New Extension of Lewes Bike Trail Concerns Some Homeowners - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Extension of Lewes Bike Trail Concerns Some Homeowners

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

LEWES, Del. -- Some homeowners living along a newly extended section of the Breakwater Junction bike trail in Sussex County say they are concerned about cyclist traffic and safety.

A new 1.5 miles of trail added to the now 7.5 mile Breakwater Junction bike trail in Lewes is open to local and visiting cyclists, making for an easier connection to Delaware's southern coast.

Cycling to Rehoboth or farther south had been a daunting task for brothers Tony and Joe Deanni before Breakwater's extension.

"We used to take Route 1 all the way down so we were dodging buses, dodging cars" said Deanni, who has used the original bike trail for close to a decade whenever vacationing in Lewes.

His brother Joe says the extension is a safer alternative to the highways.

"It's just better because it's safer and easier for when we have a big group going," said Joe Deanni. "So on the trail it's great, it's fantastic."

While a number of people agree the new one and a half mile extension is a safer alternative to traveling on Freeman Highway or Route 1, homeowners living along the narrow Gills Neck Rd. are concerned.

Gills Neck Rd. is where the newly extended trail begins. Cyclists used to take this road to get to Lewes from Route 9 near Cape Henlopen High School. Gills Neck is a narrow, one lane road with no shoulder lane.

Mary Anne Murray lives on the corner of Gills Neck and Rodaline Ave. She says without a shoulder lane and the added traffic from the extended trails, accidents could be around the corner.

"We love that this area is more bike friendly with the network of trails," said Murray, "but on this particular area Gills Neck Road it's heavily congested."

One of Murray's main concerns is the speed at which cyclists exit the trail and the unsuspecting driver heading on Gills Neck Rd. who may not see the cyclist, and vice versa.

"Our concern is that at the bottom of the trail on each side there isn't any barrier to just flying out into the road," she said.

Murray says she's hoping that cyclists and drivers can co-exist with the neighborhood's new addition.

Experienced cyclists like the Deanni brothers say they prepare visible and audible safety measures for their large bike outings as much as possible.

"I know people are on vacation, they're not paying attention. That's why we always make everybody have bells or we put flags on our bikes, stuff like that," said Joe Deanni.

Delaware's Department of Transportation estimates that 50,000 people used the breakwater junction trail last year.

DelDot says there could be plans to further extend the trail across the Rehoboth Canal to Rehoboth Ave. 

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