Convenience and Accessibility Top O.C.’s Beach, Boardwalk Priorities

first_imgThe ADA ramp at Waverly Beach is one of several projects underway to prepare for the 2020 summer season. By MADDY VITALE Beaches and Boardwalks are closed to visitors and residents in Ocean City in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.But that does not stop construction projects in Ocean City geared toward accessibility, comfort and convenience for people.In the meantime, city projects such as the one to add seasonal bathrooms at three Boardwalk entrances and more Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant ramps in the few areas that did not have them are nearing completion.“The work is in progress. It should be complete later this spring,” Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said in an email this week.Projects are underway to expand the Boardwalk at Ninth, 10th and 11th streets to make way for pop-up seasonal bathrooms. Added decking at the street ends could eventually accommodate more permanent structures, Bergen said in an earlier interview.However, the temporary bathrooms are like tiny houses and provide the needed convenience when walking with family on long stretches of the Boardwalk.An ADA ramp, like the one on Surf Road, is nearly complete at Waverly Beach off of E. Atlantic Boulevard. The other new ADA ramp is for the Boardwalk at St. Charles Place.Pop-up bathrooms on the Boardwalk like this one at 11th Street will add convenience for vacationers and residents this summer.Mayor Jay Gillian has said throughout the projects that improving accessibility is a key priority for him and his administration.“The city remains committed to improving accessibility whenever possible,” Gillian said in January during one of his weekly messages to the public.In addition to the new temporary bathrooms and more ADA ramps, Gillian announced earlier this year that the extra-long mobility beach mat at 34th Street beach was such a success that the city would like to extend the mats at some of the other beaches. City officials are going to discuss the locations this spring to determine where the new mats would go.The long beach mat at 34th Street is the only one of its kind in Ocean City that extends all the way to the high tide line.While no one knows if it will be weeks or months before the coronavirus-related ban on social gatherings is lifted, the hope is that Ocean City’s 2020 summer season equals a Boardwalk and beaches filled with vacationers.Over the past two years, city officials have made it a priority to improve accessibility and offer conveniences to the Boardwalk and beaches. Workers have installed ADA ramps over bulkheads and at Boardwalk entrances. All Boardwalk entrances are accessible by ramp.For a list of beaches with mobility mats 34th Street beach mat, which extends all the way to the high tide line, will serve as a model for some of the city’s other beaches.last_img read more