Newark Branch NAACP asks state officials to install crosswalks and bicycle safety measures on Cleveland Avenue

pedestrianlightDear Governor Markell, Mayor Sierer, Ms. Cohan and Mr. Zegeye,

We are writing to express our concern about the lack of pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety on Cleveland Avenue in Newark, particularly in the area near Alder Creek.

The recently redeveloped Cleveland Heights public housing project, now known as the Alder Creek community, will be available for affordable housing in the near future. With 56 units containing a mix of one, two, three and four bedrooms, Alder Creek will soon become home to families with children. A planned community center that will offer City of Newark Parks and Recreation programs that will also draw more people into the area, including pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic.

However, the intersection of McKees Lane at Cleveland Avenue has no crosswalk and is a dangerous road crossing with a history of vehicle and pedestrian collisions. Cleveland Avenue does not have a bike lane and is a very dangerous area for bicycles.

Safe options for crossing Cleveland Avenue for those who want to go to Main Street, Newark High School, Newark Library, or the College Square Shopping Center require pedestrians to go far out of their way. There are no safe options for bicycling to or from Alder Creek. Those who enter from the west or leave heading east by car will also have unsafe ingress/egress.

On April 24, 2009 Governor Markell issued Executive Order Six creating a complete streets policy for Delaware. This Executive Order called on all state agencies to deliberately plan, design, build, and maintain streets for all modes of transportation, including walking and bicycling.

Those who live in affordable housing, public housing and subsidized housing communities should be able to enjoy the health and safety benefits of Delaware’s Complete Streets policy, including the future residents of Alder Creek.

The Newark Branch NAACP therefore asks the State of Delaware, DelDOT, the City of Newark and WILMAPCO to work together to transform Cleveland Avenue into a complete street. Specifically, we ask for the following:

  1. A pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and McKees Lane;
  2. Designated bike lanes in both traffic directions on Cleveland Avenue; and
  3. A traffic light at the intersection of Mckees Lane and Cleveland Avenue to allow vehicles to safely pull out of McKees lane in both directions.

Traffic-related dangers from incomplete streets create barriers that prevent children and families from engaging in healthy outdoor activities, including walking and bicycling for fun or to nearby destinations.

Complete streets provide children and families with opportunities to walk, bike and play in a safe environment. More children are likely to walk or bike to school when there are safe street crossings. Streets that provide dedicated space for bicycling and walking help kids get physical activity and gain independence.

Improving safe walking and bicycling areas are important steps to addressing childhood obesity. For the first time in U.S. history, the current generation of young people could live sicker and die younger than their parents’ generation. Childhood obesity is plaguing African-American populations at a rate that is disproportionately higher than the rest of the country.

The Newark Housing Authority has worked for close to a decade to rehabilitate the Cleveland Heights neighborhood, including the expenditure of substantial state funds to conduct a brownfields site investigation and cleanup of the areas impacted by the City of Newark’s former municipal landfill and wastewater treatment plant. While the risks of environmental contamination to public health have been the focus of the new Alder Creek community design, the health and safety of the community within the built environment must still be addressed.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Alder Creek and to transform Cleveland Avenue into a complete street.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Hayman

President

cc

State Representative Paul Baumbach, 411 Legislative Ave. Dover, DE 19901

State Representative John Kowalko, 411 Legislative Ave. Dover, DE 19901

State Senator David Sokola, 411 Legislative Ave. Dover, DE 19901

Newark City Councilman Mark Morehead, 1 Swallow Cir. Newark, DE 19711

Newark City Councilman Todd Ruckle, 16 Adelene Dr. Newark, DE 19711

Newark City Councilman Rob Gifford, 924 Devon Dr. Newark, DE 19711

Newark City Councilwoman Marge Hadden, 45 Sunset Rd. Newark, DE 19711

Newark City Councilman Luke Chapman, 28 Wakefield Dr. Newark, DE 19711

Newark City Councilman Stu Markham, 4 Beagle Club Way Newark, DE 19711

Marene Jordan, Executive Director, Newark Housing Authority, 313 East Main Street Newark, DE 19711

 

Executive Order Six – Creating a Complete Streets Policy

April 24, 2009

TO: HEADS OF ALL STATE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

RE: CREATING A COMPLETE STREETS POLICY

WHEREAS, walking is the most fundamental mode of physical transportation; and

WHEREAS, bicycling promotes healthier lifestyles; and

WHEREAS, walking and bicycling are simple fitness activities that can prevent disease, improve physical health and assist in fostering mental well-being; and

WHEREAS, by walking and bicycling you help to reduce greenhouse gas emission by reducing the time you spend in your car; and

WHEREAS, my administration, along with the Delaware Department of Transportation, promotes the walkability and bicycle friendliness of communities through principles such as context sensitive design, mobility-friendly design, mixed-use and infill developments; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware Department of Transportation has developed user friendly design standards for pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware Department of Transportation has the opportunity to create and improve transportation facilities for all users by implementing these principles and standards through its projects; and

WHEREAS, the Advisory Council on Pedestrian Awareness and Walkability and the Delaware Bicycle Council serve as advisors to the Delaware Department of Transportation; and

WHEREAS, a Complete Streets Policy means deliberately planning, designing, building, and maintaining streets for all modes of transportation;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby declare and order the following:

  1. The Delaware Department of Transportation (“DelDOT”) shall enhance its multi-modal initiative by creating a Complete Streets Policy that will promote safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and bus riders of all ages to be able to safely move along and across the streets of Delaware;
  2. The Delaware Bicycle Council, the Advisory Council on Pedestrian Awareness and Walkability, and the Elderly & Disabled Transit Advisory Council shall assist DelDOT with this endeavor;
  3. A Complete Streets Policy should:

(a) Solidify DelDOT’s objective of creating a comprehensive, integrated, connected transportation network that allows users to choose between different modes of transportation;

(b)Establish that any time DelDOT builds or maintains a roadway or bridge, the agency must whenever possible accommodate other methods of transportation.

(c)Focus not just on individual roads, but changing the decision-making and design process so that all users are considered in planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining all roadways;

(d) Recognize that all streets are different and user needs should be balanced in order to ensure that the solution will enhance the community;

(e) Apply to both new and retrofit projects, including planning, design, maintenance, and operations for the entire right-of-way;

(f) Ensure that any exemption to the Complete Streets Policy is specific and documented with supporting data that indicates the basis for the decision;

(g) Direct the use of the latest and best design standards as they apply to bicycle, pedestrian, transit and highway facilities;

  1. DelDOT, with the assistance of the advisory councils, shall create the Policy and deliver it the Governor for consideration no later than September 30, 2009.

APPROVED this 24th date of April, 2009

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