OCEAN CITY – It appears any discussion involving bike activity in Ocean City will be directed to a new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
Last week, the Mayor and Council voted to create a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which will advise and make recommendations to town officials and staff on all matters relating to bicycle transportation and recreation.
The committee will also serve as an action step in securing a Bicycle Friendly Community designation for Ocean City.
Engineering Manager Paul Mauser initially presented the Bicycle Friendly Community concept to members of the town’s Transportation Committee and Coastal Resources Legislative Committee (Green Team) and for several months has worked with resort officials to pursue the designation.
For Ocean City, the designation aligns with its efforts to establish a continual bike route along the resort’s side streets. The goal is to minimize the need for bicycles to interact with vehicles on the city’s major roadways.
In a Green Team meeting Wednesday, Mauser said he believes the designation would improve bike safety, traffic congestion, grant opportunities, property values and tourism.
“If you are driving on Coastal Highway, or any town roads, you can count a few thousand bicycles per day this time of year,” he said. “There is a significant demand for safe bike infrastructure in town for our visitors.”
Mauser said the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee’s first step in seeking a Bicycle Friendly Community designation is drafting a resolution creating a Complete Streets Policy and securing grant funding to create a Bicycle Masterplan. The committee’s first meeting is scheduled for Aug. 15.
“As a goal moving forward, there are a lot of actions and steps required before the town can apply for this Bicycle Friendly Community designation,” he told the Green Team this week. “It would be ideal if we could have that designation perhaps by the spring or summer of 2019.”
Councilman Tony DeLuca, council liaison for the Green Team and the new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, said any bike initiatives discussed at the Green Team will now be delegated to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
“Since I’m on both committees I’ll be able to update the Green Team on it,” he said. “All biking activity can now move off the Green Team (agenda).”
DeLuca said he was happy to see bicycle-related initiatives carry on through its own committee.
“My whole goal is to get bikes off of Coastal Highway and Baltimore Avenue and it always has been,” he said. “I look at this as an avenue to do that.”