By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(May 31, 2018) A proposed new $950,000, 1.8-mile Berlin Bikeway adjacent to the old railroad tracks was peddled successfully to the Berlin Town Council Monday, as concept of the bike path received its unanimous support.
The council also voted 5-0 to approve an application for a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation Bikeways program for the construction’s first phase, which will run from Berlin Falls park on Old Ocean City Boulevard to Broad Street.
The cost of this leg of the project is estimated to be about $300,000, with the town accounting for 20 percent — $75,000 —in matching funds or in-kind services.
Town Administrator Laura Allen said the project was broken into phases because the state has $3 million overall for such projects, making it unlikely that Berlin would walk away with a third of it.
Maryland and Delaware Railroad, which owns the tracks, granted a right of way for the Berlin Bikeway and the Salisbury firm of Davis, Bowen & Friedel, Inc., funded by a Maryland Department of Transportation grant secured last October, drafted the concept plan.
Tim Metzner, a landscape architect for the firm described the proposed route during Monday’s meeting at Town Hall. He said once the 10-foot-wide asphalt path is fully built, it would run from the Route 50 onramp to the end of Buckingham Lane.
Green stripes would be painted to alert cyclists and motorists when approaching five intersections along the path, and small rest stations would be constructed every 600-800 feet. Furnishings would include benches, water fountains and trash bins, Metzner said.
He and the council also discussed lighting for the bikeway, with a combination of the Victorian lights as seen on Main Street downtown, and shorter path lights. Lighting is not expected to have much of an impact on residents near the path.
“Generally speaking, this is not to be apart from Berlin – this is a part of our historic community, so where it’s practical I’d like to see us put in the Victorian lantern-style lights,” Mayor Gee Williams said.
He added that lights were less necessary out in nature, but would be a benefit in highly trafficked areas to “compliment what we’ve built this whole town around, which is our historic heritage.”
Councilman Zack Tyndall asked that emergency buttons be placed at the rest stations, and the rest of the council agreed.