Council To Decide North OC Traffic Light’s Fate

OCEAN CITY – The flashing signal at 131st Street may be removed, a decision that will be decided at the next City Council meeting due to a 3-2 vote at Tuesdays work session.

The State Highway Administration (SHA) came before the Mayor and Council Tuesday to address the issue of the 131st Street light, recommending that the signal be removed completely.

Gene Cofiell, SHA representative and Ocean City resident, informed the Mayor and Council that he observed the traffic on 131st Street this summer, looking at volume, delays, accidents, and so forth, and found no reason for the light to remain.

“Basically it doesn’t meet any of our traffic signal warrants,” Cofiell said.

Jim Walker, president of the Montego Bay Board of Directors, spoke in opposition to the SHA’s recommendation.

“I would like to chastise Gene and his staff,” Walker said, explaining that Cofiell should have observed the traffic situation when it was still a full traffic light, not after it had been turned into a yellow flashing light.

Walker maintained that the light was beneficial to the flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area. He explained that the light allowed people to cross the street safely and allowed vehicles to access Montego Bay easily. Walker also said that the Montego Bay Board of Directors had voted in favor of having the light stay.

It was also suggested that the light operate as it did in past years, with the light being able to turn red in the summer months.

Cofiell pointed out, according to the Ocean City Police Department, there had been no accidents there this past summer. Cofiell also pointed out that he is a resident of Montego Bay and has no problem with the light being removed. Cofiell said that turns could easily be made at 130th or 133rd streets, with the use of the alley available to connect to 131st Street.

The council voted 3-2 to remove the light with Council members Jim Hall and Nancy Howard in opposition and Council President Joe Mitrecic abstaining.

The decision was postponed until Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting, when Councilman Lloyd Martin would be present.