OCEAN CITY – A resort committee this week began the lengthy process of applying for a Bicycle Friendly Community designation.
On Wednesday, the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee began the lengthy application for a national designation program that provides guidance to cities and towns wishing to develop a bikeable community.
“Our chief goal today is to go through the Bicycle Friendly Community application,” Paul Mauser, president of the committee, said. “It’s 52 pages and five sections.”
For Ocean City, the Bicycle Friendly Community designation aligns with its efforts to establish a continual bike route along the resort’s side streets and minimize the need for bicycles to interact with vehicles on major roadways throughout town.
Since Mauser first presented the program to resort leaders last year, officials have taken necessary steps to achieve a Bicycle Friendly Community designation. For example, the resort has established a bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee and adopted a Complete Streets policy, which will be used to develop safe transportation for all bike users on newly constructed or reconstructed roads.
Officials argued the designation could enhance the town’s ability to secure grants for bike-friendly projects, as well as benefit tourism and the town’s reputation as a green community. But gaining entrance into the program is challenging. As of 2018, more than 850 communities have applied, and 431 have been awarded a bronze, silver, gold or platinum designation, according to the Bicycle Friendly Community website.
Mauser told the committee this week communities are awarded a certain designation based on the criteria it meets.
“There are some questions on the application geared toward the platinum communities,” he said, “but we are coming in more at the bronze level.”
With committee members taking the lead on certain sections of the application, Mauser said he expects the group to complete and review the application in the coming weeks.
“We want to make sure we are getting group feedback on all of the questions …,” he said. “We are four months out from when the application is due, so we can revisit this.”