The surprising aspect about the median fence being seriously damaged in an accident is it took more than a year.
In the wee hours of the morning last Sunday, a suspected intoxicated man crashed his vehicle into the median fence near 40th Street, resulting in about a 40-foot section of the median fence needing to be removed. It’s expensive to replace, but the State Highway Administration reportedly has some extra sections of the fence available from the installation project and will replace it soon. The fence was engineered so portions of the fence could be removed in the event of an accident.
Although the fence is a divisive issue for many, it’s clear to me it’s making a difference. While there are still reports of lamebrains walking along the fence to get to a crosswalk, the data confirms the section of Coastal Highway from the convention center to the Route 90 Bridge is safer today for pedestrians than it was two years ago.
Regarding last weekend’s accident, it’s not a leap to assume the fence prevented a serious multi-vehicle accident. The median in the area where the accident occurred is tiny and the vehicle almost assuredly would have jumped it into oncoming southbound traffic.
Though numbers are often used to mislead, it’s impossible to argue with some economic data put forward by Maryland this week.
Updated indicators on Maryland’s economy released this week include $1.2 billion cuts in tolls, taxes and fees since 2014, ranked as the eighth strongest economy in the country currently, 120,000 jobs gained under Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration, the second lowest poverty rate in the nation at this time and unemployment down 30% over the last four years.
Clearly, Hogan, in the first year of his second and final term, has a lot to be boast about.
“Four years ago, Maryland was at a critical turning point,” Hogan wrote on his Facebook page. “Our economy was floundering, and too many Marylanders were struggling just to get by. Forty-three consecutive tax hikes had taken billions of dollars out of Marylanders’ pockets. We had lost 8,000 businesses and 100,000 jobs, our unemployment rate had nearly doubled, and our economic performance ranked 49th out of 50 states. … Together, we truly are changing Maryland for the better.”
When confronted with the possibility of increasing the town’s stormwater fee for businesses and residences to help pay for a project aimed at easing flooding, Berlin Councilman Thom Gulyas reacted in a strong fashion. He was on the money.
“There’s no way in hell I’m going to vote to raise these things now,” Gulyas said. “We’ve done enough to everybody in town. It’s enough. We can revisit it next year. But for right now absolutely not.” Additionally, Gulyas was irritated the matter even returned to the council after las month rejecting the project, saying, “It is real frustrating that we did vote on this last time. I feel like this is being thrown back on us again. To the best of my knowledge in four and a half years this is the first time we’ve ever had anything brought up twice, especially back to back meetings.”
The project in question was a submerged gravel wetland on Graham Avenue. The area floods often and the plan was to retrofit an open area between our newspaper’s office and Burley Oak Brewery off Old Ocean City Boulevard into a wetland that may or may not be able to absorb the water that accumulates nearby. The project was estimated to cost $112,500 — $75,000 of which would come from a Chesapeake Bay Trust grant with the additional funding needing to come from Berlin. Town Administrator Laura Allen made another pitch before the council to increase the stormwater fees to help cover the project’s cost rather than reject the grant. She pointed out the town’s current stormwater utility fees were set lower than originally advised by the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center.
In the end, the council agreed with Gulyas the timing was not right to increase this fee after the associated tax and fee increases included in the town’s current budget. This was a logical move.
Although she’s been a divisive individual for some political comments she has made, U.S. soccer player Megan Rapinoe delivered a tremendous speech during this week’s celebration of the World Cup champion team. Here are some quotes I thought worthy of sharing.
“This is my charge to everyone,” she said. “We have to be better. We have to love more, hate less. We got to listen more, and talk less. We got to know this is everybody’s responsibility, every single person … It is our responsibility to make this world a better place. I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders and understanding the position that we have and the platform we have within this world. … it’s time to come together. … This is my charge to everybody, ‘Do what you can. Do what you have to do. Step outside of yourself. Be more. Be better. Be bigger than you’ve ever been before.”