Posts Tagged ‘Junction-Breakwater Trail’

Weeds and wildflowers on neglected trail

July 31, 2009
Weeds overtake the trail.

Weeds overtake the trail.

What if they built a trail and forgot to take care of it?

That is exactly what has happened along the first mile of the Junction and Breakwater Trail in Lewes.

Miscommunication between two state agencies, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Division of Parks and Recreation and Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), has resulted in a mess along Gill’s Neck Road.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why no one has complained about the condition of the trail. I sure did.

Telephone calls to the two agencies set off a chain-reaction of other calls. At first, it didn’t appear the left hand knew what the right hand was doing.

When DNREC stopped maintaining the 1-mile section, it assumed DelDOT would pick it up. It didn’t happen. The last time the grass was cut was sometime around Memorial Day.

Since then, weeds and wildflowers have overtaken the trail. Only two tracks, cut by walkers and bicyclists who frequent the link between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, remain between the underbrush.

At some point during the week, someone did cut grass along part of the trail.

Officials at the two agencies say the lines of communication are now open and the maintenance plan that was supposed to be in place will soon be a reality. No one is sure just when the trail will be restored.
Division of Parks and Recreation staff maintains the other four miles or so of the trail. DelDOT staff will be responsible for the section along Gill’s Neck Road.

The Junction and Breakwater Trail is a gem, and one of the few downstate trails provided for biking, running and walking.

Let’s hope the acronym agencies can get their acts together and take care of the trail in the manner it deserves.

Two tracks on the trail.

Two tracks on the trail.

Scary: My annual Route 1 ride

July 16, 2009

If I were king of the world, I would do away with the bike lane on Route 1.

In its place I would construct an actual bike lane – not one with gravel as its base – away from traffic so bicyclists and pedestrians could safely get from one point to another in the Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach areas.

As an avid cyclist, I do everything in my power to stay off Route 1 as much as possible. It’s not safe – bottom line.

Although the lane is well marked, nice and smooth and wide, it is also a bus lane and a turning lane.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Junction-Breakwater Trail. It is a viable route from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach for those who are riding fat-tire bikes, not those riding road bikes.

The trail is heavily used and has probably saved lives by taking people off Route 1.

Yet, any given hour on any given day you can find bicyclists riding along the highway. Most ride without helmets.

Thank God for Sussex Cyclists and DelDOT for providing summer safety checkpoints to alert those riders to the rules of the road. Once again, their efforts have saved lives.

Each year I take a ride from Lewes to Rehoboth Beach along Route 1 to access the situation. My annual ride this summer was Wednesday, July 15, between 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Although I consider myself an experienced rider with tens of thousands of miles under my belt, it was a scary experience. I’m also not a timid rider and am not the least afraid of riding in traffic.

On at least four occasions, motorists turned off right in front of me instead of waiting for me to cross the turnoff.

To be perfectly honest I don’t know how some of the bicyclists I see riding along Route 1, without helmets and wearing IPods, get from Point A to Point B in one piece.

Even DelDOT officials warn people to stay off Route 1 as much as possible.

So what is my assessment for 2009?

Route 1 is still not a safe place for anything without a motor, and the jury is even out on just how safe it is for motor traffic.