Bethany Beach residents oppose Collins Street sidewalk project
BETHANY BEACH, Del. – Residents of the Collins Street neighborhood are pushing back on a town proposal that would create a permanent sidewalk for pedestrians, meant to provide a safer path towards the beach during the summer season.
“This is a beautiful quiet street and this proposal would turn it into a thoroughfare to the beach,” said Collins Street resident Jenn Carter.
The plan would take 3 feet from the north side of the existing street, and 5 from the south and shift the street over 5 feet to the north to create the sidepath, but residents say they feel the project would put pedestrians too close to their homes, and add more volume of traffic on their street.
“There are going to be conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians that I don’t think the pedestrians will anticipate, and it will be difficult for people to get out of their driveways or parking areas,” Carter said.
Carter says a group of residents will be attending the upcoming town council meeting to address their concerns.
“When you have pedestrians on this sidewalk there is an expectation of safety and it’s right for them to have that but for the houses here, folks pulling out of the driveway I think it is going to lead to problems,” Carter said.
She says, for her property and others on the street, it’s unclear where the town’s land starts and their property line starts, which she says is making her anxious about where those lines will be drawn.
“Some of the houses are older they are not McMansions they are old homes and set very close to the road so with someone of them that 5 feet would be very close to the front of their house,” she said.
Houses like those belonging to Boots Sargies, who tells 47 ABC she will be attending the meeting to voice her opposition.
“It is going to increase vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic and bring the road right up to the poles, people will have parking issues and people opening doors into the road for what is really a six-week issue,” Sargies said.
In a statement to 47 ABC, Bethany Beach Town Manager Cliff Graviet says the new plan would still leave 5 feet on the south side and 7 on the north side between the road and houses, and that residents were provided with documents and renderings showing the current plans.
The public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday the 13th.