Safety concerns addressed surrounding Delaware bus routes

Delaware’s mass transit agency, DART, says a study shows there is nothing wrong with re-routing buses along some of Wilmington’s more narrow streets.

The study was authorized as part of DART’s plan to divert 18 bus routes per day from King Street along Rodney Square to instead utilize portions of Orange, Shipley, 9th and 10th streets. 

The goal of the Downtown Wilmington Circulation Study, which began in 2008, was to reduce some of the traffic and noise now created by 1,170 buses that stop daily at Rodney Square.  The proposal would reduce that number to 787. 

More than 20 hearings and public workshops were held over a three-year period.  Based on concerns expressed  at some of those sessions, the state commissioned Parsons Brinckerhoff, a traffic engineering firm, to conduct a study.  It found that there were “no significant negative transportation – related safety findings” associated with the proposed changes, although it does recommend inspections and minor improvements at the vacant garage on Shipley Streets between 8th and 9th Streets, should more buses be sent in that direction. 

“Based on the conclusions and recommendations set forth in the study, DelDOT supports the proposed route changes, provided recommendations in the study are implemented,” Delaware Secretary of Transportation Shailen Bhatt said.  

Other proposed improvements would include additional signage, striping, crosswalks, and the removal of some parking spaces along the narrow streets to accommodate more buses and riders.

According to Bhatt, the earliest the route changes could take effect would be June of 2012, after proposed improvements are made and the additional public comment period is held. 

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