(UPDATE) Bay Ave. parking to be restored, mostly, Gillian says

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Ocean City's Bay Avenue parking zone restored Bay Avenue parking zone restored

(UPDATE 3:38 p.m. Aug. 29) By mid-afternoon Wednesday, Aug. 29, the eastern curb of Bay Avenue near the Ocean City Intermediate School was repainted white and restored as a parking zone.


 

OCEAN CITY — After a meeting between city and county officials Tuesday, Aug. 28 the city has agreed to return most of the east side of Bay Avenue near the Ocean City Intermediate School to a parking zone, according to Mayor Jay Gillian.

“We had a great meeting and we’re going to put some of the parking back. We are going to keep the yellow curb in front of Walnut Road,” Gillian said. “We’re going to put back what needs to be put back, what the county wants me to put back.”

Gillian, city administrator Mike Dattilo and Ocean City Police Chief Chad Callahan met with Freeholder Will Morey and county engineer Dale Foster Tuesday afternoon to discuss what Gillian referred to as a safety issue near the school.

Last week, Gillian ordered that about two blocks of the curb along the county road be painted yellow to indicate a no-parking zone. Gillian was chastised for the move by county officials, who said that he acted without authority.

“Someone who does not have expertise in this area should not take it upon himself to do this,” Freeholder Kristine Gabor said at a freeholder meeting Thursday, Aug. 23. “It’s upsetting. It should not have been done and now we need to have it undone. It’s creating more of a hazard by painting there.”

During that meeting, the Cape May County Board of Freeholders passed a resolution ordering the city repaint the curbs white. Members of the Ocean City Council, which also met Thursday, also questioned the mayor’s actions.

Councilman Scott Ping said he was not pleased with how the situation unfolded.

“In your position, in this city, you should be able to advise the mayor that he is making a mistake before he makes it,” Ping told Dattilo.

He said that the administration should have come to council asking for a resolution to be passed that would request the freeholder board consider a no-parking zone; and then, if the freeholders agreed to it, an ordinance would have to be passed by City Council so police could enforce the law.

Council President Mike Allegretto agreed. He said enforceability becomes an issue when there isn’t an ordinance to back up any tickets issued.

“Why the mayor thinks he could just turn around and do things like this I don’t know,” Ping said. “I wish he was here. Maybe he could explain it to me.”

Ping said, as a councilman, the only complaints he has heard from the residents near the community school are about overflow parking blocking their driveways.

He also said he was being told that the county will charge the city for whatever it costs to repaint the curb white.

“It costs us too much money,” Ping said.

At an Ocean City Community Association meeting Saturday, Aug. 25, Gillian said that a state law prohibits parking across the street from T-bone intersections such as where Walnut Road ends at Bay Avenue, Gillian said.

According to Gillian, parking is illegal directly across from the end of 40-foot wide Walnut Road, and 25 feet on either side of the intersection, meaning a 90-foot stretch of Bay Avenue across from Walnut should have been painted yellow long ago.

Gillian said that after discussions Tuesday with the county, this area of Bay Avenue will remain a no-parking zone. He said he hopes to continue working with the county to bring attention to speed and safety issues.

In the midst of the no-parking issue, and to resolve the loss of parking near the school, at a Wednesday, Aug. 22 school board meeting, Superintendent Kathleen Taylor said that parking would be created at the neighboring city-owned Armory building along 18th Street.

“The city has informed us that they will financially support our efforts to make parking safe,” she said.

Gillian said Tuesday that this project will continue.

“We’re going to still move forward with that,” he said.

Gillian said he hopes to have the shell lot, with approximately 25 parking spaces, open by the start of school Sept. 6. He said that there is also a plan for a pathway from the lot to the school.

READ THE STATEMENT ISSUED BY GILLIAN HERE


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