Bike Stations raise concerns

Bike stations draw praise, ire

Business owners say parking areas crowd downtown Rehoboth Beach intersection

By Ryan Mavity

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Improvement or eyesore?

New bike parking stations at Baltimore Av­enue and First Street in Rehoboth Beach are supposed to be an improvement, but adja­cent business owners are crying foul.

The stations are rectangular, with flower boxes forming a border defining the edges of the parking area. Richard Scott, owner of J. Conn Scott, said the stations have turned into an awful eyesore that is hurting traffic flow at the busy intersection. Scott said even though a sign says no mopeds, people still park their mopeds there.

He said the station blocks access for people who pick up furniture at the store. J. Conn Scott Manager Lisa Fulton said the number of delivery trucks that use the same area makes the new configuration especially cum­bersome. She said when delivery trucks park there, it blocks the street for motorists trying to turn, and they have to maneuver around 

the trucks to see.

Fulton said she is not against bikes and that a simple bike rack would have been fine.

“The other stuff is overkill,” she said.

J. Conn Scott has started a pe­tition to have the bike racks re­moved. So far, nine signatures have been collected.

On the other hand, Commis­sioner Mark Hunker, who owns Eden Restaurant and JAM Bistro next to The Wooden Indian, said he’s had good response about the stations from patrons. While scooter parking at the stations has been a problem, Hunker said he thinks the city needs more bike parking stations in centrally located areas.

He said because of the new­ness of the stations, people aren’t quite sure how to react. Over time, he said, they will come to like them.

The new parking stations were one of the changes called for in the city’s bicycle/pedestri­an master plan. There are two stations on Baltimore Avenue, one directly in front of J. Conn Scott at 27 Baltimore Ave. and another adjacent to Dinah Lin­go’s Grocery. To install both sta­tions, the city eliminated two parking spaces.

Commissioner Pat Coluzzi, chairwoman of the city’s streets and transportation committee, said the two stations cost $9,800 and were paid for with state grant money the city got for the bicycle/pedestrian plan.

Former Commissioner Bitsy Cochran, who owns Monograms Unlimited, around the corner from J. Conn Scott at 102 N. First St., said the city should not have put bike racks at one of the city’s busiest and most dangerous in­tersections. She said while she likes bikes and is a cyclist herself, she does not believe the location is well chosen. Cochran said she was con­cerned the stations were put to­gether haphazardly, and that the flower boxes, in particular, were not what the commissioners en­visioned when they voted to move forward with the plan.

Moped and scooter parking at bike stations was another con­cern, Cochran said. She said the first night the stations were up, nine mopeds parked there. Cochran said the way the sta­tions were constructed leads moped riders to think they can park there. Fewer mopeds are parking at the bike stations since the city put up signs, but Cochran said she did not think the city should fine people for parking there. Most moped rid­ers are from out of town and do not know better, she said.

Like Fulton, Cochran won­dered why the city could not have used simple bike racks. She said the only problem with traf­fic is trucks delivering to Dinah Lingo Grocery, which park al­most in the middle of the street.

“I think it wasn’t put together well,” Cochran said. “I know the committee is trying to do some­thing nice. I’m more concerned of the safety issue. That’s one of the most dangerous corners in town.”

Coluzzi said while scooter parking has been problematic, overall, people like the stations.

“They’re full all the time,” Coluzzi said.

Coluzzi said the stations have created a place for bicyclists to park for shopping at Dinah Lin­go’s Grocery or going to nearby restaurants. Up to now, bicyclists had to lock their bicycles to parking meters or signs, both of which are illegal in Rehoboth.

Coluzzi said the stations would be evaluated at the end of the year to determine whether to make them permanent. She said that could include whether to keep the stations as is or put curbing around them. Coluzzi said the issue of scooter parking would be discussed at the next commissioners’ workshop.




RYAN MAVITY PHOTO

TWO NEW BIKE PARKING STATIONS at Baltimore Avenue and First Street have raised the ire of adjacent business owners, who say the stations are unattrac­tive and create safety concerns.