(April 10, 2013) – Prior to the peak tourist season in Ocean City, the State Highway Administration (SHA) in partnership with the Town of Ocean City is installing curb-top markings along Coastal Highway (MD 528) between 52nd and 59th streets. About 100 yellow and black stencils advise “NO PEDESTRIAN X’ING” along Coastal Highway between marked crosswalks, where pedestrians may be tempted to cross unsafely. Crews will finish installing the curb markings this week. Efforts and programs to protect pedestrians are closely coordinated between SHA, the Town of Ocean City Public Works Department and the Ocean City Police Department.
The population of Ocean City swells between June and August to such an extent that it becomes the second most populated city in the State. As a result the nine-mile Coastal Highway corridor becomes crowded with drivers and pedestrians, some of whom are not familiar with the region. Ocean City Police reports reveal the primary cause of pedestrian crashes to be failure of pedestrians to cross at marked crosswalks, or walking in a crosswalk, but against the traffic signal.
The “thermoplastic” markings are the same material as stamped pavement crosswalks, not painted, which wear out faster. Each marking has a usable life of between 10 to 20 years.
SHA, Ocean City Police and the MVA’s Highway Safety Office advise that a safe summer starts with street smarts – motorists and pedestrians following the basic rules of the road. Drivers must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks according to Maryland State law and should follow the posted speed limit, as speeding only makes it more difficult to safely stop for pedestrians. Pedestrians should cross at marked crosswalks, see and be seen traveling in an “expected” manner, look left, right, and left before crossing and when possible, make eye contact with drivers. The extra moment it takes to stop for a pedestrian or to walk to a crosswalk can avert needless tragedies.