Round­abouts pro­posed

Bike group seeks traf­fic cir­cles on Or­chard Road

Newark Post - - Front Page - By KARIE SIM­MONS ksim­mons@ches­pub.com

A bike ad­vo­cacy group in Ne­wark thinks the city should in­stall traf­fic cir­cles at two in­ter­sec­tions on Or­chard Road to slow down cars and give cy­clists a safer route to travel.

On Tues­day, Susan Grasso and Mark Deshon of Bike­Newark pre­sented their idea to the city’s traf­fic com­mit­tee, which is com­prised of city of­fi­cials, Ne­wark police of­fi­cers, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive from WILMAPCO and a res­i­dent.

While the com­mit­tee has no de­ci­sion-mak­ing power, it is of­ten tasked with weigh­ing in on pro­posed projects and mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions to city coun­cil.

Grasso and Deshon told the com­mit­tee they would like to see two traf­fic cir­cles, also called round­abouts, at the in­ter­sec­tions of Sun­set and Or­chard Road and at Winslow and Or­chard Road. At each of th­ese road junc­tions, Grasso said, traf­fic would move in one di­rec­tion around a cen­tral is­land, with the goal to slow traf­fic through the neigh­bor­hood and get cy­clists off busy South Col­lege Av­enue.

“Give them their own route that’s safe and com­fort­able and con­ve­nient,” said Grasso, an avid cy­clist who lives on Or­chard Road.

Deshon added that Bike­Newark is try­ing to cre­ate a low-stress bike net­work in the city.

“For us, it’s part of a larger con­cept,” he said.

In or­der to gauge pub­lic opin­ion and func­tion­al­ity, Grasso sug­gested con­struct­ing a pop-up traf­fic cir­cle on Or­chard Road that would run for about a week, giv­ing mo­torists, pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and city of­fi­cials the abil­ity to test out the de­sign be- fore pos­si­bly mov­ing for­ward with a more per­ma­nent in­stal­la­tion.

Deputy Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Tim Fliasky said the city could use old spare tires to cre­ate the makeshift round­about and in­stall tem­po­rary sig­nage dur­ing the pop-up event. He added that vol­un­teers could even paint the tires dif­fer­ent col­ors and plant flow­ers to make them more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing.

“It will fit. It will work, from en­gi­neer­ing per­spec­tive,” Fi­lasky said.

Ne­wark Police Lt. Den­nis Ani­u­nas, how­ever, wasn’t so sure. He said he is con­cerned about cars crash­ing into the tires and peo­ple mov­ing them around, cre­at­ing a dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tion for both driv­ers and cy­clists.

“The tem­po­rary one both­ers me more than a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion,” he said.

Fi­lasky as­sured Ani­u­nas the tires wouldn’t just be stacked on top of one an­other, they would be prop­erly se­cured.

The com­mit­tee de­cided to ta­ble a for­mal rec­om­men­da­tion to coun­cil pend­ing more in­for­ma­tion, but gave Grasso and Deshon the ver­bal goa­head to start en­gag­ing the im­me­di­ate neigh­bors and even­tu­ally come back with more de­tails re­gard­ing de­sign and dates for a pos­si­ble pop-up event.

“It will be re­ally fun to en­gage the com­mu­nity in help­ing to de­sign it,” Grasso said.

NE­WARK POST PHOTO BY KARIE SIM­MONS

Bike­Newark is propos­ing a traf­fic cir­cle at this in­ter­sec­tion of Winslow and Or­chard Road, and also where Or­chard Road meets Sun­set Road.

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