Downes Elementary School is located along Casho Mill Road in Newark, DE. Upgrades to pedestrian and bicycle facilities were needed to enhance the safety of students walking and biking to and from school along the corridor.
Not only is this corridor essential for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, but it is also a primary north/south route for vehicles traveling to and from Maryland. Although the speed limit is posted at 30 MPH with additional school zone signage for a reduced speed limit, speeding was a concern along this route due to its relatively wide typical section.
HOW WE HELPED
McCormick Taylor provided design services for upgrading pedestrian crossings and restriping along Casho Mill Road. The project provides refuge islands at four intersections, including a new crossing at the school entrance, and a striped buffer between the travel lane and bike lane. The new configuration allows students to continue along the bicycle and pedestrian route along Casho Mill Road and cross the road directly at the school entrance. Two additional landscaped islands were included, and the restriping reduced the travel lane width to 10’ in an effort to reduce vehicle speeds through the area. The curb ramps and pedestrian refuge islands followed ADA design criteria within an urban environment that featured varying access tie-in points to adjacent properties including concrete and wooden staircases, steep slopes, and existing sidewalk.
During design, McCormick Taylor coordinated with the City of Newark for the island locations and features. As a community-driven project under the Safe Routes to School Program, extensive coordination and conceptual design planning were performed with school officials, parents, legislators, City officials, and adjacent property owners to ensure that the project would address the most critical needs of the students and the traveling public.
The improvements have enhanced the appearance of the corridor and provided safer pedestrian and bicycle access for a bicycle-friendly community. The project also implemented traffic calming measures by installing raised medians and narrowing the travel lanes. The school has seen the success of the project on its bike-to-school days and its completion may encourage students within the community to choose an alternative that is safer and healthier for traveling to and from school.
2023 Conceptor Award (<$1M), ACEC Delaware Engineering Excellence Awards