Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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It’s only been a little more than a month since the Ocean City Air Show came and went, but planning has already begun for next year’s event. A date has been set. Actually the Mayor and Council approved the weekend of June 5-6, 2010 for next year’s third edition before this year’s show even took place. On the OC Air Show’s Facebook page, there has been quite a bit of comments posted regarding the administrator’s question of who should headline the event next year. In what is certainly not a scientific poll, organizers asked Facebook users to click “Like” on either the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds, which headlined this year’s event to largely rave reviews, despite the fact they were grounded for one day due to a persistent haze over the island. As of yesterday afternoon, the vote was 35-31 in favor of the Blue Angels. One commenter posted, “Come on, its over the ocean its got to be the Navy,” referring to the Blue Angels over the Air Force’s Thunderbirds. Some folks want to see both in Ocean City, but that may be a bit ambitious for a young event. More news on who will headline next year’s event will be reported when word is announced.

There was lots of talk about scooters and scoot coupes this week at City Hall, but I predict eventually officials will have to deliberate over the rickshaws that have appeared for the first time on Ocean City roads this summer. Back in March, Coastal CruZn, LLC announced plans to provide the green transportation known as pedicabs or rickshaws from the Inlet to 66th Street. From what I have observed so far this summer, the business appears to be doing fairly well for a new operation. Last Saturday I saw about a half dozen of the rickshaws traveling along Coastal Highway at various points and each had an occupant. From one conversation I overheard between a congenial operator and some satisfied customers, it seems there is no charge for the ride, but tips are encouraged. On Sunday afternoon, I spotted a rickshaw traveling south on Baltimore Avenue, causing quite a bit of traffic congestion because there was no room for the vehicle or the bike to get out of each other’s way. On Coastal Highway, they use the bus lanes, and there have been reports of congestion concerns at times this summer. I applaud the business owners’ entrepreneurial spirit and the cardiovascular abilities of the bikers, but I do think eventually the City Council may have to figure out a few rules and regulations to maintain safety.

The City Council made the right decision this week when it decided scoot coupes would remain illegal to operate in all of Ocean City. The council’s 4-3 vote essentially went against what the majority of the town’s police commission had said last month it wanted to see – allow them to operate on Baltimore Avenue between 15th and 33rd streets and possibly on St. Louis Avenue. It seems to me they should either be allowed in all of Ocean City or not at all. Currently, Maryland law says the are illegal to use on state-owned roads, meaning Coastal Highway and part of Baltimore Ave. in Ocean City. The commission had considered limiting them to city-owned roads, like Baltimore Avenue, to help some local proprietors who dumped lots of money into these things because they were legal until this summer. The council was wise to realize Baltimore Avenue is not the place for a trial run of the scoot coupes. With vehicles routinely driving slow seeking for parking spots, beachgoers everywhere, delivery vehicles blocking traffic in at least one direction often and the advent of the rickshaws, Baltimore Avenue is a hectic stretch of road in the summer season. Adding to the congestion and occasional confusion at this point does not make sense.

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