Ocean City Today

Solar-lit bus stops in OC examined

By Greg Ellison | May 17, 2018
Photo by: Greg Ellison The Transportation Committee elected on Tuesday to examine the feasibility of installing solar-lighting in bus shelters along Coastal Highway and potentially repairing non-functioning sun-powered lighting mounted nearly a decade ago by 48th Street.

(May 18, 2018) With an eye towards public safety, Ocean City’s Transportation Committee voted Tuesday to recommend testing solar lighting at bus shelters on Coastal Highway.

Brian Connor, transportation administrative manager, said he investigated the topic after the subject was broached during a fiscal year 2019 budget meeting on April 12.

“We have 123 bus stops with 46 shelters,” he said.

The shelters vary in size, with 33 measuring 10 x10 feet, 11 are 10 x 20 feet, with two smaller 4 x 4 foot units.

Connor also said there is one solar-lighted bus shelter on northbound Coastal Highway at 48th Street that is not functional.

‘That was installed about 10 years ago [and] it does need repair,” he said.

In pursuit of prices, Connor contacted the city’s bus shelter provider, Columbia Equipment Company.

“We found the prices per unit range from the mid $900s up to $2,600,” he said.

The varying cost is tied to lumen levels, Connor said.

“How bright do you really want this thing?” he said.

In addition to brightening bus shelters, Connor also checked the cost to install lampposts with solar beacons at each of the more than 120 bus stops in Ocean City.

“Those are roughly about $1,000 a piece,” he said.

Mayor Rick Meehan said the lighting upgrade would enhance public safety.

“It would really set them off [because] those shelters are dark at night,” he said.

Councilman Tony DeLuca also supported the concept, but both elected officials inquired about funding.

“Anytime you light up anything it’s a good thing,” DeLuca said. “What would the total cost look like?”

Although the financing is still being fleshed out, Connor expressed confidence grant funds could be sourced.

“We have an annual transportation grant that we apply for [but] we’ll look at all avenues,” he said.

Before committing money, Connor said he would have the manufacturer ship a few sample units for demonstration purposes.

“I think in a pitch black area solar light is wonderful, however with ambient light it becomes a little less effective,” he said. “The numbers alone don’t demonstrate to me how illuminated these locations would be.”

City Engineer Terry McGean offered to provide input on relative light levels.

“If I know lumen levels I can give some type of gauge,” he said.

Councilman Dennis Dare suggested taking stock of bus stops to see if any could be eliminated from consideration.

“I suspect there are some locations that are already sufficiently lit,” he said. “There’s one in front of the Wine Rack … the ships at sea can see that.”

Connor said he would provide an update at the Transportation Committee meeting next month.

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