Solution Reached For OC Bike Path Issue

OCEAN CITY – With a solution in hand, officials with the State Highway Administration will soon proceed with plans to address a break in the bike route along Coastal Highway.

In its current form, Ocean City’s bike route shares the bus lane along both sides of Coastal Highway, but abruptly disappears from 60th Street to 64th Street – where lanes are reconfigured to accommodate Route 90 traffic – leaving bicyclists uncertain of whether to continue in the traffic lanes, ride on the sidewalk, or walk their bikes through the area.

In recent years, the town and its subcommittees have worked to create a seamless bike route from one end of Ocean City to the other. The dilemma between 60th and 64th streets was a point not lost on town officials, who brought the issue to State Highway Administration (SHA) officials in a meeting last fall.

While several ideas were tossed around, officials ultimately agreed to remedy the situation using signage and strategically placed street markings as the bike route disappears.

In a meeting of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) this week, SHA Assistant District Engineer Jana Potvin presented members with a plan for how the state agency would proceed. She said the signs alerting bicyclists will begin at 59th Street northbound.

“We are going to put in a ‘bike lane ends’ sign,” she said. “At that point, that is where that lane is tapering down.”

But as bicyclists approach 60th Street, Potvin said bicyclists are given two options.

“When it ceases to be an appropriate width, we are going to put in a ‘bikes may use full lane’ sign,” she said. “But at 60th Street if you want to do a ‘walk your wheels’ kind of thing on the sidewalk that’s fine.”

Potvin said the bike lane terminates beyond 60th Street, but will resume after 63rd Street.

“Nothing really happens between 61st and 62nd but at 63rd that bus lane begins to come back out …,” she said. “We will put a bike symbol with an arrow and ‘bike lane begins’ sign.”

BPAC President Paul Mauser recognized SHA’s efforts to tackle the dilemma.

“Really, SHA has solved the bike lane issue on Coastal Highway now,” he said.

Potvin, however, disagreed.

“We have alerted people of the condition,” she said. “It still doesn’t solve the problem of not having a bike lane on Coastal, but it makes people aware that the bike lane ends.”

Regardless, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville applauded the design.

“I think it is a very positive action to take …,” he said. “In the interim, what we do put out there is meeting safety guidelines. It’s brilliant.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.