Continuous Bike Route Through OC Remains A Goal

OCEAN CITY – Efforts to seek easements for the use of a bike route could move forward in Ocean City.

Earlier this month, Councilman Tony DeLuca presented the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) with a plan to seek license of use easements from hotels in the downtown and midtown areas of the resort.

DeLuca, a liaison to the committee, said the easements would allow the town to establish a continual bike route from one end the resort to the other without using Coastal Highway and other busy thoroughfares.

“License of use was an obscure law that Guy Ayres found, that if a hotel grants and signs an easement for recreational use of bikes they are not held liable,” he said.

DeLuca explained the town had worked with the owners of a hotel on 29th Street to place a bike route through the hotel’s parking lot. He said he’d hoped the same could be done at other locations.

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“I’m thinking the next step here is we just get a list of hotels downtown and midtown … and we just go after each one, go talk to whoever is in charge,” he said. “We explain it to them.”

Using GIS mapping of the resort, DeLuca said committee members could identify hotels and seek easements to allow people to bike through the properties.

“Let’s do some easy stuff first …,” he said. “We’ll talk to people we know and if they say, ‘no way,’ so be it.”

DeLuca said efforts to secure hotel easements would be low-hanging fruit for the town as it tries to develop a bike route along the side streets of Ocean City. He said the biggest challenge would be establishing a bike route near resort condominiums.

“Everyone knows condos are just about impossible. You’ll never get the right to go through a condo …,” he said. “They can always use Coastal Highway, but that’s what we’re trying to avoid. So if they are trying to avoid it, they can dismount and walk the condo blocks.”

Committee President Paul Mauser agreed to revisit the issue at the next meeting in January.

“This is what I call really, really heavy lifting,” DeLuca said. “It’s about as heavy as we can get.”

The committee this month also agreed to plans for a BPAC webpage. Officials said the page would feature information on the group, as well as links to other websites.

“It’s to have more of an online presence for our committee,” Mauser said.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.