A special meeting of the City of Delaware Parking and Safety Committee was called Monday to address growing concerns from Hull Drive residents about traffic volume. City Engineer Bill Ferrigno presented the findings from a traffic study conducted in September, and residents were given the opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts.
Vice Mayor Kent Shafer began the meeting by saying, “We realize that no matter what we do, there are going to be negative consequences. People are going to be inconvenienced … our goal tonight is to try to find a solution. My position as chairman is that doing nothing is not an option.”
Ferrigno reported on the findings of the study. He said an average daily traffic (ADT) count of 2,981 cars traveling on Hull Drive in a 24-hour period was reported. By comparison, other nearby roads such as Hawthorne Boulevard, Beech Drive, Somerset Road, and Belle Avenue saw an average of 1,289, 600, 1,503 and 1,565 cars, respectively.
Located on the south side of Delaware, Hull Drive is often used by residents and visitors of Delaware as a shortcut between Liberty Road and U.S. Route 23. With the Delaware Community Plaza located just south of Hull Drive, the road is advantageous for travelers heading to the stores and restaurants that call the plaza home.
The study showed that of the 3,326 cars that entered or exited the north access point of the plaza (located between Chipotle and Baymont by Wyndham Delaware) over a two-day span, nearly 60 percent had either made a right turn into the plaza from West Hull Drive or turned left out of the plaza to travel down Hull Drive. Those two-day figures were taken on a Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 4 to 6:45 p.m.
Of the 2,981 ADT taken for Hull Drive on Sept. 4 and 5, 86 and 84 percent of those cars had traveled to or from the Delaware Community Plaza.
Ferrigno said he believes those statistics represent the highest amount of what he called “cut-through” traffic in the city.
While the study validated the concerns over volume along Hull Drive, the average speeds of those cars proved not to be much of an issue. According to the study, 85 percent of all vehicles clocked were traveling at 30 miles per hour or less, which Ferrigno said was “very typical for virtually any neighborhood in town.”
Various pilot studies were discussed that could deter drivers from turning left out of the plaza and onto Hull Drive, including changing the lawful entry and exiting of the access point by installing different signage or pavement striping.
But while discussions about different courses of actions were had, the matter of what the ideal volume is proved difficult to quantify.
Delaware City Councilman Chris Jones, who also serves on the Parking and Safety Committee, said he believed the matter should be discussed by City Council, because of what the implications moving forward with a pilot for Hull Drive might have on other areas of Delaware.
Jones said the decision would be “opening a whole big can of worms,” and other council members would surely hear from constituents about similar issues in their own wards.
At Jones’ suggestion, a unanimous vote was taken to move the discussion to City Council. The issue is tentatively scheduled to be discussed at the Feb. 11 meeting.