SHA Seeking Signal Timing Fix For 94th Street, Coastal Highway
OCEAN CITY – The State Highway Administration (SHA) is already in the works to relieve frustration caused by traffic in southbound lanes on Coastal Highway due to the 94th Street intersection to have the issue resolved by next summer season.
In the northern section of Ocean City, traffic backups on Coastal Highway heading south have become more noticeable in recent weeks until passing the 94th Street intersection when traffic usually clears.
It has been questioned if the reason comes down to it being the peak of the summer season and there are just more cars on the road or is it the timing of traffic lights to blame. According to SHA Assistant District Engineer Ken Cimino, it is a combination of both.
Changes were made to traffic and pedestrian signals last May to enhance public safety on Coastal Highway, such as the addition of split-phasing of the side roads on 94th Street, and an advanced pedestrian phase was added that gives pedestrians a seven-second head start when crossing the highway.
“We made some changes to signal timing for pedestrian safety, and we are seeing some impacts up in the 94th Street area. Specifically at 94th Street where we split the side-road phase, meaning that the two side roads no longer move concurrently, they move separately, so that has added additional delay to the main line of traffic,” Cimino said.
Currently, the 94th Street signal cycle is a total of 180 seconds for all lanes to move. The main line, which is traffic in the north and southbound lanes, are receiving more red light time now that the side roads at that intersection have split phasing, meaning they are no longer moving concurrently but instead separately.
As a result of the prolonged red light time on the main line at 94th Street, southbound traffic has increased on the highway.
“We are aware there is a problem, and we are tracking all of the changes we made with the signal timing. At the end of this season, we can look back and evaluate it and make adjustments to the signal timing to improve progression on Coastal Highway and add more green time for the main line,” Cimino said.
Cimino reported through July 30 for all roads in Ocean City pedestrian involved crashes are down 50 percent. On state highways in Ocean City, pedestrian involved crashes are down 61 percent and fatalities are down 100 percent.
“So far we have had initial success with decreasing pedestrian involved crashes. We still have a long way to go, and we have realized we have created some signal timing issues that we will need to resolve over the winter before next summer,” Cimino said.
Split-phasing for side roads has also been installed at 28th Street and Robin Drive, 123rd Street and Coastal Highway and at 130th Street and Coastal Highway, but no issues have resulted at those locations.
Cimino added the advanced pedestrian phase that gives a pedestrian a seven-second head start will drop out of the system come October, adding another seven seconds to green light time to the main line.
The 180-second signal cycle time will remain the same during the off-season. However, the volume of vehicles will decrease allowing more vehicles to pass through the 94th Street intersection ultimately relieving traffic congestion.
“What we need to do is solve the riddle during the winter for the next summer season,” Cimino said. “To find a way to increase the green time on Coastal Highway along that corridor, from 94th Street north to 120th Street and we are working on that right now. We have been tracking this since June 30 when I received the first complaint.”