Milton plans road improvements

ByShannon J. Cortes

Sep 9, 2022

Milton officials have planned a series of changes to the city’s transportation and pedestrian network in an effort to improve safety.

At the city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 12, officials will discuss two resolutions directed to the Delaware Department of Transportation, which maintains most of Milton’s major roads.

The first asks DelDOT to allow the city to turn the surrender sign at the intersection of Federal Street and Union Street into a stop sign. This would turn this intersection into a three-way stop, with stop signs already at the Front Street intersection going to Union Street and the lane that leads to Irish Eyes.

The second resolution is a request that DelDOT reduce the speed limit on Lavinia Street from Wagamons Pond to the rails to the trails, on Front Street from Cave Neck Road to Collins Street and on Harbeson Road from the rails to the trails to Sand Hill Road .

But these changes are just the beginning.

Earlier this summer, the city received $310,000 from Sussex County in excess revenue on real estate transfers, and the city matched that grant with $210,000 of its own.

City Manager Kristy Rogers said much of the money will go towards improving intersections and pedestrian ramps to make them more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The biggest of these intersection improvements is one that has long been on the city’s radar: the intersection of Chestnut, Wharton and Atlantic streets. Currently, the intersection is a two-way stop, with no stops for Chestnut Street traffic. City officials want to turn this intersection into a four-way stop due to visibility issues that prevent motorists from seeing oncoming traffic. To complicate matters, while Chestnut Street is a city-maintained street, Atlantic and Wharton Streets are not, which technically means the intersection is DelDOT controlled. Rogers said the city is working closely with the department on proposed intersection improvements.

Rogers said the city has a year to use the funding and the engineering work will likely take six weeks. She said once the engineering is complete, the city will put the project up for competition.

“We’re going to do the ADA ramps and make sure they’re up to today’s standards. It might take a bit of realigning that intersection, but until we have an engineering plan, I’m not sure what we’re going to look at,” Rogers said.

Besides that intersection, Rogers said additional ADA ramps will be added downtown, though locations are yet to be determined and the number depends on funding. The city also plans to paint 10 crosswalks and rebrand them as art crosswalks. The project is funded by a grant the city received from AARP in cooperation with DelDOT.

Crosswalks include Union Street to Tobin Drive, Union Street to Magnolia Street, Mulberry Street to HO Brittingham Elementary School, Mulberry Street to Governor’s Walk, Federal/Front/Union Street intersection, Federal Street to Milton Elementary School, Federal at Wharton Street, Federal at Coulter Street, Chestnut Street at Village Center Boulevard, and Mulberry Street at Lake Drive.

Milton council will hold three public hearings on September 12

Milton City Council will be busy with three public hearings at its 6:30 p.m. meeting on Monday, September 12, at the Milton Library.

The hearings are all changes to the zoning code. Topics include: fence orientation, wireless antennas, and historic district map. Following the public hearings, the council will discuss and possibly vote on each one.

Council will eventually vote on an ordinance regarding Halloween conduct and morals, review Chestnut Crossing’s checklist, and vote on the fiscal year 2023 budget.

Council will discuss a written report from the Special Review Committee recommending the annexation of half an acre of property on Route 16 which would be incorporated into an existing parcel. The property has been proposed to be developed as a DEStorage self-storage facility.

In new business, council will appoint the Board of Elections, discuss the distribution of council donations, and pass a resolution to support a grant application to conduct a feasibility study for a pedestrian activity on Lavinia Street.