By Greg Ellison
(July 22, 2021) Looking to improve road safety for foot traffic and bicyclists, Ocean Pines resident Ryan Mello earlier this month contacted various government bodies seeking to update crosswalks at a trio of south-side intersections.
Pines roads getting attention from Mello were Manklin Creek at both Ocean Parkway and Racetrack Road, Cathell Road and Ocean Parkway.
“It’s a little treacherous trying to walk,” he said.
Mello, who started his pursuit of safety after concluding crosswalks at all three intersections required refreshing, sent emails to both Ocean Pines and Worcester County officials.
Two weeks ago, Mello said Worcester County Public Works Director Dallas Baker responded with details on all three spots.
“He wrote me a nice detailed email,” he said.
Mello said the correspondence from Baker outlined plans to address the county-owned Manklin Creek/Ocean Parkway intersection.
Mello said Baker replied, “I’ve asked our roads division to refresh the existing crosswalks and add a new crosswalk to the south lake.”
Mello said Baker pledged to have the work completed in a few weeks’ time.
Baker also advised Mello that the Manklin Creek and Racetrack Road intersection is state owned.
“He also included the contact for Dan Wilson, the state acting assistant district engineer for traffic,” he said.
Last Thursday, Mello received a reply from the State Highway Administration stating that based on public outreach the intersection would be addressed by the end of this summer.
Transportation Engineer Mark Gillis wrote that work is now slated to install a crosswalk and an ADA compliant ramp to the channelization island on the Southeast corner of the intersection.
Gillis went on to say the improvements would allow pedestrians to safely cross Racetrack Road from the existing sidewalk at the shopping center.
Establishing whose purview the Cathell Road/Ocean Parkway location falls under caused some contention, Mello said.
After initially being informed by Baker that Ocean Pines owns the area, Mello contacted the association.
“I reached back out to Ocean Pines and explained that the county claims that Ocean Pines owns that intersection,” he said.
Mello said Baker and Pines officials subsequently clarified the association is responsible for the location.
“Baker even sent me a document showing Ocean Pines owns that stretch of road,” he said.
Speaking last week, Mello expressed relief that Ocean Pines officials were able to sort the issue out with Worcester County.
“I don’t see myself as a mediator between the two,” he said.
While timeframes for Ocean Pines to refresh the Cathell Road and Ocean Parkway intersection remains unknown at this point, Mello feels encouraged two problem spots are being addressed, while still hopeful additional work occurs.
“I’ve heard concerns about big events and people running across the street,” he said.
Accessibility concerns for community members is an ongoing issue, Mello said.
“The other day, my wife and I had to literally Google Map and plan out our route to get to the ice cream shop,” he said.