OCEAN CITY — Despite efforts by the State Highway Administration (SHA) to identify and clearly mark problem intersections along Coastal Highway earlier this spring, a 23-year-old Ocean City man was struck attempting the cross the roadway last Friday afternoon at one of the areas targeted with the new initiative.
Around 12:15 a.m. last Friday, Ocean City Police responded to the area of 33rd Street and Coastal Highway for a reported vehicle collision involving a pedestrian. According to police reports, the unidentified 23-year-old Ocean City man was attempting to cross Coastal Highway from east to west when he was struck by a northbound vehicle.
The pedestrian, who was not in a crosswalk at the time of the collision, was transported by Ocean City Emergency Services to PRMC in Salisbury for treatment of injuries not believed to be life-threatening. No charges have been filed against the pedestrian or the driver, although the investigation is ongoing.
Ironically, the area where the collision occurred was one of three traditional problem areas on Coastal Highway targeted for improved safety measures by SHA officials earlier this spring. In March, SHA officials started a projected three year project to install newly designed sidewalk markings to safely guide pedestrians along Coastal Highway.
The new yellow and black pedestrian sidewalk markings are located 10 feet prior to the intersections at 19th, 33rd and 49th Streets to safely direct pedestrians to crosswalks and traffic control devices. SHA traffic engineers examined pedestrian crash data for the past three years along Coastal Highway and determined the three locations at 19th, 33rd and 49th streets experienced the highest frequency of pedestrian incidents. Police reports reveal the primary cause of these crashes was failure of pedestrians to cross at marked crosswalks, or walking in a crosswalk against the traffic signal.
The new markings inform pedestrians that a marked crosswalk is just ahead and indicate the direction they should follow. The “thermoplastic” markings are the same material as stamped pavement crosswalks, not painted, which wears out faster. Each marking has a usable life of between 10 to 20 years.
In addition to monitoring pedestrian crash reports during the three-year pilot program, SHA and its partners will observe pedestrian behavior at all three locations. SHA will determine if the new sidewalk pavement markings effectively reduce jaywalking and pedestrian incidents.