OCEAN CITY – Updates on a West Ocean City shared use path and improvements to a downtown sidewalk highlighted this week’s meeting of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
This week, State Highway Administration Assistant District Engineer Jana Potvin presented the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee with an update on bicycle and pedestrian projects in and around Ocean City.
In late June, officials broke ground on a new bike and pedestrian path in West Ocean City. For the most part, the 10-foot wide trail will run along the south side of Route 50 from Route 611 to the bridge. The project also includes a crossing at the intersection near Hooper’s Crab House where bikers and pedestrians can access the path.
“It’s ongoing,” Potvin said. “They are still on schedule to be complete, or at least have substantial completion, by the end of the year.”
Potvin said that while the shared use path would be in use at that time, crosswalks and striping would likely be added at a later date.
“Some of the improvements as far as striping are likely to be looped in with the repaving project that we have on [Route] 50,” she said.
Potvin noted the project will move to the westbound side of Route 50 in the near future.
“They are moving along and on schedule,” she said.
The goal of the project is to enable pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely between West Ocean City and downtown areas of the resort.
It is for the same safety reasons that committee members are also working with SHA officials to create a shared use path on a section of 14-foot sidewalk at South Philadelphia Avenue.
The path, which runs from Caroline Street to South 1st Street, could be used by bikers and pedestrians traveling between the Inlet and St. Louis Avenue, as well as by those coming over the bridge from the West Ocean City shared use path.
Public Works Director Hal Adkins said the improvements would make the sidewalk compliant.
“On any given block – let’s use Talbot and Dorchester as an example – the 14-foot stamped concrete is staying just the way it has for the last 20 years,” he said. “They are ripping off each end and fixing the ramps to be compliant for a shared use path.”
Potvin said she wanted the committee to review the plans and make comments and suggestions for the project. She questioned where the bikers would go once the 14-foot sidewalk ended at South 1st Street.
“What is the intention?” she said.
“Where are they supposed to go? They enter the roadway at that point. Are there plans for where they want to be directed in the future, not necessarily as part of this?”
Adkins noted the sidewalk narrowed to 5 feet near the Oceanic Fishing Pier. He added that widening the sidewalk would require further thought and possibly a discussion with neighboring property owners.
“I’d be glad to have that discussion,” he said.
Potvin said there are no plans to add markings to the sidewalk, but committee member Joe Marx questioned if a barrier should be included near the ramps. He said a planter or pole could prevent cars from driving onto the path.
“We’ll need to discuss that,” Adkins said.
Adkins said resort officials would need to answer any questions and address any concerns regarding the shared use path before contractors return to town for milling and paving and sidewalk projects along South Philadelphia Avenue.