Lighting, crosswalks recommended for Route 1 at the beaches

By Amy Cherry 3:57pm, February 11, 2014 - Updated 5:22pm, February 11, 2014
A legislative task force is out with its recommendations to improve safety along Route 1 by the beaches.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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"Every fatality that we've had has been in the dark," says House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf.

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That's why Schwartzkopf, who chaired a legislative task force on Route 1 safety, is pushing for increased overhead lighting along Route 1 from Lewes to Dewey Beach.

The problems lie, partially, in his district, and he tells WDEL overhead lighting is his number one priority among the safety recommendations.

"People wouldn't just run people over on purpose. They're hitting them because the pedestrians are making a mistake; they're violating the law, however, motorists don't have enough time to see 'em, prior to hitting them," says Schwartzkopf.

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The 27-page report also calls for bike-friendly rumble strips and more continuous stretches of sidewalk.

Critics say improved safety efforts could lead to increased back-ups along Route 1, a roadways that's already extremely busy during the summer months. Schwartzkopf says while tourism is the lifeblood down there, there has to be trade-off, and you have to provide a means for pedestrians to cross safely.

"But in the areas that pedestrians normally cross. DelDOT had a plan they wanted to come in and just throw crosswalks at every intersection up and down the road, and I was opposed to that, that would back-up traffic," he said.

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Schwartzkopf says instead, the task force has identified eight spots up and down the highway to install crosswalks with ADA compliant lights.

A timeline for these safety improvements remains unknown.

Over three years, five people were killed and 14 were hurt along Route 1.

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