OCEAN CITY – The resort is one step closer in its effort to secure a Bicycle Friendly Community designation.
In a meeting of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee this week, President Paul Mauser announced the town had submitted its application to become a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC), a national designation program that provides guidance to cities and towns wishing to develop a bikeable community.
“We’re hopeful for a first-time approval, but we will know for sure in November,” he said. “That’s when the awards are announced.”
For Ocean City, the BFC 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 the BFC 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.
“This has been a longstanding task of this committee,” he said. “It was actually one of the reasons this committee was formed.”
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.
“About one of every two applications are accepted the first time through,” Mauser said. “I think we put together a quality application, so we’ll see how it goes.”
In April the committee began the process of applying for the BFC designation, with members taking the lead on certain parts of the application. The application was submitted for consideration on Aug. 7.
In the meantime, Mauser encouraged the public to complete a brief survey, which is open to anyone familiar with bicycling in the community.
The survey will remain open through Sept. 22, and can be found by visiting https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/app_BFC_FA19.
“We’re encouraged to distribute that as broadly as possible,” he said.