For the second time in a year, the Ocean City Mayor and Council appears poised to expand the hours that bikes can be on the Boardwalk in the peak season. Last summer, between the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays, bikes were allowed on the boards till 10 a.m. on the weekends and 11 a.m. during the week. According to a proposal by Don Enste, proprietor of Dandy Don’s, bikes would be allowed till 11 a.m. from June 1 to Aug. 31 and there would be no restrictions from Sept. 1 to May 31 (with the exceptions being the Saturdays and Sundays of Springfest and Sunfest weekends till noon and the Saturdays and Sundays of Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends till 11 a.m.)
Back when the original expansion of the weekday hours to 11 a.m. was approved, opponents figured there would be safety concerns with the bikers and pedestrian heading to the beach as well as the Boardwalk trams. After a summer with the change during the week, it can be said those concerns and other complaints surprisingly never materialized. Therefore, it seems appropriate for the resort to go to 11 a.m. seven days a week. However, for consistency sake, I think the city would be wise to continue to use the Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends as the start and end dates for the 11 a.m. restriction, rather than the June 1-Aug. 31 put forward by the bike shop owners. The council will formally take a look at an ordinance change in the near future.
Besides the petty annoyances, treacherous driving conditions and laborious shoveling, the worst aspect of this one-week, two-blizzard stretch had to be the power outages some in the region endured.
Last Saturday, the first of the double blizzard week, as many as 9,000 customers in Ocean Pines were without power. Some horror stories of 14 hours without power were reported from the Pines. Some folks in lower Delaware also went without power for some time. Although outages were minimal in Ocean City, residents went without power for a spell as well on Saturday. On Wednesday, as a result of the second blizzard, Delmarva Power reported as many as 30,000 customers on the shore were without power when crews were ordered to stop working and seek shelter, due to white-out conditions. By 9 a.m. Thursday, that number was down to about 600, according to a press release.
Regionally, it seems Berlin, of all places, fared the best regarding power. Throughout all this high wind and snow, town residents only lost power once, last Saturday morning at 7:30 for about three minutes. For years, electric has been a sore subject in Berlin, as residents have been handed astronomical power bills on a monthly basis for years. A little rate relief has been felt within the last year, but customers are bracing for what should be extremely high bills in the next couple weeks. Misery loves company in this case because utility bills are expected to be higher than ever for all customers this month as a result of the freezing temperatures of late.
At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have to point out an outlandish prediction I made in this space at the end of last year actually turned out to be on the mark. In the Dec. 31, 2009 issue, I wrote, “A rare blizzard will close all schools for an entire week in February, pushing back the school year’s final days to mid June.” It turns out back-to-back blizzards were responsible for this closure, but nonetheless a random thought turned out to be accurate and for that I feel the need to boast.
However, before anyone crowns me Nostradamus, I should point out in the same space I predicted the Super Bowl to be won by the San Diego Chargers over the Philadelphia Eagles. That was terribly off the mark, as neither team even sniffed the big game, as the grandest party of them all played out in New Orleans this week after the Saints’ upset win.