Ocean City Today

Alley by 86th St. closed to cars

By Greg Ellison | Jan 25, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison In response to adjacent residents troubled by an ever increasing number of vehicles using a partially undeveloped alleyway off 86th Street bayside, the City Council approved plans to install a 10x10 planter midway in the alley to eliminate the cut through during its meeting last Tuesday.

(Jan. 26, 2018) The City Council last week agreed on measures to curb an apparent rash of speeding motorists on a partially unpaved alley near 86th Street.

Maintaining bicycle and pedestrian pathways was also deemed a priority.

Matt Covell, who lives adjacent to the partially paved alley between Bearing Road and 86th Street, said during a City Council meeting last Tuesday an increasing number of vehicles are opting for the “excitement of off-road adventure from the Wine Rack north.”

While the south portion is gravel, Covell said the north end of the alley is dirt and grass.

“People see it as a straight shot [and use it] because it’s undeveloped it’s an opportunity to test your cool pickup or off road vehicle for 30 seconds,” he said. “It’s a little frustrating to mow the lawn and then have some roll right over it.”

After consulting with City Engineer Terry McGean and polling fellow residents, Covell said a plan was hatched to place a large planter midway in the alley, to effectively eliminate the shortcut.

Council President Lloyd Martin said all but one property owner had responded in favor of the proposal.

“The landscape planter is something that could be removed if we needed,” he said, adding, “I would like to see all the property owners approve.”

Covell said every effort was made to contact the unresponsive owner, adding Seabay Drive, about 150 feet west, parallels the alley.

“That’s where we’re getting stymied,” he said. “It doesn’t effect them too much and they may not have received the notice, or just don’t care.”

Councilman Tony DeLuca said regardless of stifling vehicles from darting down the alley, the new configuration should not limit bike or pedestrian access.

Although a pedestrian walkway was proposed on the west side of the alley, Covell said the terrain is challenging for bicycles.

“Unless the city paves it, there is nowhere to drive a bike,” he said. “You’re rolling through the lawn or … sandy terrain [and] having tried to do that myself, you kind of get stuck. I use Seabay (Drive) for my bike.”

Councilman Wayne Hartman agreed with Covell’s perspective.

“With Seabay only 150 feet away, is the pedestrian access really necessary?” he said.

DeLuca reiterated his wish to include bike and pedestrian access in the motion.

The council voted unanimously to install the planter and install gravel on the dirt portion, while also including a bike and pedestrian pathway.

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