OCEAN CITY – Plans for a new bike route and additional bike racks highlighted a resort committee meeting this month.
In a virtual meeting on May 13, the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee discussed its ongoing efforts to make the resort a more bikeable community.
In recent years, the town embarked on a multi-phased initiative to install a continuous bike route from one end of Ocean City to the other without using Coastal Highway and other busy thoroughfares. And by and large, the resort has succeeded in using side streets, alleys, parking lots and more as alternate paths.
One of the remaining infrastructure projects on the list, however, is completing a bike route on 146th Street that would provide a connection to Delaware. Committee President Paul Mauser told members this week installation would proceed once town officials sign off on the submitted design.
“I want to get the thumbs up on that before we proceed to installation,” he said.
Mauser said the town could also seek grant funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Bikeways Program to install thermoplastic on the 146th Street bike route.
“Bill and I discussed other projects that could possibly be funded,” he said.
“Right now, the consideration I have is the 146th Street bike route, asking for funding to complete that thermoplastic. That is not a strong application from MDOT’s stance. It still wouldn’t hurt to put it in, but it’s not a project they are looking to fund right now. They are looking to fund large-scale shared use paths, rail-trail projects, off-road bike trails, etcetera. That’s where funding has gone the past three years.”
Bill Neville, the town’s planning and community development director, said they had also explored Bikeways grant funding for a streetscape project on Baltimore Avenue, but agreed it did not fit the state’s criteria.
“What we kept coming up against was this was a Bikeways grant, and it was not necessarily looking to fund pedestrian improvements,” he said.
Mauser said the plan was to possibly paint the striping for the 146th Street bike route and replace it with thermoplastic if the town receives grant funding.
In 2018, the town also sought Bikeways funding to hire a consultant that would develop a bike master plan for the town. While that request was denied, Neville said the town has since started the process of developing a master plan in-house that would bring Ocean City one step close to a Bicycle Friendly Community designation.
“One of the things that has been moving forward is this idea that we could do a master plan in-house …,” Neville said. “We are making progress with that, but I’m still shooting for that August deadline that we originally identified as something that would give us a document if we wanted to get in on the next cycle for consideration under the Bicycle Friendly Community.”
Town officials last Wednesday also discussed ongoing efforts to install bike racks at select oceanside street ends. To date, the town’s public works department has installed racks at 67th, 120th and 127th streets with plans to add more at 28th, 123rd and 130th streets.
“There’s a total of six we’ve discussed at prior meetings, and of those six, three are already installed,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said. “One is in process of getting installed and two are under design.”
Adkins also recommended installing bike racks at high-use locations such as 33rd Street, 90th Street, 94th Street, 139th Street and 142nd Street. The committee agreed to add the proposed locations to the list.
Councilman Tony DeLuca, liaison for the committee, also recommended rescheduling the Mayor’s Bike Ride, which was originally planned for May 1 to kick off National Bike Month.
This year, National Bike Week is scheduled for Sept. 21-27, with Bike to Work Day scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 22. DeLuca recommended rescheduling the Mayor’s Bike Ride on the Boardwalk to that week.
“We could do the Mayor’s Bike Ride and Bike to Work that week in September where it’s Bike Week,” he said. “Why don’t we plan that and keep talking about it each meeting.”
“I sure hope things are getting back to normal well before then,” he said.