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New timed radar signs, crosswalk seek to make Fenwick roads safer

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http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20100112/DW01/1120318

FENWICK ISLAND — Using a recently-awarded $8,000 federal grant, the police department plans to install two radar-detecting signs at either end of the town in an effect to boost safety.

Situated between Fenwick Island State Park, where the speed limit is 55, and Ocean City, where it is 45, Chief William Boyden said motorists frequently ignore the town’s 35 miles per hour signs.

“The problem we have is we have vehicles coming from two different directions where the speed limit is higher,” he said. “We’ve tried to get the state to put in bigger signs, but there’s only so much you can do.”

Boyden said the town was awarded the $8,000 grant through the state Criminal Justice Council, although the money was part of last year’s federal stimulus package. The new signs should be installed by next month.

Both signs will be powered by solar panels and will feature LED lighting, he said. A radar sensor will be able to detect how fast motorists are driving and warn them to slow down.

“Hopefully, the brighter signs will catch their attention,” Boyden said.

Although there has only been one traffic fatality during his seven years on the job, he said the town sees cases each summer of pedestrians and bicyclists colliding with cars, in addition to the speeding problem.

The new speed enforcement is just one of several recent features to improve safety in the town.

Last year’s highway safety program, which distributed brochures encouraging motorists and cyclists to share the road, will continue in 2010, Boyden said.

Last month, the state Department of Transportation installed four new timed crosswalks, replacing the traditional “stop” and “walk” signs at several busy intersections, including Route 1 and Dagsboro Street.

“I’m pretty excited about that; I noticed it as I was walking up to the beach with my grandchildren,” said Councilwoman Vickie Carmean. “It’ll help, especially in the summer.”

DelDOT spokesperson Tina Shockley said the new signs provide more information to pedestrians, so they know how long they have to cross the highway.

“Having those signals redone is part of a statewide effort to upgrade pedestrian crossings,” she said.

Although DelDOT had not notified him of the change, Town Manager Win Abbott all the measures benefit the townspeople.

“It absolutely makes the town safer,” Abbott said.

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