Safe Routes Scoop

Ocean City, New Jersey: Making Great Strides for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

 

As walking and biking gain more attention in New Jersey as viable modes of transportation, one municipality –Ocean City—stands at the forefront in developing supportive infrastructure and policies. Located in Cape May County, Ocean City is a well-known family tourism destination with beautiful beaches and amenities. With an estimated year-round population of 14,756 that multiplies ten-fold at the height of summer vacation season, Ocean City has a deeply engrained bicycle and pedestrian culture that has led to numerous accomplishments over the years. http://bit.ly/b587e9

 

The centerpiece of Ocean City’s efforts is the Haven Avenue Bike Boulevard, which runs 27 blocks between Route 52 and Roosevelt Boulevard, two access points connecting Ocean City, which is located on a peninsula, with the mainland. Completed in less than a year, the bike boulevard connects Ocean City’s downtown, transportation center, community center and intermediate school. The bicycle boulevard was created by adding “sharrows,” imposing a 15 mph speed limit, and installing four-way stop signs. Implemented by city ordinance, these traffic calming measures were received positively by the community and have catalyzed bicycle connectivity throughout the community.

 

In addition, the $400 million Route 52 Causeway project now nearing

completion was designed to include a two-way, 12-foot wide pedestrian/bike path that will provide a mainland connection to the bike boulevard. Widely viewed as a success, the Haven Avenue project has prompted Ocean City to work on adding more miles of bike lanes within the city.

 

The city has committed both capital and operating expenses toward bicycling, including the recent purchase of 30 helix bicycle racks. While there is no line item for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the capital budget, bicycle and pedestrian compatibility is consistently considered in planning and city policies. Bicycling and pedestrian elements are included in the circulation element of Ocean City’s master plan and a bike route study is now underway by Orth Rogers.

 

A 20-member Mayor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, which helped create the Haven Avenue Bike Boulevard, reports annually to the city council and mayor, and works with the local planning board for planning and project coordination. Additionally, as one of the leading green communities in New Jersey, several Ocean City municipal departments have begun incorporating bicycling and pedestrian considerations into their activities. The various initiatives enjoy the wholehearted support of the mayor, Salvatore Perillo, who is a cyclist.

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