BERLIN – State Highway Administration officials assured Ocean Pines residents they would continue to seek community input as they consider a roundabout for Route 589.
In a message to the Ocean Pines Association last week, State Highway Administration (SHA) District Engineer Jay Meredith thanked citizens for their interest in the public meeting held earlier this month. The session provided residents with a glimpse of the roundabout currently being considered for Route 589 at the north gate of Ocean Pines.
“In light of the feedback received, we are currently determining our next course of action,” Meredith said. “Please be assured, the project will not move forward without additional input and involvement of the Ocean Pines community.”
SHA hosted an informal input session in Ocean Pines on July 11 regarding a roundabout that is being considered for Route 589. Dozens of concerned Pines residents attended, primarily to object to the proposal. Steve Tuttle, vice president of the Ocean Pines Association’s board, said the meeting did provide an opportunity for residents to comment on the proposal but, with its informal walk-through layout, was not as effective as a question-and-answer session would have been. Tuttle said that because Meredith had provided his contact information at the meeting, many of the emails the Ocean Pines Association’s board of directors had been receiving regarding the roundabout were now being sent directly to SHA.
“Ever since the meeting the amount of feedback has declined,” he said. “People that have commented are still opposed.”
In his communication to the association last week, Meredith said SHA appreciated the discourse generated through the input session.
“It is clear from the comment cards and phone calls we have received, that the Ocean Pines community is concerned that the roundabout may not be the best solution to reduce the congestion at the intersection of MD 589 (Racetrack Road) and Ocean Parkway,” he said. “Please accept that our efforts have been guided by the goals of enhancing the safety of the roadway and improving the level of service of the roadway.”
He said that roundabouts had proven effective elsewhere.
“While roundabouts have been successfully implemented in Maryland and across the nation, with improvements observed in both safety and operation, we recognize that there are those in the community that are not comfortable maneuvering through them,” he said. “Be assured the roundabout design would include geometric features that limit the speed of traffic and allow for safe merging along all approaches.”
Though the roundabout is only in the preliminary design stages now, SHA officials did approach the Ocean Pines Association this spring to inquire about acquiring a small piece of property that would be needed to build the roundabout.
Tuttle confirmed this week the association had not yet decided whether to give up the requested land.