end at Canal and Tamarack;

• Repairing street cut at Canal and S. 8th;

• Trimming overhanging vegetation.

And many more public works duties impacting local townspeople.

“We can all improve cutting our vegetation back from the edge of the road,” reminded Saxton.

Staff Reporter

Mike has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern and is a 25-year member of the National Press Club. He has won four national writing awards for editorial work. He is a native of McLean, Va., and lives in Millville.