OCEAN CITY – The town will start seeking a consultant to develop a bike strategic plan.
Last week, Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) President Paul Mauser presented members with an update on the development of a bike strategic plan.
Mauser said the selection of an engineering firm to complete the plan will take place in the coming months, following a four-week bidding process.
“We’ll have a four-week bid and by the time we open bids we’ll have a selection committee and issue a notice to proceed,” he said. “We’re planning March 15 as actually starting up with this project. So we’re in motion and looking pretty good.”
Last year, the town received $79,700 through the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Bikeways Program to hire a consultant for the development of a strategic plan that will be used to further Ocean City’s bicycle network.
In recent years, the resort has embarked on a multi-phased initiative to install a continuous bike path from one end of town to another without using Coastal Highway.
With the help of a strategic plan, Mauser said, the town will have designs and cost estimates for several proposed biking corridors, including 94th Street, 146th Street, town alleys from 27th to 62nd streets and 62nd to 94th streets, and a 10-foot construction easement west of the dunes from 94th to 118th streets.
“As far as the strategic plan goes, that is oriented such that it has to be actionable,” he said. “And it has to be evaluating and providing plans and cost estimates for corridors in town. It’s not for wayfinding and projects like that, it’s for practical development plans.”
Last month, BPAC members concluded their review of a Request for Proposal (RFP) document seeking engineering services for the development of the bike strategic plan. Mauser told the committee this week the RFP was approved by MDOT Bikeways, allowing the town to move forward in the bidding process.
“The fee is set in stone. It’s public knowledge. It was $79,700 …,” he said. “We’re going strictly based off experience and project approach. We’ll be able to select who we feel is the best consultant from those applications.”
Public Works Director Hal Adkins questioned if the town would need to improve its public outreach efforts for the strategic plan. He noted the public should be aware of the proposed bicycle routes.
Mauser said the scope of work for developing the strategic plan included a public opinion poll and meetings with the town council and BPAC. However, he noted the challenges of gaining support for the proposed 10-foot construction easement.
“We’re very aware that there’s going to be the potential for significant opposition to putting the bike route east of condo row,” he replied. “I think there’s going to be a lot of support, but there’s potential for people who don’t want it there. Council will be the ones making the decision.”
Council Secretary Tony DeLuca said the town could have buy-in from the public if it tested a bike path along an oceanfront block.
“If we tested a block of the 10-foot easement it might sell itself …,” he said.