The tough talk ahead of this month’s pop-up vehicle rally in Ocean City is nothing new and time will tell whether it’s just words or whether the town’s multi-pronged plan can be executed.
The true measure of the town’s initiatives will take time. It could be years, but there appears to be a new course of action in play for this year’s unofficial event gathering (scheduled for Sept. 23-27 per online webpages). The preparations are different than previous years. We think even the city would agree previous efforts were half-hearted and hopeful when an iron fist and major enforceable initiatives were needed.
The efforts and planning seem better this year. There’s the customary harsh talk from officials, but there’s multiple pieces to the puzzle to accomplish this goal. Everything seems to have been considered this year with a major changes on tap.
In the past, calls for speed bumps or traffic obstructions to prevent racing and other dangerous antics were called impractical. Previously, a lack of manpower led to an inability to police effectively and gaps in coverage were known by the culprits who come to town with the intent to create a ruckus while relishing the fact they are not welcomed. All these issues appear to be getting addressed.
This year the town is armed with a tougher special event zone that reduces speed limits and brings enhanced penalties, such as arrests and fines, to the most egregious of violators under the term “exhibition driving.” Increased police personnel are expected to provide a “saturated” coverage scheme, according to Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. Additionally, major changes to traffic patterns are planned.
“There are going to be obstructions to normal traffic patterns,” the chief said. “We will be implementing several different traffic maneuvers, although when and where is kind of a fluid situation. There will be major obstructions to traffic and it will be uncomfortable. If you don’t have business in town, or don’t need to be in town, it’s probably a good idea just to stay away. … We will have speed bumps and speed humps strategically placed throughout town. We’ll get the word out to the community. It will be a fluid situation. They might be moved from one community to another during the events.”
There’s a different tone these days and it’s partially because the tough talk is coming from law enforcement rather than elected officials. We want to hear from the police. It’s clear City Hall is not going to solve these problems because officials are not on the frontlines. There must be a tactical approach similar to a military plan and mobilization. The feeling now is it’s happening.
While it’s fatiguing to hear the same verbal crackdown ahead of the miscreants’ arrival, there does appear to be a different tact with this year’s planning for the troublesome weekend. The logic is it could be a miserable weekend this year and maybe even next year, but the goal is eventually the troublemakers will decide it’s not worth the expense and hassle to return to Ocean City. It’s a worthy effort.