The Delaware Department of Transportation has stated that the widening of SR52 (Kennett Pike) at SR82 is necessary to make the intersection safer since motorists tend to pass left-turning cars in the right-turn-only lane. The intersection has been the site of 73 accidents between 2004 and 2008, as well as two fatalities in the same accident in 2008. Residents and stakeholders are worried that the current plan could compromise the scenic and residential character of the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway, the state’s only national scenic byway, said Sen. Mike Katz (D-Centreville). They say that reducing the speed limit from 50 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour is a better solution than widening the road.
The current plan calls for adding lights, and increasing capacity to 3 lanes on both the northbound and southbound sides of SR 52. Dedicated left turn lanes, along with bike lanes (between the right turn only lanes and thru lanes) will be added. While this does provide for the bicyclist’s needs if there was no other alternative, we believe there are other design options available that would safely address VMT, bicycle/ped safety, and preserve area character. Among them is a Bicycle-Friendly Roundabout.
A public hearing is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hagley Soda House to hear the community’s concerns and present the SR52/SR82 intersection’s issues and proposed design solutions. Delaware cyclists are STRONGLY urged to participate. The meeting will be followed by the Kennett Pike Association’s annual meeting. “I think we all know the intersection is dangerous and something needs to be done to improve safety,” said John Danzeisen, president of the Kennett Pike Association. “But I think it’s possible to make those improvements in a way the preserves that unique character of the road that makes it a National Historic Byway”.