OC Strategic Bike Plan Underway

OCEAN CITY – A review of the ongoing bike strategic planning process highlighted a resort committee meeting last week.

In a meeting of the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) last Wednesday, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville provided an update on the development of a resort-wide bike strategic plan.

This summer, officials announced the town had awarded a $79,700 contract to Toole Design Group, and that the company had developed a nine-month project schedule spanning from August 2021 to April 2022.

In his update last week, Neville noted the consultants had already completed some preliminary work in the development of the strategic plan.

“We were able to see some preliminary work they had done in terms of evaluating the alley system and some of the key intersections,” he said. “So they are already off to a good start with reviewing and preparing a plan for us.”

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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 expand 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, officials say 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.

Neville told committee members last week he and BPAC President Paul Mauser held the first of many monthly meetings with Toole Design to review the project schedule and scope.

“One of the things we did notice on the schedule is they are tackling the two most difficult projects first,” he said. “One is a possible bikeway that will follow behind the beachfront dune, along the 10-foot access area, and the other is the alley system.”

Neville added that a review of the consultant’s work also brought forth several questions.

“We want to tackle the issue of if we do provide safety improvements like signage or pavement markings in the alleys, do we need to include a paving plan,” he said. “Right now, the paving of alleys is not necessarily in our capital improvement plan, so that’s a big-picture question we want to put out there.”

Neville told committee members Toole Design would draft a public questionnaire for the council’s approval in the near future.

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.