Confronted in years past with deaths and injuries from jaywalking, the Town of Ocean City recently installed fences in a preventative effort to control pedestrian safety. The seven million-dollar project, completed in May of 2018, aims to decrease the high number of tourists illegally crossing the medians and consequently risking collisions with oncoming traffic. The supposedly “dune-like” fences run from the Roland E. Powell Convention Center located on 41st Street to 62nd Street.
While the city has constructed these fences for safety, so far with the start of the season, they do not seem to be doing the trick. Videos of jaywalkers climbing underneath the fences and tourists walking on the medians have surfaced since its construction, thus exposing the way it is still virtually ignored.
Due to its apparent inefficiency, this project seems to be a waste of taxpayer dollars that could have been much better spent. Persistent and occasionally ignorant tourists are going to figure out a way to cross the highway regardless of whether or not it is at a designated crosswalk.
The positioning of the fences, although at a 45 degree angle, are too high and make it difficult for drivers to see what is coming up on the other side of the highway, which could easily create confusion for tourists and then lead to backups. It would not be surprising, although ironic, if more accidents would occur because of impeded vision and diverted attention. In no way does the design resemble beach dunes, as they were promised, and even make the city look cheap, with their plastic shine, bright white color, and curving placement.
This project, although initially seemed like a good idea, has proven to be ineffective and has created additional complications within the city, at the expense of Ocean City locals.