Depending on where you live, you might see a slight change in the typical roadway markings encountered across the US, and we want you to know what it means!
Rick Meehan is the Mayor of Ocean City, Maryland, and is very proud for most recently seeing his city break into the highly coveted top 10 list of best beaches in the US – put out by Trip Advisor annually. In addition to its beautiful beaches, what makes Ocean City such a great family vacation spot is also the safety that visitors feel in the community.
The Ocean City Police Department has a lot to do with this and as stated in their annual report, the hard work of their law enforcement officers and volunteers has made 2016 another record year in reducing crime.
Mayor Meehan is clearly proud of this accomplishment and in an attempt to also remember the contributions of fallen law enforcement officers over the years, he wanted to memorialize their legacy in a unique way that isn’t a typical road name dedication, memorial, or sign.
It, in fact, is a simple blue line painted between the two already existing yellow road divider lines on Maryland’s 65th street, leading all the way to Ocean City Police Department’s headquarters. Not only is the concept unique, but it is also low budget since all the city needs is some blue paint to use in their already existing equipment. These lines have also been popping up all around New Jersey.
The community is behind the idea; the City Council too passed the initiative in their December 2016 meeting; and Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) has shown his support publicly in a letter which said:
“During these turbulent times, perhaps more than ever, it is imperative that we show support for our law enforcement officers. Your initiative to paint this ‘thin blue line’ does just that.”
One entity however who isn’t quite behind this gesture of respect is the Federal Highway Administration – who sent letters to the New Jersey towns with the blue lines stating their reasons thusly:
“We appreciate and understand the efforts by local governments and others that convey support for law enforcement officers. However, the yellow lines down the center of a road are meant to control traffic and modification of that marking could cause confusion, accidents and fatalities.”
The act is further described as being in violation of code 3A.06 of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways.
So far, it looks like the Mayor and his city have chosen to ignore this letter and paint the blue line anyway. Via Facebook, the Major shared a picture of the blue line on March 3rd. There is no further information on what the Federal Highway Administration plans to do about this to penalize the city.
Special signs and memorials have all been used in the past as a way to respect the legacy of the fallen law enforcement officers who have served their community to their best of abilities. For the people of Ocean City however, it looks like their choice in trying something different isn’t necessarily getting the positive blessing from the federal government as they had hoped.
Regardless of the technicality of the blue line, we can all get behind what it stands for. To the residents and visitors of Ocean City, we hope the blue line becomes an important reminder of all those who made your community such a beautiful one!