Traffic Situation Inexcusable
I was one of the many drivers affected by the motorcycle crash the night of Tuesday, July 30 at 9:45 p.m. on Coastal Highway North and 59th street. This accident caused northbound traffic to grind to a near halt for at least four hours. After my experience navigating detours around this relatively small traffic accident, it is my opinion that the Ocean City police and traffic authorities are woefully unprepared to efficiently alleviate traffic backups on the Coastal highway.
My car left the Boardwalk parking lot at 11:20 p.m. and we began traveling the standard northbound route towards the North end of Ocean City. Once we reached 30th Street, we discovered the bad traffic backup and learned about the fatal motorcycle crash. We idled for a few minutes while considering any possible detours. I turned around and headed south out of Ocean City on Route 50 and navigated back to Ocean City on Route 90. Route 90 enters Ocean City at 62nd Street, three streets north of the crash scene. We and hundreds of other drivers with the same idea were not allowed to turn left (north) and instead forced to go south to 52nd Street. This turned our self-made 50-minute detour into a nearly two-hour detour and unnecessarily routed hundreds of cars that were attempting to successfully avoid the crash scene into already heavily congested traffic.
There was no debris at 62nd Street, and northbound cars using parking lots to reroute around 59th Street were back on the Coastal Highway by 61st Street. It was a poor decision to force Route 90 detour traffic back into the mess.
Ocean City authorities need to be prepared for disaster scenarios in this densely populated tourist city. Ocean City heavily depends on the Coastal Highway for all travel, and emergency response teams will have trouble navigating to save lives if multiple accidents occur at the same time in the future.
Thought and training should be put into techniques to convert sections of the critical two-side Coastal Highway into a one-side bidirectional highway. Authorities should be able to set traffic lights to blinking red or yellow at nearby intersections and set up traffic patterns with person-directed two-lane routes from one side of the highway to the other; similar to Ocean City’s parade traffic patterns. This accident should have caused issues for no more than 30 minutes while authorities dynamically, efficiently and effectively rerouted traffic.