Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 23, 2013

Walk Smart

Ocean City aims to boost safety of pedestrians

CUMBERLAND — Many local residents will be visiting Ocean City this summer, so it is worth noting that the resort has launched a campaign that it hopes will keep pedestrians out of harm’s way.

Last summer, two pedestrians — including a LaVale teen-ager — were killed and 13 injured in Ocean City. A majority of the mishaps occurred on the busy Coastal Highway that is the main thoroughfare in town.

Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan says the city is urging visitors to use crosswalks. The city is also planning aggressive police enforcement to address drivers and pedestrians.

In recent months, traffic engineers also have been making changes. They are re-timing signals and evaluating traffic at key intersections. The city is also installing signs reading “no pedestrian crossing” in areas to direct people to crosswalks.

The campaign is known as Walk Smart and is intended to ramp up knowledge of the dangers of not using crosswalks on Coastal Highway. A special outreach will take place June 1-14 when “Senior Week” visitors from high schools and colleges throughout Maryland and nearby states will be in Ocean City to celebrate the end of the school year. T-shirts and other items with the “walk smart” message will be distributed at events designed to safely entertain high school graduates.  

“If you are parent of the member of Class of 2013 visiting Ocean City this summer, please remind your child to be cautious when crossing any roadway, to use marked cross walks and to avoid distractions when walking or driving,” Ocean City officials said in a statement announcing the safety campaign.

Anyone who has vacationed in Ocean City knows how busy and dangerous Coastal Highway can be. Keeping these safety tips in mind can help reduce greatly reduce the risks to pedestrians and drivers alike.

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