Jul 12th, 2017 · by Jennifer Antonik · Milford Chronicle
With improving Milford in mind, the city recently installed additional pedestrian crosswalks and new trashcans, according to City Manager Eric Norenberg and Public Works Director Mark Whitfield.
Although the city regularly refreshes the markings on crosswalks around town, he added, Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe asked staff to look into additional pedestrian crossing signs.
“There have been concerns about the traffic volumes and speed in downtown expressed by downtown merchants,” Mayor Shupe said. “We want downtown to be viewed as a safe place to visit and walk amongst the shops, restaurants, etc.”
City officials also said they “haven’t had any particular incidents involving pedestrians recently.” Instead, the installation of extra signage and crosswalks are merely for precautionary measures as the city and local area grows.
To address growth, the city recently added pedestrian signs near Marvel Agency and a crosswalk near Lifecycle, a new bicycle shop on S. E. Front Street, among other additions. City leadership is currently working with DelDOT to restripe another crosswalk on N. E. Front Street near Bicentennial Park.
DelDOT will also need to be involved in replacing the pedestrian sign recently ripped up by a tractor trailer driving through town, according to Mr. Noreberg.
Jenn Rowan, co-owner of Lifecycle, supports the new improvements. She said, “Research supports that when accessible pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure exists in a downtown area, the downtown area experiences economic growth. We are excited to see the city of Milford increasing this infrastructure as it is a tangible investment in the town and in the safety of her citizens.”
Mayor Shupe and his team hopes drivers become more aware of pedestrians and where they are likely to cross streets downtown. They also hope pedestrians “key in” on appropriate locations to do so.
Altogether, the crosswalk and signage improvements cost just under $1,000 from the Street General Fund where Mr. Norenberg says all sign installation and replacement funds are expended. DelDOT painted the crosswalks at Washington Street and S.E. 2nd Street and at Walnut Street and Park Street.
City leadership is also conducting an engineering study related to the safety of trucks turning onto Walnut and Washington Streets at three corners in the downtown area after feedback from residents and business owners. Mr. Norenberg said, “The expectation is that we will be able to institute regulations that allow safe turns at these corners and direct larger trucks to alternative routes.”
Unsafe situations can be reported to DelDOT at www.deldot.gov/reportroadcondition or to the city at cityofmilford.com or 302-422-1110.
New trash cans installed
Adding to the improvements seen around town are forty dual-purpose containers set up for both trash and recycling. Mr. Norenberg and Mr. Whitfield said these additions have received positive feedback, as well.
“When I first visited downtown Milford, I had a hard time finding a place to put recyclables,” Mr. Norenberg said. “So, when I heard about a grant opportunity in mid-2016 to promote and expand recycling, I thought it might help us fund additional recycling containers in public places in Milford.”
Up until recently, trash and recycling containers were spread out around town. This became problematic for visitors who might only be near a trash or a recycling container and didn’t know where to find the other when needed, leading to contamination in the recycling containers. Recyclables would also end up in the landfill, according to Mr. Norenberg.
The city set a goal to increase Milford’s recycling intake to help the environment, the city and visitors alike.
“Recycling can help the environment by reducing what ends up in a landfill and by recycling materials into new products, rather than creating products from virgin materials. By collecting more recyclables in the community, we can save money on the fees we pay to dump trash – this benefits all of our customers,” Mr. Norenberg and Mr. Whitfield stated collectively in an email to The Chronicle.
“So, the goal of this initiative was to ensure visitors and residents always have an opportunity to recycle, especially when visiting our public spaces. This fits with our additional education for residents at home and the increased frequency of recycling collection for Milford residents.”
The first forty containers were delivered in May. More will be delivered during the summer. Of the $1,110 it cost per container, the city paid for 50 percent through the city’s Solid Waste Fund while the other 50 percent came from a DNREC grant.
“The planning for this project has been a great cross-departmental collaboration effort,” according to Mr. Norenberg and Mr. Whitfield. “Parks and Recreation and Public Works Departments coordinated on the planning and preparation of the grant request. Now both departments are partnering on the installation and servicing of the containers.”
The older black trash cans previously seen around town will be removed as the new trash cans are placed. The new dual containers don the city of Milford logos and the River town Art town Hometown theme.