Hearings On Bike Path Options Eyed

OCEAN CITY – As work continues on a bike strategic plan, officials say they are looking to schedule public meetings on two proposed bike path improvements.

Last week, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville presented the Ocean City Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee with an update on the town’s bike strategic plan.

“We are in the final 20% of the contract with the consultant, and we were trying to schedule neighborhood meetings” he told committee members.

Earlier this year, the town hired Toole Design Group, a national consultant, to develop a strategic plan that will be used to expand its 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 Coastal Highway, 94th Street, 146th Street and town alleys from 27th to 94th streets.

As part of its strategic planning process, town staff and Toole Design came before the council in February to present options for three significant bike path projects – one at 94th Street, one at 146th Street and another along the town alleyways from 27th to 94th streets.

After considerable debate, however, the Mayor and Council agreed to throw out plans for utilizing the town alleyways after it was learned the proposed bike path called for the elimination of 125 parking spaces. Instead, the council recommended having a workshop to discuss potential design options for improved biking paths along 94th and 146th streets.

“We’re still waiting to schedule those two meetings and then they’ll finish the design process,” Neville said last week.

Neville also pointed out that the town was also exploring state funding as it looks to implement projects from the strategic plan.

“We just tripped past one of the state’s funding cycles. They have a program that helps come up with construction money…,” he said. “We’re just going to get ourselves lined up for the following year.”

He continued, “We have our eye on that because that was one of the purposes of going through this strategic plan, was to identify projects that could receive funding from the state.”

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.