Ocean City should not under any condition put a beach ball design on the water tower on 64th Street. I think I wrote that same thing about the 1st Street tower a couple years ago.
My distaste for that silly beach ball water tower on 1st Street has nothing to do with aesthetics. It looks decent enough. It’s colorful. However, it was a lost opportunity to do something much more creative rather than just copy a town in Florida. I would have much rather seen a white marlin jumping out of the ocean or a surfing scene on that tower. Anything would have been better than a silly beach ball design.
At City Hall this week, city officials reviewed bids for the painting of the water tower on 64th Street. The city is considering a basic blue paint job, a basic blue with town logo (similar to what’s in place currently), a beach ball design and a golf ball design. After reviewing the costs, the city appears to be favoring the basic blue with a logo and the beach ball because the golf ball design cost was outrageous.
Earlier this year, there was a soft pitch on the table for Coca-Cola to paint the tower with its own color scheme and logo. City officials ruled that out because they thought it was too cheesy. They were right on that front.
After all the bids are sorted through and reviewed by city staff, my hope is the council will decide on the blue with the logo. The only thing worse than one beach ball water tower would be to have two, especially within a few miles of each other.
Any review of the worthiness of the median fence in Ocean City can be disputed, but some numbers were reported this week that seem to indicate it did help to minimize pedestrian accidents.
Anyone who travels Coastal Highway regularly likely saw some disturbing instances this summer in the area of the median fence. On several occasions in June, I saw people cross the four lanes of the highway and then walk along the median fence to the next crosswalk. It was as if they didn’t see the fence. The saying, “you can’t fix stupid” came to mind. There was also the local man who became an Internet sensation for a week after he easily slid underneath the fence at night, seemingly exposing a design flaw that may need attention at some point.
From an official standpoint, data from the Ocean City Police Department reveals there were fewer pedestrian accidents along the $4.5 million median fence during June, July and August this year than last year. There were five reported pedestrian-vehicle collisions to date since the fence was completed in the area of the new fence, which runs from the convention center north to the Route 90 bridge. In 2017, there were nine accidents during the whole year in that same area. In 2016, there were just two pedestrian-related accidents; four in 2015; eight in 2014; and 12 in 2013.
While the fence’s effectiveness will always be a source of debate among locals and visitors, one aspect that I think is undisputable is that the lighting along the median is drastically improved along this stretch of the highway.
The question moving forward will be whether the State Highway Administration sees fit to expand the fence in subsequent phases. It will not be immediately, as state officials have already told the Ocean City Mayor and Council a second phase will not be initiated in 2019. My hunch is the state will agree to fund another stretch of median fence from the convention center south for one more phase, but that’s at least two years away at this point. I don’t see the commitment continuing north of the Route 90 bridge.