Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Task Force Releases Plan - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Route 1 Pedestrian Safety Task Force Releases Plan

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - A pedestrian safety task force for Route 1 between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach released its plan of action Tuesday.

The task force is chaired by Delaware House Speaker Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf.

This stretch of the Coastal Highway had 14 pedestrian injuries and five fatalities between 2011 and August of 2013. The task force is a response to the dangerous conditions. Last summer was particularly deadly.

"The problem was we were having pedestrians getting hit by cars and they were getting killed," Schwartzkopf said. "So I had state police come down and give us a briefing."

After discussing the options, the task force decided on a list of changes to make.

Some actions include a "flashing caution pedestrian sign," more crosswalks and sidewalks, fixing road signs and adding "HAWK beacons," or lights that are triggered by someone crossing the street.

One other important addition will be increasing light fixtures throughout the highway.

"If you light the area up, you give.... the driver of the car a little bit more time to see someone who's actually breaking the law by stepping into the roadway," Schwartzkopf said. "They have more time to react, maybe we'll have a near misses verses a fatality."

Rehoboth Beach resident Richard Honaker walks up and down Route 1 all the time, and said he thinks pedestrians needs to take responsibility as well.

"The way I look at it if you're crossing the street and you get hit by a car, Route 1 is pretty much a straight shot, it's kind of hard not to notice a six-ton vehicle coming at you at 70M mph," he explained.

But others, like Lewes resident Andrea Kennedy, think the roads are just too dangerous and need to be fixed.

"There's too much traffic and there's so many lights and so many ways you can turn on and off," she said. "It's pretty dangerous."

Schwartzkopf said the project is 80 percent federally-funded, and the state still needs to come up with the final 20 percent. No matter what though, he wants to make this happen as soon as possible.


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