Ocean City aims to get bicycles off dangerous Coastal Highway

Riding bicycles in an ocean resort town can be fun. It can also be dangerous.

Ocean City, Maryland, will soon start developing a plan that will bring cyclists closer to the beach, and off the busy and congested north-south route through the city.

”Currently we have a bike route, on Route 1 — Coastal Highway — and it goes the whole length. And it’s shared with buses; it’s a bus lane and bike route,” said Tony DeLuca, city councilman and liaison to the Ocean City Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

While the city has put a few paths on side streets running parallel to the main drag, DeLuca said Coastal Highway is still dangerous.

“It’s especially dangerous in the summertime, in peak season, with families and kids on bikes,” he told WTOP.

DeLuca said the town was recently awarded $79,000 through the Maryland Department of Transportation to hire a consultant to develop a strategic plan that would make the city’s infrastructure more bike-friendly.

”My goal has been to get the bike route off Coastal Highway and put it east, through alleys, parking lots, hotel and condo parking lots,” said DeLuca.

While the idea of navigating from parking lot to parking lot sounds like it would require constant attention to avoid mishaps, DeLuca said it would be much safer than the current situation because cars on the road are much faster.

”I’ve always said I’d rather get hit by someone backing up in a parking lot than be hit by someone on Route 1,” DeLuca said.

Another option might be to use the 10-foot easement that the town owns between the sand dunes and entrance to the beach.

”In theory, we could put a pedestrian boardwalk from the boardwalk up to Delaware,” DeLuca said, although he acknowledged that getting permissions and buy-in to install wide, temporary, rubber Mobi Mats would be rife with logistical challenges.

DeLuca said that having a carefully thought-out bicycle infrastructure plan will benefit Ocean City.

“It’s a big sell for families.”

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Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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