OCEAN CITY – Officials in Ocean City this week agreed to modify bus operations along Coastal Highway after snow removal efforts from last week’s Winter Storm Grayson resulted in large snow piles along sidewalks and near bus stops.
On Tuesday, the town’s Transportation Committee agreed to move the resort’s bus operation from the bus lane to the third lane of Coastal Highway.
Mark Rickards, the town’s transit manager, said that while the bus stops and shelters have been cleared of snow, it would take some time for snow piles blocking the sidewalk to melt.
While Councilman Dennis Dare commended the State Highway Administration (SHA) for clearing the roadway, he argued that the resulting snow piles have made sidewalks inaccessible for pedestrians and bus riders trying to reach bus stops.
“The point is those piles are five or six feet tall and are going to be here for a while,” he said. “So the access for pedestrians will be limited for a while, even more so than it normally is.”
In addition to walking along the street, Rickards said pedestrians were getting splashed by vehicles driving through puddles.
“It’s hazardous,” he said.
Dare questioned the town’s ability to move bus operations to the third lane of Coastal Highway in an effort to give riders access to the buses.
“Do the buses need to operate in lane three during this period instead of in the bus lane?” he said.
Dare added that there was no solution to clearing the sidewalks.
“There’s not enough equipment and you couldn’t get it done in time,” he said.
Council President Lloyd Martin agreed to moving bus operations to the third lane for additional reasons.
“It might be better if the buses run in lane three because if you are going out of shopping centers that snow is piled seven feet, eight feet high,” he said. “You actually have to take your car out into the bus lane before you can actually see.”
The committee was ultimately in agreeance to change bus operations along Coastal Highway until conditions improve.
Rickards said he would also look further into other snow removal options.
“I’m trying to do some research on what other cities that are farther north do with this (snow) because it’s going to be there a long time,” he said.
The committee also agreed to discuss the matter further at Tuesday’s meeting of the Mayor and City Council.