Ocean City Today

City focuses on bikes, butts

By Greg Ellison | Mar 22, 2018

(March 23, 2018) How to combat the proliferation of cigarette butts around the Boardwalk, along with several bicycle-related initiatives were among the highlights from this months “Green Team” meeting that Councilman Tony DeLuca recapped during the City Council meeting on Monday.

Bike Lights

As part of its “Lights for Bikes,” campaign, DeLuca said Ocean City purchased a batch of lights with a donation from the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association and gave some of them to the Ocean City Police Department.

“We had given them 40 just to get started,” he said.

DeLuca said the police are also in line for a grant from the State Highway Administration to acquire additional illumination aides.

“We need almost 2,000 lights,” he said.

To further aid the bike light effort, DeLuca said Melanie Pursel, Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce executive director, would solicit donations from area businesses.

“I know the police department has started the program,” he said. “They began installing lights at night on bikes.”

DeLuca said next steps involve scheduling dates for light installs this spring.

Bicycle Friendly

The Green Team also continued to work on how to qualify Ocean City as a Bicycle-Friendly Community.

Engineering Manager Paul Mauser suggested the idea during a Transportation Committee meeting in November and then presented the concept at an earlier Green Team meeting.

Pursuing the designation was discussed during last week’s City Council work session, with next steps involving a cost analysis.

“We’re working on cost and manpower, which were the main concerns,” he said.

DeLuca said he would update the council in a few weeks after gathering more information.

Helmet law

The topic of bicycle safety also spurred a conversation about Maryland’s helmet requirements.

After delving into state law, DeLuca found that all cyclists under the age of 16 must wear a helmet, with one notable area exception.

In 1995 the state decided to exclude the Boardwalk, DeLuca said.

“You don’t need to have a helmet on the Boardwalk,” he said.

Butt Grant

With smoking already prohibited on the Boardwalk, DeLuca said the Green Team is pursing grant funding to reduce the number of cigarette butts discarded in adjacent areas.

Glenn Irwin, Ocean City Development Corporation executive director, originally forwarded information about a grant program though the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful, which receives support from Phillip Morris USA.

After learning of the opportunity, DeLuca said the Green Team enlisted assistance from Sandi Smith, with the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

“Sandi Smith has already filled out the grant to focus around special events at the inlet,” he said. “She is asking for grant money to buy receptacles and hand-held ashtrays.”

DeLuca said Public Works Director Hal Adkins told the Green Team while the Boardwalk smoking ban has reduced the butt count on the boards, the same cannot be said for surrounding areas.

“There’s still a large issue especially off the Boardwalk,” DeLuca said. “Prior to reaching the Boardwalk should be a target area.”

Assuming the initial grant request is met, DeLuca said the effort might grow in the future.

“We applied for 60 receptacles with the hope that it will take off with business sponsorship to expand uptown,” he said.

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